A memory to share: I had the pleasure of teaching David in English 45A, and especially enjoyed his final paper on Paradise Lost. The last time I saw David was through a chance meeting near campus, a semester after our class had ended. He just lit up when we began talking, and I told him very honestly that ever since I had read his last paper, I hadn’t been able to read Book 1 of Paradise Lost without thinking of him. (And of course, he lit up some more. Beautiful eyes, beautiful boy.) In this paper, he had started with the prompt Prof. Goodman provided about the “potent rod of Amram’s son,” and went on in his incredibly perceptive way to think about the presence of Moses in Book 1 more broadly. I had always been intrigued by what seems like the undue attention to Satan’s feet. Of all the horrors of hell, why should we care about the pain awaiting “the sole/ Of unblest feet?” David unfolded his argument in his leisurely, confident style, and ever since then I’ve never been able to forget his insight: Satan, facing inextinguishable fires, finds his soles burning–so unlike Moses, who can approach the burning bush, barefoot and blessed.
I just can’t believe it. He will be missed.