Lisa Jardine’s Bronowski Moment

Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London and Honorary Fellow of King’s College Cambridge was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s “Devout Sceptic” programme yesterday. An interesting person – atheistic, brought up in an orthodox Jewish extended family, though her parents were also atheistic intellectuals, but with a love of rousing Christian hymns, at funerals, including her own – Jerusalem, I Vowe to Thee, etc. (I have a soft spot for Jerusalem too, it was my old school hymn, and indeed is that of my sons’ school.)

Lisa mentioned an epiphany moment in her life, seeing Dr Jacob Bronowksi pick up that handful of human ash mud near the gates of Auschwitz, speechless with emotion in the closing scene of one programme from his Ascent of Man series. I mention that same moment as a formative experience of mine, and apparently it was voted one of the top 50 moments in TV (though I wasn’t aware of that until yesterday.)

The late Jacob Bronowski was hero of mine. He was Lisa’s father.

(Excellent Bronowksi site by Stephen Moss … Bruno was a polymath, a geometer and a poet specifically. Interesting aspect of mysticism where art met science in the quote from his wife Rita Jardine, shortly after they had first met, whilst he was posing for her to sculpt … [QUOTE] Like many people he thought of Blake as an eccentric and a mystical, otherworldly character. At this reading he had sudden insight into the heart of the man, whom he saw to be a true man of his time, a real revolutionary. Bruno rushed off to research the newspapers of the time and wrote a breakthrough book called William Blake, A Man without a Mask which has had a strong effect on the manner in which William Blake is viewed today. [UNQUOTE]

[Post Note: Lisa was creating the definitive biography of her father but sadly died on 25th October 2015 before it could be completed.]

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