A Civilized Man: John Gross, R.I.P.

In City Journal, Dalrymple has written an obituary of John Gross, anthologist and former editor and critic for the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times, and the Sunday Telegraph:

To be in the company of John Gross, who died on January 10 at 75, was to experience a unique kind of pleasure, as well as a relief from the woes of the world. No man ever shared his erudition more delightfully, with less thought of imposing himself on others or of discomfiting the ignorant—as almost everyone was by comparison with him.

I particularly like this quote by Gross:

We should be . . . on guard, however, against a provincialism which estranges us from some of the great achievements of the past. If we don’t distinguish between true eloquence and fake eloquence, if we allow our fear of pretentious or precious “fine writing” to frighten us off the real thing, the loss will be ours; and it will be a large one.

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