Sad news: Lisa Jardine, author of Ingenious Pursuits and Worldly Goods, has died at the age of 71. From the Guardian:
The celebrated historian and author professor Lisa Jardine has died aged 71.
Jardine was known for her research into the early modern period and, in the later part of her career, she worked as a professor of renaissance studies at University College London (UCL). She was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Society this year and won its prestigious medal for popularising science, as well as being awarded a CBE.
Jardine’s friend and UCL colleague Prof Melissa Terras called her an “astonishing scholar” and said she would be missed. Jardine was “immensely supportive of colleagues and the causes she cared about, passionate about equality, an effortless communicator and had a vital energy that encouraged and galvanised those around her”, said Terras.
“I only knew Lisa for the past three years, but she became a friend as well as a colleague,” said Terras. “Her research team was family to her, and she will be sorely missed by the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, UCL, and the wider scholarly community.”
Another great historian has passed. The Telegraph:
Robert Conquest, the writer on Soviet Russia who has died aged 98, was a polemicist and a serious, published poet; but above all he was an historian, one of the outstanding scholars of his time, whose books did as much as any other man’s to alter our view of the communist experience.
Conquest personified the truth that there was no anti-communist so dedicated as an ex-communist. His career illustrated also what the Italian writer Ignazio Silone, another former communist, meant when he said to the communist leader Palmiro Togliatti that “the final battle” of the 20th century would have to be fought between the two sides they represented.
An ardent Bolshevik as a young man, Conquest became a bitter foe of Soviet “Socialism”. He had first visited Russia in 1937 as a youthful devotee of the great experiment. It was a half century before he returned in 1989, having spent his life between chronicling the horrors the country had endured, and emerging, in the view of the Oxford historian Mark Almond, as “one of the few Western heroes of the collapse of Soviet Communism”. “He was Solzhenitsyn before Solzhenitsyn,” said Timothy Garton Ash.
Of his many works on the subject, perhaps the most important was The Great Terror, published in 1968 and detailing the full enormity of what Stalin had done to the Russian people in the 1930s and 1940s. The Mexican writer Octavio Paz paid the most succinct tribute to this book when he said in 1972 that The Great Terror had “closed the debate” about Stalinism.