When Donald Kagan passed away in the first week of August, his admirers felt a sense of loss, but also a sense of gratitude — for the life lived. Kagan was a great scholar, a great educator, and a great guy. The mere mention of his name brings a smile — and stories. Here’s one.
The first time I met him, he said he liked my music criticism but had a complaint: “You’re too nice to modern composers.” I said, “That would come as a surprise to them.” He threw back his head and laughed. He had me at hello, so …
This article appears as “A Scholar-Prince, via Brooklyn” in the September 13, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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