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John Gross Keeping Up with the Jeunesse d’oré
The son of East European Jewish immigrants, John Gross (1935-2011) graduated from Oxford and Princeton, and rose to become a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, editor of The Times Literary Supplement (1974-81), senior book editor of The New York Times (1983-89) and theatre critic of the Daily Telegraph (1989-2005). His works as an author include The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (which won the Duff Cooper Prize for 1969), while The New Oxford Book of English Prose (1998) is among the best-loved of his anthologies. Though known for his modesty, he was much praised by colleagues and others, and described in obituaries as ‘the best-read man in Britain’. The title of Mark Boxer’s portrait – which illustrated some of those obituaries – hints at the breadth of his knowledge and acquaintance.