I remember the first time I saw him after arriving in Berkeley. I was walking on Shattuck Ave, with Wendy Lesser, who I had met in one of my first graduate classes, and who was soon to become the editor of the literary journal, The Threepenny Review, and my best friend to this day. Lenny was helping her get her start in San Francisco publishing. He saw us, walked up, and began conferring with Wendy about her most recent editorial project. He was striking, personal and immediately present, without any nod to social transitions.
I realized I had seen him a few years before, during a visit to my then boyfriend, Rob, who was taking a summer course in Shakespeare at Berkeley, taught by the memorable Leonard Michaels. Seeing him that day on Shattuck Ave with Wendy, I immediately recognized the high cheekbones, angular, lounging grace, deep New York voice, and heard again its particular timbre as he stood in front of Rob’s class, excavating the complexities of Antony and Cleopatra.
Rob had many virtues, but writing about Shakespeare was not among them. So, when he was assigned a paper, I wrote five pages on Enobarbus, the great aesthetic and analytical eye of the play. Three days later, Rob brought the paper home, with a big fat “A” on it—and a comment by Lenny, “You are right about Enobarbus.”