Kermode, the sense of an ending

A sample of the many sendoffs to the great literary critic Frank Kermode, whose books helped give shape to my reading:

The New York Times: “I wanted to write about Kermode because I admired him. In my years in academia, I had watched the study of literature go down any number of rabbit holes — chasing after theory and ideology and system. The very point of reading and talking about what we read seemed to have been lost in a kind of strangulating self-seriousness and alienation. That’s where Kermode came in.”

The Telegraph: “Kermode had initially been a scholar of the Renaissance, notably of Shakespeare, Spenser and Donne, but he came to the attention of fellow academics with Romantic Image (1957), a study of the use of imagery in poetry by romantic and modern writers.”

“He continued thereafter to combine Renaissance and modern studies, but in both his preoccupations remained broadly the same – the relationship between art and order, and that between writers and the changing world of which they had tried to form a coherent vision.”

The Guardian: “His publisher, Alan Samson, at Weidenfeld & Nicolson said Kermode would probably be most remembered for The Sense of An Ending, his collection of lectures on the relationship of fiction to concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis, first published in 1967, as well as for Romantic Image, a study of the Romantic movement up until WB Yeats.”

The London Review of Books: “Papers speak through their writers. And of all the London Review’s writers Frank Kermode was the one through whom we spoke most often and most eloquently. In all he wrote nearly 250 pieces for the LRB, the first in October 1979, a review of J.F.C. Harrison’s book on millenarianism, the last, in May this year, a review of Philip Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.”

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Filed under Notes on Readings, Readings in Media

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