Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gilbert Sorrentino

I only just heard about the death of Gilbert Sorrentino (on May 18). I had limited contact with him during my Stanford days, but the contact was very important to me: he was the second reader of my honors thesis on Milan Kundera. I only talked with him a few times about Kundera and my thesis, and I do not remember any details of the conversations, but I do remember his warmth and his appreciation of my first truly serious efforts in literary criticism. And of course I appreciated his comments on the thesis when it was finished: the memorable element was that he wrote that he had never taken Kundera seriously before, but that I had made him do so.

1 comment:

Ruth B. Shields said...

I saw the announcement of his death, too, and remembered sitting on my mattress on the floor in my room on the 2nd floor at Synergy watching my roommate Mike laughing and pulling on his moustache and twisting his long hair while reading aloud to me from some novel of Sorrentino's that Mike was reading alongside the real assignments from Sorrentino in a class he was taking from him on American fiction. Mike's eyes shown, he couldn't stop laughing and reading and interrupting whatever else I might have been trying to read - Russian? German? - and rocking on his mattress back and forth laughing. Gilbert Sorrentino, Gilbert Sorrentino, Gilbert Sorrentino.