Michael Hunter reflects on the life of the late Roy Porter.
It is distressing to have to make a posthumous assessment of the intellectual attainments of a figure who, in the normal course of things, should have been with us for another two decades. What one will miss most about Roy Porter is his personality, his infectious, bubbling enthusiasm for any topic that he talked about, and his ability to enthuse even an audience of sullen undergraduates with a light-hearted lecture on a favourite theme. It will also seem strange no longer to be able to turn on the radio and hear his voice in one of the innumerable talk shows in which he participated. But it is a tribute to Roy that one is left in no doubt as to what his achievement was: his intellectual legacy is secure in the myriad of books he wrote or edited, and in his larger contribution to the intellectual scene.