Much has been written here about Norman Geras’ politics and the influence he had on people. It’s where I first got to know about him too, but it was in that huge hinterland of his other interests where we got to know one another.
[first published on Yaacov’s blog Rumninations]
Norman Geras died yesterday. I never met him personally. We met through the blogosphere, where we linked to each other from time to time, and e-mailled back and forth when we wished to speak directly. His blog, Normblog, was a fount of erudite common sense; he was especially good when he clearly dissected the silliness of public discourse.
His final post, earlier this month, contained a list of books he had read and recommended. As a tribute to him, people might like to choose one of the titles they’ve never read, and read it. I certainly will try to.
Rest in peace, friend.
Baruch dayan emet.
[first published on Bob’s blog Bob from Brockley]
On Wednesday night, I was reading my six-year-old his bed time story: The Strange Bird by Adele Geras. It’s a story we both love, but it’s had a poignant edge for me these last months, since Adele Geras’ husband Norman has been ill. I realised I’d not heard from Norm on Twitter for a little while, and I wondered how he was doing. I was terribly sad to hear on Friday morning that he had passed.
Like many people who are missing him, I never met Norm, but I feel he knew him well. I had read some of his work on Rosa Luxemburg and on philosophy and the Holocaust before I met him in the early noughties in the digital world, but it was through his blog that I came to know him. When I started blogging in 2005, his was one of the first two or three sites I linked to (along with Harry Hatchet, who remembers Norm here), and I was proud that Normblog was the first site to link to mine.
[first published on Anne’s blog Anne’s Opinions]
With great sadness I learned that one of my favourite bloggers passed away on Friday: Professor Norman Geras, otherwise known as “normblog“.
I never had the privilege of meeting or getting to know Professor Geras but from I have read about him, he was a remarkable man both in his academic career and in his personal traits. A short excerpt from his obituary in The Tablet might explain some of his essence:
[first published on François’ blog Un Swissroll]
Un Swissroll perd un frère aîné et la gauche une conscience morale
Dernière màj: dimanche 20 à 16h00
C’est par un billet posté par une de ses deux filles vendredi matin sur Normblog que ses amis de la blogosphère ont appris le décès quelques heures plus tôt de Norm (par ailleurs professeur retraité de l’Université de Manchester et auteur marxiste reconnu): il avait manifestement pris ses dispositions, et le blog va rester en ligne avec tout ce qu’il contient.
Norm avait indiqué il y a quelques mois avoir commencé une thérapie anticancéreuse (dont il a ultérieurement donné de rares échos) après avoir été diagnostiqué en 2003, mais le ralentissement alors annoncé ne s’est guère manifesté sur le blog, avec toujours la même humanité dans le style et la même variété de sujets, du jazz (et country, et classique) à l’éthique, de la littérature à sa famille en passant par le cricket ou bien sûr la politique et la lutte pour une gauche fidèle à elle-même.
…blogs at The Socialism of Fools and John-Paul Pagano
Yesterday I was kicking cans in the junkyard of my 9-to-5 when it occurred to me, suddenly and without ostensible cue, that for some time I hadn’t looked after the status of ailing Norman Geras. When I returned to my desk after lunch, I puttered around the Internet before visiting normblog and there was the news that Norm had died that morning.
Maybe the notion that someone might “let you know” that they’re departing is desperate, or unseemly in a parlor-game way, but I think it serves here as a metaphor for the impact Norm had on so many of us, including and perhaps especially those like me who didn’t know him in “real life”. He was present, even if you didn’t often actively think about him.
[first published on John’s blog Obscene Desserts]
Like many other people, I was very saddened last night to learn of the death of Norm Geras.
I was about to write something like ‘I didn’t know him personally’, but then it occurred to me that in some way I did. What I mean is that I only ever communicated with Norm electronically—via our blogs and sometimes through email and Facebook—since we ‘met’ some time after I started this blog in 2006. (I forget now how it happened: it might have been at about this moment, in August of that year.)
[first published on Chris’s blog Chriscellany]
I was very sad yesterday to learn that Norman Geras had died. As a lot of people have already said, I felt it as a personal loss despite having no personal relationship to the man. Although he was never part of my exterior life, Norm’s voice has been a regular feature of my interior world for the best part of ten years. When he started blogging in 2003 I was yet to turn twenty, and his death yesterday came just a day after my thirtieth birthday. That’s an important decade for a young person. At the start of it you’re still clambering free from the confining solipsism of adolescence, just starting to avert your gaze from your own navel toward the world around you. By the end of it, you should be properly sobered up from youthful affectations and illusions of invulnerability and ready to approach life’s lessons with the appropriate humility.
[first published at dovegreyreader scribbles]
Having flown in a plane the size of an Airfix kit, (I swear I could see the glue on the propellors) it was quite a relief to land in Edinburgh from Orkney on Thursday, and the Tinker and I were pleased to have two hours to recover while we waited for our connecting flight to Manchester (in a slightly bigger Airfix kit) and thence to Exeter. Virgin very kindly supply free airport wi-fi, so it was out with the iPad and a quick catch up with the world.
Writer and knitter extraordinaire Adele Geras and I have been in regular email contact in recent months as her husband Norm took on the mighty beast that is cancer, and I knew that Norm's time left with us was limited, but still how sad I was to read a message from Adele, taking a break from the hospital, to let me know that it wouldn't be long now. There is nothing like news of that calibre to focus the thinking as we then took to the skies, rose up through and above the clouds, feeling very small as we caught glimpses of the earth below, deciding that this must have been Cumbria… maybe…
Holding Adele and Norm and their daughters Sophie Hannah and Jenny in my thoughts wasn't hard, they have all been there a great deal in recent weeks, and readily so as we headed back to Devon, full of the spirit of Orkney. Whoever or wherever your 'God', Orkney is very much a Nearer My God to Thee sort of place, as in it speaks to your soul… and Norm would doubtless have had something very sensible, kind and polite to say about that ethereal thinking of mine.
And then to read the sad news the next day of Norm's death at the age of 70 in the early hours of Friday morning.
[first published on Ann’s blog Bookwitch]
Norm Geras died yesterday morning. He’d been ill for some time, and earlier this year when I asked Adèle how he was, her reply wasn’t the one I’d hoped for. So I knew what to expect, but you still feel sad when it happens.
He was such a widely respected man, and I was extremely flattered when asked to contribute to his Normblog profile early on in my blogging career. That someone like Norm would consider me “grown-up” enough to contribute felt astounding.