Nov 3, 2006

Charismatic Professors

Still on-line is a superb review article, "The Nutty Professors," concerning a new book, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University, by William Clark, an academic historian from both American and European universities. The article, by Anthony Grafton, was published in the 10/23 edition of The New Yorker. This is just a quick note not to miss this article before it goes off-line or you throw away your print copy:

The review is full of interesting anecdotes about superstar professors from the nearly forgotten past and fascinating ideas about the ways and means of what Clark calls academic charisma. I think the whole subject is especially pertinent to the study of the career of Yvor Winters, a professor who had something "nutty" about him, even in the eyes of those who appreciate his art and thought deeply, and who so enjoyed disputation, so suffered the flabbergasted, repulsed scorn of academia, and so gloried in his bullheaded rebelliousness. It appears fairly clear to me that much in this history of the lure of "star" professors has direct bearing on the professor, poet, and man that Yvor Winters would become. I might offer some comments on passages from this article in the near future.

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