Home/Alan Jacobs/Defending Hitchens

Defending Hitchens

James Kirchick writes,

The one thing that can be said in praise of Richard Seymour’s UnHitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens, is that its subject would appreciate the effort. Indeed, I bet that Hitchens would be highly pleased that someone had expended so much time and energy to denounce him posthumously in the style that he had himself mastered, even if it took the author more than a year since Hitchens’s death to produce it. Concocted in the style of a 17th-century polemical pamphlet (a literary template favored by Hitchens), UnHitched purports to be an “extended political essay” that exposes its subject as, among other things, a “terrible liar,” “ouvrierist” (one of several words deployed by the overly earnest Seymour that will drive even more learned readers to the dictionary), a plagiarist, and, most unforgivable among Hitchens’s erstwhile friends and colleagues on the Anglo-American socialist left, “the George W. Bush administration’s amanuensis.” (Full disclosure: Hitchens was a friend, mentor, and neighbor of mine.)

Well, then, you shouldn’t be reviewing the book, should you? Or, if you want to do it on your own blog or something, that’s fine, but Newsweek shouldn’t be assigning this task to you.

Seriously, I stopped reading at that point. I have my suspicions about Seymour’s book, but I’d like to read an evaluation by someone who doesn’t have such an obvious dog in the fight.

about the author

Alan Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the author most recently of The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography.

Latest Articles