The most lavishly gifted Australian female of her generation, Germaine Greer was seemingly put on earth in order to scare the Australian males into silence. You need to have been there to know exactly how remarkable it was that the academic side of her intelligence should have emerged from a theatrical background that encompassed singing, dancing and everything else a normal revue star could do. But she was far from normal in the political sense. She was a rebel, and in many respects she still is: even when functioning as a don in the most august of learned institutions, her message to her students is the clarion call of libertarianism. When I first knew her she was having a love affair with Lord Byron, but nowadays the lucky man is more likely to be the Earl of Rochester. These flirtations with the aristocracy add up to a bit of a mystery, although she takes mercy on me and tries to make it clear.