Kenner’s combination of superhuman industriousness and riotous sense of humor will be hard to match. My favorite Kenner book has always been A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers, with its funny index:
Andersen, Hans C., vitalist, 269
Ardilaun, Lord, cautious philanthropist, 211-212
Beckett, Samuel, immobilist, 9, 28, 29 . . .
Beerbohm, Max, depictor, 77, 94
Behan, Brendan, boozer, 9, 324
I bonded with Kenner when I was an undergraduate because, in addition to being a literary critic, he was, like me, a computer nut. I still remember how I discovered that fact. I was in a bookstore and saw the Heath/Zenith Z-100 User’s Guide on the shelf with the name Hugh Kenner on the title page. Could it be? I opened the book and read the first line:
We are expert at all manner of things.
Yep, I thought: same guy.
I think it’s a safe bet that Kenner’s book is the only computer manual in the Ransom collection.
Browsing through the Kenner books on Amazon I discover one, The Elsewhere Community, which I’ve never seen before. Perfect for that annoying Chicago-based literary blogger on your list.
Feedstering tonight, I turned up a few more comments on Kenner’s death from the blogosphere. Kind of an “instant Festschrift,” if you will.