This is *so* weird: I was just writing about Anne Fadiman (her "At Large and At Small" collection of familiar essays) two seconds before I clicked here. And I have a letter from Jacques Barzun that I cherish (although I'm not sure where it resides in my attic!). There *was* a charmed circle at Columbia in the '20s-'60s. Alas, I didn't get there until the '80s when the circle had become a surreal shape -- deconstructed, psychoanalyzed and semiotically-treated until who knows what it was: A parallelogram? A Rorschach blot? An invisible quark?