John Gardner at Home

Memories from Nick Barber

Dear John,

I was enormously sorry to hear that your health has worsened. It must be a terrible time for you and your family.

I wanted you to know how much I've valued your support over my career. I was speaking to my graduate student a week or so ago and, as we went through his chapter line by line, every sentence examined, every concept picked over, shaken, and put back in place, he asked me where I had learned to approach scholarship like that and - with what I like to think was admiration - whether I approached my work in the same manner. I was able to pass the blame back to you. As I told him, I have my own, inner John Gardner, who, as I write, constantly asks me if the claims I make are absolutely water-tight, if the argument really does follow from the premises. It is many years since you were my tutor but, in my head, it is still your voice I hear as I write. My inner-John has yet to be fully satisfied with my work, but I will keep trying.

The lessons you taught me continue to shape my work, and will continue to shape the work of my students.

With best wishes