John Leonard: 1939-2008
The news about the death today of critic John Leonard is just too sad to be believed. Leonard—lately a book critic for Harpers and a TV critic for New York, onetime editor of the New York Times Book Review, and frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books—was in my opinion the flat out best writer, sentence to sentence, of his critical generation. His pieces were delirious swarms of facts, adjectives, and erudition; no one covered more territory; no one built his kind of momentum. You were forever reminded of his fundamental sympathy for the authors about which he wrote. It’s an awful loss.