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Exactly 29 years ago today, at 11:00 p.m., John Lennon was shot four times in the back in front of the Dakota on 72nd Street by Mark Chapman, a deranged fan who had asked Lennon for his autograph some hours earlier. Lennon was taken to St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 40 years old.

Let’s remember him together:

Tomorrow, in my Conversations of the West class, I’ll be lecturing on love and friendship in Moby-Dick. I’ll be playing “Merry Xmas (War Is Over)” on the class’s final day.