Fly and the Fly-Bottle: Encounters With British Intellectuals

Fly and the Fly-Bottle: Encounters With British Intellectuals

Fly and the Fly-Bottle: Encounters With British Intellectuals

Fly and the Fly-Bottle: Encounters With British Intellectuals

Excerpt

I'VE spent some happy years in Oxford, and to keep in touch with England I read her newspapers. I am most at home with the Guardian , but I also like to look at the correspondence columns of the Times , where, in an exception to the Times tradition of anonymity, the writers are identified by name and speak directly to the reader. I relish a contest of words, and the Times page of letters becomes for me a street where I can stroll each morning and see the people of England -- lords and commoners -- shake hands, spit at each other, and set off verbal barrages. I began taking this engaging daily walk during my undergraduate years at Balliol College, Oxford, and I!ve kept up the habit, whether I have found myself in Paris, Damascus, New Delhi, or New York. One autumn day in 1959, as I was taking my intellectual promenade, I met Bertrand Russell, under a signboard . . .

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