Skip to main content

With the Death of Bernard Lewis, the Age of Academic Giants Has Come to an End

Michael Doran

As a graduate student at Princeton University in the mid-1990s, I grew to know and love Bernard Lewis, the preeminent historian of the Middle East who passed away on May 19, less than two weeks before his 102nd birthday. At the time, I was in my early thirties and he was a year or two short of eighty, though you would not have known it from the pace of his work—a pace with which I soon became familiar as his research assistant.

By then I had met any number of extremely accomplished people, but never anyone quite like him. Lewis was a genius, by which I mean not just that he was extremely intelligent but that he possessed dazzling and unique intellectual gifts. He knew somewhere between ten and fifteen languages. The ones that mattered most to him professionally—Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, modern Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, French, and German—he knew extremely well. He also had a photographic memory.

To read the full piece on Mosaic Magazine’s website, click here.

Related Articles

Protecting America from a Bad Deal: Ending U.S. Participation in the Nuclear Deal with Iran

Michael Pregent

testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security...

View PDF

Erbakan, Kısakürek, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey

Svante E. Cornell

Turkish leadership’s rhetoric is increasingly similar to that of America’s adversaries and is only rarely that of a partner and ally...

Continue Reading

Conflicts in Indonesian Islam

Paul Marshall

Despite these positive political and economic trends, Islamist movements have flourished in Indonesia...

Continue Reading