It is a little disconcerting, although perhaps appropriate, gruesomely, to our atomised age, to learn of a friend's death via Wikipedia. I had not seen Stanley around the Library recently, and a month ago he was doing very poorly; he had been in hospital, and was sluggish of moment, suddenly his age—eighty-three—after years, presumably decades, of sprightliness. He said that he felt it was the end, but I thought this simply a figure of speech. He said he would come to dinner, sample my wife's cooking; but now that will have to wait. Neither the Times nor any of its competitors seem to have run an obituary, which saddens me. It is not mine to write here. But I will remember fondly his widescreen disdain for almost everything: for A. S. Byatt, 'the big armchair', for Iain Sinclair, who 'insists on starting all his sentences with 'And'', for a play, for a poem, for all the poseurs of today's avant-garde. I was touched that he always expressed a warmth for me, taking me by the arm when we parted. For the last two years, when I knew him, he spent his days doing not much of anything at the Library, just reading, whatever came to hand, under his enormous beard, free.