What We Should Remember on Prize Days
I remember a wise man once saying, and I paraphrase here: every father has an idealized dream of his son, and every son has an idealized dream of his father. Neither dream is true, of course, but a turning point occurs when we realize that what we have is actually better than what we dreamed.
Frank Kermode, who died yesterday in Cambridge, England, was one of his country’s most important and influential literary critics. He’s been called the “finest English critic of his generation.” An author of over 50 books, spanning 5 decades of scholarship and criticism, he was appointed the King Edward VII chair of English literature at King’s College, Cambridge University in 1974.
His obituary points out that this only son of a storekeeper and waitress, “… was a disappointment to his father, ‘being fat, plain, shortsighted, clumsy, idle, dirty,’ as he wrote in ‘Not Entitled’ (his autobiography) ‘and very unlikely to add to the family store of sporting cups and medals.’”