Scholars in all fields continue to gain preferment because they are “productive” (the academic euphemism for obsessive), and students continue to emulate them. Future investment bankers pull all-nighters delving into subjects that they will never need to know about again, and years later, at reunions, they recall the intensity of the experience with something close to disbelief–and, often, passionate nostalgia. The university has never been a sleek, efficient corporation. It’s more like the military, an organization at once radically modern and steeped in color and tradition. And it’s not at all easy to say how much of the mystique could be stripped away without harming the whole institution. —Anthony Grafton reviews Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University by William Clark. —The Nutty Professors: The history of academic charisma. (New Yorker)
I was sick in bed with a virus on Saturday and most of Sunday, so I spent Monday and Tuesday of fall break marking papers (he said feverishly).
So I’m in one of those moods when I feel nostalgic for grad school, where my only responsibility was to do the readings, talk about them in class, and write term papers.