Historian, political theorist, and public intellectual Tony Judt died on August 6 at the age of 62. Much more than a scholar, he was an eloquent and insightful writer, whether he was reflecting on postwar Europe, navigating our current economic and political challenges, or chronicling his experience of living with ALS. Always a vibrant thinker, his literary output only seemed to increase as his health deteriorated. He blogged at the New York Review of Books until last month, and was recently interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR.
Illness has struck too many intellectuals lately, among them Christopher Hitchens. In a state of "magical thinking," we thought Hitch would survive his recent diagnosis with esophageal cancer (and perhaps he will). But in this interview with Anderson Cooper, the author of the recent memoir Hitch-22 approaches his death with the same rigor that he's applied to everything else (god, literature, saints): with steely-eyed smarts and irreverence. In a recent Vanity Fair article he writes: "I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me."
Over at the inaugural issue of the Incongruous Quarterly, you can read a great, melancholy-tinged James Hannaham essay about a summer fling, originally commissioned by Time Out New York, but then well, banned, we guess. There's also an interview by Bookforum contributor Mary Gaitskill with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, which the magazine Raygun never ran. That's right—all the Quarterly's articles were rejected by other publications.