The first time I met Norman Lewis, the great intrepid traveler of our times was rubbing his hands together. He was already well into his 80s, but he was about to depart for a part of Irian Jaya where the last Western visitors—missionaries—had, he said, been eaten. "I can't wait to go and hear more about that great evangelical feast," he said, mixing, as he often did, drollness with real spirit.

When Lewis died last week at the age of 95, the world remembered him for the seamless polish of his prose, the quiet subversion of his deadpan...

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