Lessons from the Past, or How to Succeed in the University World without Really Trying

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To every historian there comes, soon or late, the strong desire to desert the exact documentation and cautious phraseology that his craft and the zealous eyes of his colleagues oblige him to use. The occasional urge to soar above the footnotes and address a larger audience must come to us all. Moreover, a certain catharsis is obtained by ceasing to be solemn about history and discharging the collection of irrelevant anecdotes, random thoughts, and unsuitable stories that pile up in the course of research. However, this desirable end implies a requirement to be amusing, difficult indeed for the historian who is apt to be too serious about the human antics his work turns up. This, then, is a hazardous enterprise, but I persevere buoyed up by the thought that the catharsis will benefit the historian, at least, if not the reader.1

In the course of a decade of research, I have been constantly struck with how little academic life has changed. Most universities, even an American, Mormon university in the twentieth century, resemble to a discouraging degree the university of two centuries gone. This parallel leads me to think that we have a good deal to learn from the University of Salamanca, which, after all, had already been in business five centuries by the middle of the eighteenth century. This institution had survived royal reform, the Inquisition, invasion, war, and even the rule of its own students. Since all of us (even those over forty) were once students and did not spring forth full-armed from the brow of Zeus, let us begin by examining some similarities in student life.

Similarities in Student Life

It is a commonplace nowadays to lament the decline of student manners and morals; to draw alarming conclusions about Berkeley rioters, acid heads, and bikini-clad teeny boppers; and to lament the good old days (say just after World War II) characterized by hard work, frugality, and propriety. I am sure every dean of men has his moments of quiet desperation, but it may help our prospective to consider the problems of a Salamanca dean. Principally, he had to worry about riots. Female undergarments played no part. Rather, these riots were regional rows which, at best, ended in broken heads and at worst in five or six dead and the total dislocation of the university. BYU campus bishops have problems, but I am reasonably certain that they have never been driven back from Helaman Halls by musket fire as they approached to do home teaching. This was the unfortunate experience of the Bishop of Salamanca when he attempted to preach to the students on one occasion.

We legislate on the length of the eating knives and try to outlaw swords, daggers, pistols, and muskets and to stop the more affluent students from housing packs of hounds in the halls. The presence of women in a place supposedly given over to the Muses has made problems in modern universities, but it has also distracted the male student from the wholehearted pursuit of mayhem to slightly more constructive channels. However, life cannot be one continual riot, even at the University of California, and the same was true at Salamanca where the students, like ours, gave most of their attention to their daily affairs.

The Salamacan undergraduate worried about passing, about finding lodging in an intensely crowded town, about remittances from home. He complained vigorously about the food on nearly all occasions. With perhaps some literary exaggeration, one complained of boarding-house cheese cut as thin as a spider’s web that followed a soup so watery that the smallest louse that fell out of the tutor’s sleeve as he served could be seen on the bottom of the pot. The dessert at this meal consisted of six grapes, and the wine was watered vinegar. Even then the scholarship students seemed to get the better of their counterparts. One of the cherished prerogatives of a fellowship was the surety of receiving a pound of meat, two pounds of bread, a measure of wine, and a small sum for the purchase of greens and sweets every day.

The Undergraduate

The Salamancan undergraduate woke in his crowded garret or in his relatively sumptuous college room, and found his way to the cavernous cold of the university where the old lecture hails were, and remain, absolutely unheated. There, in the gloom of early morning (8:00 in winter, 7:00 in summer) he found a seat on a plank bench about four inches wide, rested his book and perhaps his head on a desk the same width, and waited for the professor to enter, mount a dais raised four or five feet and covered with a canopy, take his seat upon a cushioned chair, and begin. Lectures lasted for an hour, were delivered entirely in Latin and from memory. Professors were strenuously forbidden to use notes or to “dictate” to their students. At the end of the hour, the professor took his post outside the door of the classroom to answer questions and resolve difficulties.

