Charles Cowling

A delightful account here from the funeral in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, of Sir Frank Kermode, eminent literary critic and, most important, very nice man, by John Naughton. It was, says Naughton, “elegant, moving, celebratory and only slightly elegaic. I think he would have approved.” Fittingly, “Afterwards, there was a splendid tea in the Senior Combination Room.” How very Cambridge!

Ursula [Owen] told a lovely story about a trip she and Frank had gone on together — to the Yeats Summer School in Sligo, where he had been invited to lecture. When they settled into their seats on the plane, Frank opened his folder and realised that he’d brought the wrong text. So they checked into their hotel and he then calmly reconstructed the missing lecture, walked out and delivered it.”

But what I enjoyed most was this reflection by Anthony Holden on the nature of friendship, the value of which is enhanced by the fact that it was delivered by one supremely analytical brain and endorsed by another:

“At the end of his eulogy, Tony said something that rang true for all of us. “What I did to earn Frank’s regard”, he said, “I’ll never know”. Me neither. To be granted the friendship of such a great man was a wonderful privilege. So I’ll just count it as one of my blessings and leave it at that.”

Read the entire post here.  More about Sir Frank here, including his thoughts about death: “Death may be, is likely to be, a little too early or a little too late.” And (another) very nice tribute to Sir Frank, again by John Naughton, here.

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gloriamundi

“Death may be, is likely to be, a little too early or a little too late.” A much more profound comment than at first it might seem, like many of the things Kermode said and wrote. An embodiement, perhaps, of the best of our culture, or one area of it, at least. Thanks Charles.