Daily Archives: May 28, 2010

Michael Patrick Hearn remembers Martin Gardner

I have read aloud Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland yearly to my fourth grade class yearly since 1990. And I have always read from Martin Gardner‘s Annotated Alice. His passing was a great loss and there have been and will be many tributes to such an extraordinary man.  Here is Michael Patrick Hearn’s.

Martin Gardner was my literary godfather. He was the most generous man I have ever known. I owe him everything. When I was only 20, he convinced Clarkson N. Potter to contract my book The Annotated Wizard of Oz as a successor to his own superb and now classic The Annotated Alice. He was always recommending me to editors he knew even up to last year. We often exchanged articles before publication to get the other’s thoughts on the subject. Mine benefited inestimably from his input. While he could so adroitly explain the most complex concepts to layman and expert alike, he retained the curiosity and the heart of a child. His integrity was impeccable, his prose lucid and profound. His influence was vast. Few realize that an article he wrote on L. Frank Baum and the Oz Books in The New York Times Book Review inspired the Broadway musical The Wiz. Who else was quoted by John Fowles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and named by Nabokov a character in Ada or Ardor?.  Of course it was his sister Judy, not Martin, who told me that. He was the gentlest and most modest of men. A true gentleman. Like everyone who had the honor of knowing him, I feel blessed to have been his friend and he mine. I will miss him terribly.

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