RIP John Leonard

The world is just a little bit too quiet suddenly.

Leonard had a voice.  He didn’t write book reports and it never was all about him, two of the common sins of cultural criticism.  Books are a very strange way to make a living — I should know, as I’m about to embark on my fifth willing suspension of disbelief.  People like Leonard are essential to writers of books because he/they provide hints in contradiction to the evidence that the effort matters.  That’s true, except, of course that there aren’t people like him; the whole point of Leonard’s work is that his was an individual sensibility — what he thought and felt, he himself, and not some congealing of herd reaction.

It’s getting too quiet around here, and I haven’t even got to my thoughts on the loss of Studs Terkel yet.

A Leonard credo can be found here.

More links to his work and other commentaries on his life and writing can be found at the bottom of this moving remembrance by Edward Champion. 

(h/t bkcdgrd)

Image: Gustave Courbet, “Portrait of Baudelaire,” 1848.

Explore posts in the same categories: bad books, good books, In Memoriam

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