Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The shyness of scholars

In his essay 'The Shyness of Scholars', William Hazlitt wrote:

'That a life of privacy and obscurity should render its votaries bashful and awkward, or unfit them for the routine of society, from the want both of a habit of going into society and from ignorance of its usages, is obvious to remark.

The scholar, having to encounter doubts and difficulties on all hands, and indeed to apply by way of preference to those subjects which are most beset with mystery, becomes hesitating, sceptical, irresolute, absent, dull. All the processes of his mind are slow, cautious, circuitous, instead of being prompt, heedless, straightforward.'

It seems appropriate to insert the word 'ouch' here ...

Anyway, as a shy scholar I thought I might as well stop desperately swotting up on things I never quite know enough about and instead write about something on which I am, unfortunately, a leading authority:

And now I'm going to hide in this cupboard for a few days.

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