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.