Saul Goldberg: Tony Judt: the captivating wit and intellect of my friend and teacher





[Saul Goldberg cycled across the United States for the organisation Move for ALS moveforals.com]

'Everyone needs a Tony Judt in their life." This was how one of his former students responded in 2009 when asked by a high school teacher to describe what Tony Judt was really like. I remember the teacher well. He was himself an intellectually serious man, not just familiar with Tony's work but an avid follower of it: he proudly owned every one of Tony's seven major history books, and subscribed to the New York Review of Books just to read Tony's essays. The teacher left me with a lasting impression of the addictive intellectual aura that Tony generated. I don't think Tony intended it, though he was certainly aware that his intellect made people all over the world wish that they could spend five minutes with him.

I was Tony's student, but ours was not a regular pupil-teacher relationship. He taught me during my final undergraduate semester at New York University in what was by far the best class I ever took, but I always looked up to him more as a nephew would towards an uncle, or even as a surrogate father. In part, this must be because we are related: my great-grandfather and Tony's grandfather were brothers, part of an influx of eastern European Jews that came to London in the early 20th century....


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list