Professor Sir Frank Kermode died last Tuesday (17 August) at his home in Cambridge. He was 90.
Frank Kermode was one of the most respected and influential literary critics of his generation. His collections of essays and lectures became standard university texts, with the most famous being The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction (1967, 2000). He was a prolific writer and only last year published a book, Concerning EM Forster.
Kermode was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1919. He rose from humble beginnings to win a scholarship to Liverpool University, where he took both BA and MA degrees. After spending the war years in the Royal Navy, he returned to academia to hold teaching positions at some of world's most prestigious universities, including Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
In 1974 he was elected a Fellow of King's and became King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University. He remained a Fellow of King's until 1986, by which time he had moved to Columbia University. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1987.
Professor Alan Macfarlane, another Fellow of King's, recorded an extended video interview with Frank Kermode in 2008.