Hitch redux

June 12, 2012 • 11:44 am

Here are two pictures of Hitchens that someone sent me.  He’s clearly already undergone cancer treatment, but I like these because they show him doing what he loved to do, right up to the end: writing and being among his books.

You can see more photos here, all taken by the Washington photographer Brooks Kraft). Have a look at the closeup of his writing table at Brooks Kraft’s site; it shows the “Queasy Pops” he was sucking to reduce the nausea produced by chemotherapy. Click both pictures to enlarge them.

20 thoughts on “Hitch redux

  1. Love these pics.

    I’ve seen similar pictures of his flat, and I always wondered why he stacked his books like that…what if wanted to peruse the bottom book in one of those piles? Couldn’t he find an intern os someone to arrange proper shelves? Just sayin.

        1. I thought they looked like stacks too but there was no way the stack on the right could ever be stable.

          As the stack of books gets higher, so the compressibility or springiness of the books at the bottom starts to cause the stack to lean to one side or the other. From experience I’d say those are about twice as high as a practical stable stack.

  2. Feeling nauseous, sick and tired but still working through it. Amazing! Some of us will find oueselves in his position and will draw srength from his bravery.

  3. What is striking is how bare the walls are. No pictures, no photos. No flowers. The absence of a woman’s touch is a bit puzzling. Did his wife like to live in such a bare space? Or was this just his working area?

    Still, there is some beauty in this minimalist and ultra-modern style.
    The rooms are lovely, with great wooden floors, and beautiful door frames. It may have helped Hitchens concentrate by keeping the space so uncluttered.
    I, too, didn’t care too much for the unusual book stacks.

    1. 1. Some women like “minimalist”. Really. TrueFact.
      2. Did you not see the paintings, probably by his children in there?
      3. They are vertical book shelves. Also, bibliophiles often resort to book stacks when they run out of shelf space.
      4. Those photos were not taken in the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen. The whole place may not look like that.

      1. Grania, good comment. It also has the look of a quickly established study – perhaps a larger room recently established after his diagnosis.

  4. Alas, I tried to read “Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens” but after 2 months I had only gone 30% through the book because I found it excessively boring, so I abandoned it. (I usually read a non-fiction book in a week or less.) I admired Hitchens and loved much of his writings, but this book put me to sleep.

  5. At one point in my life I combed through every collection of essays of Christopher Hitchens for every piece of venom he spewed against a mutual “bete noire” of ours, Malcolm Muggeridge.

    My own reasons for disliking MM so were ones that Hitchens could not possibly have cared less about. I resented the way Muggeridge misrepresented many dissenting eccentric heterodox Christians as pillars of classical orthodoxy in his book “The Third Testament”. Hitch reviled him for creating the Western cult of Mother Theresa, and for general sanctimoniousness. Still, I enjoyed every word Hitch wrote against the fellow.

    1. Who was it who nicknamed him “Bunkum Buggeridge”? I think it was an Australian in the 60s or 70s but Google can’t find anything. I’m not sure how you spell “Bunkum” either.

      1. Perhaps bumpkin ??
        An awkward, unsophisticated person; a yokel.

        [Perhaps from Flemish boomken, shrub, diminutive of boom, tree; see bheu- in Indo-European roots or from Middle Dutch bommekijn, diminutive of bomme, barrel.]
        Word History: The term bumpkin may at one time have been directed at an entire people rather than that segment of the population living in a rural area. The first recorded appearance of the word in 1570 is glossed by the Latin word Batavus, “Dutchman,” making plausible the suggestion that bumpkin may come from either the Middle Dutch word bommekijn, “little barrel,” or the Flemish word boomken, “shrub.” The connection would be between a squat object and the short rotund figure of the Dutchman in the popular imagination. Any bumpkin would surely prefer this etymology to the suggestion that bumpkin is a derivative of bum, “the rear end.”

        [notagod] – See also George UU Bush aka Bumkin DuhBya Bush aka Shrub

  6. See comment on previous page about preferred liver-damage fluid. Good quality stuff matures with age (as I’m sure His Hitchness would have affirmed).
    Fine-quality liver damage fluid should be consumed at one of (1) sunrise, (2) sunset (3) good company, whichever can be readily achieved.
    Alternating good quality liver-damage with cool coffee on a January mountain top, with sunset in the west and moon rise in the east (very Tolkein ; we speculated on him having done exactly that) is not necessary, but the expectation of 6 hours ploughing through chest-deep snow to get back to the sleeping bags, does add to the flavour.
    (BTW, we’re not dead, yet. Well, not all of us.)
    Vale Hitch ; I’ll take a good snifter up my next mountain, and the De’il can take the hindmost, and my wife’s comments. And my blisters and ageing bones.

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