I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.
Jenny Geras (Norm's daughter), 18 October 2013
Since he started blogging barely a day has passed without me checking in to Normblog. It was like a moral and intellectual bath. A sustained ( and sometimes stern) hymn to human decency, intellectual integrity and human aspiration. I come from a very different ideological starting point from professor Norm but he was the greatest of teachers so he influenced me to venture far beyond the crabbed and ungenerous confines of my own prejudices and instincts.
I will miss him more than I can say.
I’ve been corresponding with Norm through his blog since 2005. Before that I read his books at university. I didn’t agree with him on details, but he always replied in a way which helped me understand more and… he always replied. We met once, by his kind invitation. He was brilliant, he was clear and concise, he was a true gentleman in his kindness. I always got something out of reading him, even up to just a few days ago. Oh dear I will miss him.
A man whose expression of his politics and his views always enhanced his humanity and concern for his fellow man. Many people do that the other way round and that is also a very laudable quality. But to debate on so many themes for so many years and to do it with such clarity and lack of any expression of personal animosity, that was uniquely Norman Geras. A pleasure to read, a pleasure to communicate with and I’m sure, for those close to him, a pleasure to be and live with. My thoughts are with you.
Pingback: ROSIE BELL: Norman Geras – 1943–2013 | normfest
I have been a reader of Normal Geras since the days of the Euston Manifesto where I found a voice of reason and sharp intellect. It was such sad news to hear of the death of my favourite blogger and I did in fact cry. He was so influential to me that I would often think, during a discussion or when trying to establish a position of debate, ‘What would Norm think?’ During the summer I visited the home of Jane Austen having never read a word of the great novelist, but in homage, if you will, to Norm. I promise, Norm, to read her. His death has been like losing a dear friend. I shall so miss him.
I posted this first of all on The Tablet, where I first read of Norm’s death, and I’ve since posted it elsewhere where there have been tributes to him. Tis is my tribute:
This is upsetting: I met Norm in the 1990s, when I started attending his once-a-term seminars on the Holocaust for graduates and practising academics. It led to me writing a paper for his seminar and, later, a further development of that as a paper for the British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference.
He led that seminar with grace and gentleness, just as Ben Cohen describes him doing in his seminar on Marxism. In the seminar I attended, his Marxism, while it clearly influenced his chairing of these meetings, never obtruded into the discussion in any disruptive way. It was there that I made the acquaintance of both Eve Garrard (who guest-posted on Normblog) and David Hirsh, who went on to become the founding editor of engageonline, as well as both getting his PhD and publish the expansion of his thesis as a good book.
Norm never permitted comments on his blog (quite right too: it wasn’t that sort of blog and, anyway, it would have taken far too much of his time moderating the comments). He’d rather get on with life: taken his morning walks around Cambridge (to which he and Adele retired once he left Manchester), reading the papers and the various books he was reading, writing his blog, and so forth. However, I was privileged to have his email address, and occasionally, very occasionally, I would send him an email to comment on a particular item he had published. I always received the courtesy of a reply.
I met Norm once more after Manchester: a friend runs a monthly discussion group for the small Jewish community and had invited Norm to address “her” group. When I said that I knew him, she invited us (my wife and I) for dinner with Norm and Adele. It was a delightful evening, even if Norm was embarrassed to be asked (by me) to sign my copy of his book (Contract…): he had to ask Adele, a successful author in her own right, how to do it!
I shall miss him. The worst of it is, once I get over the lack of his voice, that he was only a year older than me. The shades close in…
Pingback: Norman Geras 1943-2013 – The Euston Manifesto