A Man of Letters: Denis Dutton, R.I.P.

Many of you probably know that Denis Dutton passed away two days ago. Dutton founded the spectacular website Arts and Letters Daily, wrote the much-lauded book The Art Instinct, and edited the journal Philosophy and Literature, where he provided common-sense intellectuals with much mirth by launching the Bad Writing Contest. He also once wrote: “The brutal, penetrating honesty of his thinking and the vividness of his prose make Dalrymple the Orwell of our time.”

Now, Dalrymple returns the praise on the City Journal website:

…to know him was immediately to form a strong and lasting affection for him. Dutton had a profound and beneficial effect on political and cultural debate in the entire English-speaking world.

…A man, however, is not to be measured wholly by the quality of his achievements. I wish only that I were able to turn as fine a compliment of Denis Dutton as Doctor Johnson turned of Sir Joshua Reynolds: that he was the most invulnerable man that he knew, for if he should quarrel with him, he should find the most difficulty how to abuse him. Denis Dutton was of that ilk.

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