Vale, Inga Clendinnen — Text Publishing

Inga Clendinnen was a brilliant historian and an extraordinary writer. She was fearless and endlessly curious. She understood the limits of history and the power of intuition. So many of her students remember what a gifted and inspiring teacher she was back in the day at La Trobe University. We all learned so much from her. An internationally acclaimed historian of Aztec and Mayan culture and society, Inga came to Text when a different phase of her life had begun after her liver transplant in 1994 when she was sixty. Her new liver not only saved her life, it unleashed her writing. Australian literature owes a debt to her surgeons because their skill allowed Inga to spread her wings. Illness, she said, made her a writer. It ‘liberated me from the routines which would have delivered me, unchallenged and unchanged, to discreet death’. She stopped teaching and decided that, being alive, nothing was beyond her reach. Being Inga, she chose of course to start with the Holocaust, undaunted by the vast scholarly record it had generated. She wanted to try to understand it by focusing on the accounts of both survivors and perpetrators, and gave us Reading the Holocaust, which we published in 1998. It became a New York Times notable book.

Source: Vale, Inga Clendinnen — Text Publishing


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