Thursday, April 30, 2015

Don't look here for an obituary for Brian Higgins, who died Tuesday at 71

I've done two good-to-fine memorial articles, first on Harrison Hayford and then on Walter Bezanson.

I do not expect to write one on my long-time collaborator Brian Higgins, whom I met in 1968 when I went to USC.

I spent more hours with him in the intervening years than with anyone not related to me by marriage or blood.

Usually my collaborations served as a way of getting publications on students' dossiers. A few were genuine collaborations. Brian's and mine were, which meant that we worked for hours together in the same room, over and over again.

The summer I was back teaching at Northwestern, 1973, we used the typewriters in the English office at night as we wrote our article on TENDER IS THE NIGHT. We did our intensive reading of PIERRE in kitchen of his then parents-in-law in Ladera Heights. . . .

I could go on with a dozen pieces linked to places, but I realize that this is something I did in my article on deconstructing THE ART OF THE NOVEL and liberating James's prefaces. After the tenth listing or so melancholy descends.

With Henry Binder and Noel Polk gone and now Brian Higgins gone, that's it for the boys of the War years.

When Brian and I talked on the telephone we laughed and laughed. Now there is no one to laugh that way with.

I have given orders to two men born a while after the War that they are forbidden to die before I do. They will be very sorry if they do.

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