Tony Tanner and I were colleagues briefly, from 1964–5, as lecturers in the English Faculty at Cambridge University. We were also Fellows of King’s College, where he was Director of English Studies. We got along quite easily, but we did not become pals. He was more at home in college life than I was, and in the kind of teaching we did at King’s—weekly tutorials, two students at a time, reading and discussing their essays, with occasional sherry parties to denote bonhomie. I had started my teaching life in the more middle-class University College, Dublin, lecturing to large classes. I quite liked the miscellany of the lecture theater. College teaching at King’s seemed to me too British; I often found it embarrassing. I’m sure Tanner was much better at it than I was.

He was one of the liveliest teachers in the English Faculty, even if he was not as...


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