August 18, 2010

OVER THE TEN-PLUS YEARS...:

Literary critic Frank Kermode dies in England (RAPHAEL G. SATTER, 08/18/2010, AP)

“He was one of the great conversationalists of our literature,” Alan Samson, Kermode’s publisher, told The Associated Press. “His wit and wisdom in speaking about writing is something that I will always remember.”

Samson said Kermode was best known for his influential book, “The Sense of an Ending” — a witty meditation on the relationship between fiction and crisis. He was also a respected student of Shakespeare and he would return to the Bard often over the course of his career, which took in everything from the Bible to deconstructionist theory.

Kermode was born on Nov. 29, 1919, in the small town of Douglas on the Isle of Man, between Ireland and Great Britain. Raised in modest circumstances, he would eventually become an establishment figure, writing for The New Statesman and The Guardian as well as judging Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize.

His dry and occasionally self-abasing memoir, published in 1995, traced his uncertain path to the top tier of Britain’s literary firmament.

The book opens with a line from Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” — “He was a kind of nothing, titleless” — and goes on to describe a disappointing child who grew into a young writer of indifferent talent. Academia, he said, was the only route left open to him.

“My poetry wasn’t up to much, so there was nothing left for me except to become a critic, preferably with a paying job in a university,” he wrote.


...of BrothersJudd.com we've had the opportunity to exchange pleasantries and even develop friendships with a number of authors, especially those who sent us their books themselves. But a publicity agency--FSB Associates--sent Mr. Kermode's book and he still took the time to drop us a gracious note, thanking us for our review of Shakespeare's Language. Hopefully he and the Bard are conversing somewhere even now.


Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2010 2:48 PM
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