Two Deaths

Two recent deaths, acknowledged by two beautiful obituaries in The New York Times. First, the editor and writing instructor William Zinsser, whose book, On Writing Well, stands honorably right next to Strunk and White’s The Elements Of Style. He was 92. Take heart that Zinsser, who lived so long and wrote so well, did not find his voice until he hit his fifties.

Second, cultural historian Peter Gay, whose Germanic industriousness and Freudian interpretations of European life from the eighteenth century through the twentieth reshaped the work of his entire profession. He was 91. Of all the great cultural historians one could name, only Jacques Barzun rivals Gay for the depth and breadth of his scholarship and his imagination.

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