Barry Humphries is a man of many parts. I know him through one of his less famous ones: that of bibliophile and connoisseur of late nineteenth-century ‘decadent’ literature. On 18 March he announced the final call for what is his most famous part. Dame Edna, the world was told, would retire from the stage. Possums mourned.
There is a photograph of Humphries in My Name Is Ross, in propria persona, at the author’s wedding on 5 November 1976. Fitzgerald records the wedding present: a copy of the two-volume OED, with the wry inscription ‘For Lyndal and Ross. In case you ever have “words”.’
The fellow Melburnians had