John Gardner at Home

Tribute from Jeff King

Dear John,

I’ve heard the news of the progress of your cancer and I wanted to say that I was absolutely devastated to hear it. It is a huge tragedy for our field, for your former students, and for the study of law and philosophy in the UK and around the world. Your sense of humour and your democratic way of running seminars will always be a model for me and so many others, even if we all fall short of your brainpower. I heard from Francois that you will be reading but not answering emails. It will be good enough for me to know that you will have read this and I’m relieved that you won’t need to fumble for words in reply. I think that at this point words fail me and I have to just say what I think it really is - an absolute fucking tragedy. At least your family will have had the fortune of living with a great man before this came to pass, and you will have the comfort of knowing how many outstanding people you have helped along their way and how much respect you’ve earned while doing it. And I say this from the sidelines rather than as a direct beneficiary. For the rest of us, we had the chance to learn from you and your students. There’s a lot of joy in all of that.

My best and warmest to you and your family in the coming months.