Critic Frank Kermode Dies at 90

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.

Archives of Kermode’s work are available at the LRB and The New York Review of Books (some subscriber-only). Critic Frank Kermode Dies at 90