Sad to hear that Benedict Anderson has passed away. I always find it a little disconcerting hearing about academic deaths, in part because it always seems like recently one was skimming their books or papers. So they they always feel more present than say George Best or other athletes.
December has turned into Perry Anderson month for me. So I am trying to get through as much as I can before the term starts. On YouTube there is an interview with him and Harry Kreisler. Part of it concerns the Andersons' childhood, moving from China, California, London, then Ireland all at an early age. Consequently, he says the family always felt like outsiders and so had to turn to books from an early age. Over the summer holidays he and Benedict passed Gibbon's Decline and Fall back and forth. Plus many others. One hell of a formative experience I would imagine. Perry also says that he feels very embarrassed; whereas as he could speak 'all the European languages,' Benedict and Melanie, their sister, could do them plus could speak another 5 or 6 each.