Germs: A Memoir of Childhood, by Richard Wollheim

Alan Hollinghurst writes about Wollheim’s “complex and beautiful memoir of childhood” in The Guardian:

Im_wollheim The only time I met Richard Wollheim was at a dinner party given by one of his sons, who was an Oxford friend of mine. What I remember best about the occasion is the particular thing that had to be done before Wollheim arrived. Every scrap of newspaper had to be either thrown away or thoroughly concealed (not just tucked findably under a cushion): the mere sight of newsprint would make it impossible for him to eat his dinner. It sounded like an aversion formed in childhood that an adult would normally have overcome. But Wollheim, then in his 60s, a distinguished philosopher, professor at Berkeley, author of Art and Its Objects and On Art and the Mind, twice married, a father of three, had not overcome it. It was very striking that adult intellect and sensibility of such refinement should coexist with so unallayed a childhood horror. It must also, like the most exacting of allergies, have been a terrible nuisance. Life was so full of newspaper: how could he possibly avoid it?

More here.