The Times and its obituaries

(En legend i den engelska tidningsvärlden har tagit ner skylten.) Dödsrunorna i The Times är ofta förstklassig läsning, välskrivna,med substans. När jag tittar på vagnen med tolv tidningar (och några till i fickor på sidorna) hos supermarketen Tesco bläddrar jag ogenerat i The Times för att se om det är någon lovande nekrolog; det är det ofta. Bläddra i tidningarna är vad jag kan förstå tillåtet.

 

Senast skrev tidningen 11/1 om John Gross som dog dagen innan, ibland tar det längre tid efter dödsfallet men den här låg väl färdig. Han hade en skiftesrik bana vid många välrenommerade publikationer. Några år var han redaktör för Times Literary Supplement, som jag rekommenderar varje engelskkunnig person att prenumerera på. Gross var perfektionist och lite svår att samarbeta med, antyds det. En gång diskuterade han i en timme med sina medarbetare vem som skulle anförtros att recensera en bok om numismatik. När han slutade vid TLS i samband med det stora engelska tidningsbråket med militanta fackföreningar av ett slag som även en svensk gråsosse anser gick för långt kom han 1981 till det icke okända förlaget Weiden & Nicolson och senare, som det står, ”joined the staff of The New York Times as chief book reviewer, writing two reviews a week”.

Hans far var en invandrad judisk läkare från Polen – påtagligt många av nekrologerna i The Times handlar om invandrade judar eller ättlingar till sådana, goda påminnelser om vilket samhällsnyttigt kapital denna folkgrupp varit för de länder som haft förstånd att släppa in dem.

Den mening i nekrologen (på en helsida med fyrspaltigt porträtt) som jag ska minna längst är: ”He had a Proustian love of gossip and such was his penchant for qualification that he might well begin a sentence with a parenthesis.

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