Literary critic Frank Kermode died yesterday at the age of 90, the London Review of Books announced today. Kermode was credited with inspiring the LRB‘s founding (in a 1979 article he wrote for the UK Observer) and with popularizing French theory in Britain.
Kermode’s publisher, Alan Samson, told The Guardian:
He’s probably the greatest literary conversationalist I’ve ever known — it wasn’t just the lectures and the monographs and the books, it’s the fact that just talking about a writer he’d say incredibly pithy, intelligent things which would prompt you to go and read them again…. He knew he had exceptional gifts, but there was a modest manner about him. He knew he was smarter than everyone else, but he was this pipe-smoking, beguiling man who listened to what you had to say.