Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ur-prof Kenner

I can't remember the last time I read or heard Hugh Kenner,  the archetypal professor. Some days ago I was hearing some podcast from NPR featuring an author or authority, jogging my memory; something in the speaker's voice recalled Kenner's. There was an unusual quality about it, a sinus irregularity coupled with eccentric wit. 

I wondered if Kenner was still alive? The prognosis was was not too good, being that I may have last seen him 2 decades ago on some program like William F. Buckley's Firing Line. Sure enough, he departed this mortal coil nearly a decade ago, in 2003. Pictured left is how I remember him: classic seersucker and bow tie, with professorial hair.

His field was literature, often a guest on PBS shows. I probably first heard him discuss Waugh on an epilog to the first broadcast of Brideshead Revisted.
Do we still have characters like this in the audio visual public realm?  I tend to doubt it. The newer higher brow (and for that matter, lower brow) pundits are more telegenic.  The topics discussed are more pithy, less idiosyncratic. 


  1. It is kind of interesting to me that I have no idea who this guy is! It is like you and I are born a world apart! Well- in distance we might be but certainly not in age! Should I know him??

  2. No, there is no way that you would know him--just a guy from the old days:o) That's just how this blog is, I write about old guys that suddenly pop into my mind, whom I have not thought of in years.