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

Transcript Summary: After the Taliban: Implications for India-Afghanistan Relations

Aparna Pande

Following is the transcript summary of the December 21st, 2020 Hudson event titled After the Taliban: Implications for India-Afghanistan Relations ...

Continue Reading

Was a Kenyan Terrorist Plotting Another 9/11?

James Barnett

On December 16, the US District Court in the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment against a Kenyan member of al Shabaab, the Somalia-b...

Continue Reading

The Gulf States: From Periphery to Center

Douglas J. Feith

In a web event for the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy & Strategy and the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf States Research, Douglas Feith discu...

Watch Now