24 September 2007

Av revoir, Marcel

I don't usually go in for obituaries unless I knew the person concerned. For Marcel Marceau I will make one of my rare exceptions because, through his work, he played a part in shaping me.

His silent evocations were part of the web of influences which led me to a life in those other wordless domains, mathematics and the visual-plastic arts. I was enthralled by those invocations from, at a guess, age three or four: not their content, but their mute eloquence.

About other aspects of him (holocaust orphan, fugitive, Chaplin imitator, resistence fighter) I was ignorant until well into my teens; other people, better placed than I, will write about them. I will restrict myself to acknowledging my debt to the tumultuous silence which is a deep and permanent part of me. That won't change with his departure into a more absolute silence over the weekend.

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