Tony Judt: A Final Victory by Jennifer Homans | The New York Review of Books
The more he retreated the more public he became. His private life at home and with friends was his greatest comfort but it was also deeply sad: he couldn’t be the things he wanted to be and he was haunted and humiliated by his “old” self—what he called “the old Tony,” who was lost to him forever. There were other places that it was in some ways easier to be: portals to the world where he could find his way, at least momentarily, out of the bubble and back to himself. E-mail and the disembodied, virtual World Wide Web was one. Words and memory were the others. With the help of his family and friends and especially his extraordinary assistant, Eugene Rusyn, who had a way of effacing himself and could type at the speed of thought and speech, Tony could sit at the computer and we could act as his hands, typing his words and opening his view electronically out onto the world. And so he took on more and more writing, more and more e-mail and electronic interviews; anything where people could hear or read but not see. Thinking the Twentieth Century was part of that: a portal to the world.