Under threat

Frank Kermode

  • Tributes: Interpreters of our Cultural Tradition by E.H. Gombrich
    Phaidon, 270 pp, £17.50, April 1984, ISBN 0 7148 2338 4

Sir Ernst Gombrich here collects various memorial lectures and memoirs of distinguished colleagues. He is a lecturer of high accomplishment – indeed I doubt if he has any serious rival in the shaping and illustration of an argument. Normally he uses not one but two magic lanterns. Some years ago he gave the Romanes Lecture and was denied the use of even one, but this did not deter him, for he simply used the interior of the Sheldonian as an image source, and voyaged on, with Karl Popper, as usual, his pole star, into very difficult waters: the relations of synchronic and diachronic in art history, the problems of canonicity and value.

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