Edward Said and Ben Sonnenberg mid-80s [Photo Alexander Cockburn]
I liked and admired Ben Sonnenberg [though can’t claim to be one of his many close friends, nor did I ever meet him]; a man whose mind encompassed [and published] Anne Carson, James Salter and Edward Said, who understood what money was for, someone who left his beautiful and brilliant Grand Street magazine as the model of a good mind at work.
This piece by Alexander Cockburn [here link updated Apr 2020. PDF added below] is a very warm remembrance of his friend Sonnenberg [1938-2010] following his memorial service in September, which I recommend to you:
“My favorite autobiographers in this century are Vladimir Nabokov, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin.” A paragraph later he cited “my friend Edward Said,” whose savage essay “Michael Walzer’s ‘Exodus and Revolution’ – a Canaanite Reading” Ben had published in Grand Street in 1986.”
You might also dig up Salter’s account of Sonnenberg in Burning the Days; his much-admired aplomb in general and in the face of MS. Cockburn quotes Sonnenberg taking an elegant lance to The New Republic mag in 1989; oh for “puckish” courage of that kind today.