Mel Pollner Eulogies
Mel Pollner

November 12, 2007
Bruce Henstell

I am profoundly saddened. My time with Mel in his various classes was the most rewarding and enjoyable experience of my second career as a graduate student. When I decided to return to grad school, I asked somebody at a cocktail party who then teaching at UCLA was interesting, it having been a long time since I had last tested the currents on campus. The response was Mel Pollner. I invited myself into his office and immediately decided to stay. What he was teaching, epos, was obscure to me. But if someone of his obvious intelligence, humor and sensibility was interested in it, it was plenty good enough for me.

I spent so much time with him and enjoyed talking with him in his office and in class so much that I felt a little guilty. Surely he had much more important things to do and much brighter students than me. But I never for a moment felt he didn't find whatever I had to say perfectly fascinating and that there wasn't somewhere else he'd rather be at that moment.

Mel agreed to be my outside committee member. I couldn't have finished without him. I've been lucky enough to have had a one or two great teachers, and to have met a very few thinkers whose depth truly amazed me. Mel was one. At least half a dozen times a year, each year since leaving, I've encountered some story or event or set of circumstances and thought to myself: Mel Pollner would really find that interesting. An analysis, from Mel's point of view, really makes it understandable. Thank you Mel.