Bernard Lewis left Princeton University in 1986, forced out at the then-mandatory retirement age of 70. At his farewell party, Charles Issawi, who was also retiring from the department of Near Eastern studies, delivered some remarks. "There are five ages of professors," he said, "tireless, tiring, tiresome, tired, and retired; but for people like Bernard and me, retirement means a new set of tires and full speed ahead."
Issawi was right: Lewis isn't the retiring type. He has spent the years since then producing 16 books and countless articles, carried on his decades-long spat with Edward Said over the direction of scholarship on the Middle East, helped found a learned society to challenge "intellectual conformism" in the Middle East Studies Association, coined the idea of a "clash of civilizations," became an informal adviser to the George W. Bush administration, and according to some observers, provided the intellectual firepower for the war in Iraq. Oh, and not least: At the age of 80, Lewis fell in love again.
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