Friday, February 09, 2007

The Barzun-Trilling Seminar

Like General Honors, which Jacques and I held in pious memory, the Colloquium met, all sections of it, in the evening, at a time which came to be regarded as canonical: Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:30. The curriculum of the first year began with the Iliad and did twenty-eight great books up through the Novum Organum. The second year of the course, which traditionally ended with Freud, began with Voltaire and went on to Rousseau and Diderot.

 . . . sitting side by side with Jacques at the head of a long table week after week made the intellectual ground on which I walked and the intellectual air I breathed.

— Lionel Trilling, “A Personal Memoir,” in Dora B. Weiner and William R. Keylor, From Parnassus: Essays in Honor of Jacques Barzun (New York, Harpers, 1976).

Trilling and Barzun gave a section of the second year of the Colloquium on Important Books, which later they gave as a graduate seminar, at a session of which this photograph was taken.

See also John Fraser, Saying Simply.