My first introduction to Stephen Fry was through the various iterations of General Melchett throughout the four seasons of the BBC’s Blackadder. My awareness of him as a public personality beyond his acting must have been through beginning to watch QI with my siblings, originally because there was absolutely nothing else to watch at my grandmother's house, and soon after because there was something about Fry that we had never encountered before.
The reason Stephen Fry must have felt as unique and as alien as he did to us is because he was so unassuming in his charisma. He used his intelligence confidently but not arrogantly. In my later teenage years as I began to have control over my extra-curricular reading, I bought his retellings of the Greek myths, Mythos, Heroes, and Troy, which led me to buying his three autobiographies.
Fry’s sharp wit in QI, his performances, and segments of his writing in More Fool Me, which I believe to be his most emotive autobiography, have cemented themselves in my mental framework surrounding writing and culture.
Fry wrote in a diary extract quoted in More Fool Me, “There is no point in being shiny, attractive, intelligent and young unless you beam it out, whatever your gender, to those older than you.” (312) He continues in a later diary entry, “I told them that there was nothing on earth less appealing than a young person putting on a hard cynical face and trying to look as if they saw through everything and knew the world for what it was.” (348) Throughout my academic and professional career, Fry’s conception to personal and creative success has motivated and comforted me.
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