Friday, October 18, 2013

Norman Geras: 1943-2013

A visitor to normblog, the on-line beacon of moral, intellectual, and political sanity run since August 2003 by the political philosopher, public intellectual, and Alpha Blogger Norman Geras, will find this sad and startling announcement:
I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.

Jenny Geras (Norm's daughter), 18 October 2013
I have been a great admirer of Norm's and counted him as a friend, even though we met in person only a few times—we got to know each other through the blogosphere and the on-line polemical debates of the past decade, which sometimes serve as our era's closest approximation to the old 18th-century Republic of Letters. So this news hits me hard, and I'm still processing it. Meanwhile, I will just share the reaction that Shalom Lappin posted on Facebook, since it hits exactly the right notes:
I was devastated to hear that Norm Geras died today, after a long illness. He was a very good friend. He was also a progressive voice of rationality and profound decency in a difficult period of political turbulence. I will miss him.
So will I.

For some other reactions and appreciations, see here & here & here & here & here.

—Jeff Weintraub