Like us, Salamancan students attended lectures five days a week. Thursday and Sunday were holidays, but the weekend trip home was out because Thursday and Sunday mornings, after Mass, were occupied with scholastic disputations. The proposal and public disputation of theses were perhaps the major intellectual exercise of the university. Our master’s and doctor’s orals are the mere withered remnants of these exercises. To cite only one example, the candidate for the doctorate in theology at the University of Alcal had to sustain theses in eight separate disputes, arguing in each with twelve doctors and three advanced bachelors for as long as nine hours.

But these strenuosities were dealt with in the same way as ingenious undergraduates deal with them today. The pony or chuleta (the chop), as the Spanish would say, reached a state of development by the eighteenth century that must have been truly astonishing. I have not seen any chuletas, but one admiringly horrified description speaks of a hundred-page booklet that provided the user with ready-made theses and arguments for all the major points of the civil law.

Social Life

But what happened when studies were done or, as was and is more common, ignored for the moment. Here the student faced a formidable set of don’ts. He was forbidden to fence, play ball, play cards or dice, sing worldly songs or play the guitar. He could go out for a stroll with his companion, buy sweetmeats (if he had the money), or go bathe in the river provided he had a medical certificate. As a matter of fact, what he frequently did do was to fence, play ball, play at cards and dice, sing worldly songs accompanied by the guitar, and go out at night to serenade some of the local swingers in what was called the “street of the inksellers.”

Occasionally, a group of strolling players came to Salamanca, causing almost as much concern to the faculty as a rise in the price of bread. Both events tended to overexcite the students. The presence of these godless mummers was regarded as a threat to student morals and a distraction from studies. The university sought to provide a constructive alternative by sponsoring various highbrow productions in Latin designed to help the student master the language and to better his classical culture. Alas, these productions were just not box-office, and students seemed to prefer the noneducational performance.

One pair of enterprising students, who somehow managed to get to a non-Latin performance, invited two ladies of the touring company to their college for chocolate and conversation. The vice-rector of the college got wind of the project and locked the main door in the nick of time. Persisting in the face of difficulties, the ingenious students tried to bring the girls in through a window. But the barred windows showed that Salamancan blacksmiths had been dealing with that sort of thing for centuries, and the whole project ended in frustration and the arrival of the watch.

The campus police chief and his sturdy men are not new on the academic scene. The recognition that with college students sweet reason occasionally needs to be supplemented with a more forcible argument was well diffused at Salamanca. The master of the schools, charged with watching over the academic jurisdiction, had a judge to sit on student cases and an alguacil who with his men, armed with lanterns, staves, swords and bucklers, pistols and occasionally muskets, nightly made the rounds of the town to apprehend the erring student. But there was escape. The student Fort Lauderdale of Salamanca was the nearby town of Tejares, whither the students repaired in the spring to relax their tensions. The wealthier colleges maintained “summer homes” there, and the local town girls were apparently willing to assist in dancing the “burra,” which seems to have been a sort of eighteenth-century twist. However, even Tejares had its spoilsports. The local alcalde, on one occasion, attempted to intervene and stop the dancing at midnight only to be pelted with wine jars and to have his staff of office broken.

Unfortunately for the students, the alcalde complained to the Bishop of Salamanca, an austere man who had inconvenient ideas about plain living and high thinking and who was at that moment engaged, by royal commission, in reforming the colleges. (Incidentally, this last task of Sisyphus had about the same success as the abolishing of fraternities or social units would or has.) Anyway, the Bishop was a powerful and determined man, and the erring students were confined to quarters pending the resolution of the Council of Castile. However, one student, who must be at least the spiritual ancestor of Mario Savio, broke confinement, persuaded one of the girls from Tejares to fly with him, and they eloped on mule-back toward the Portuguese frontier. It was one thing to defy a Bishop, but it was another to defy the Council of Castile. The hue and cry was raised, the couple captured at Zamora, the girl hustled off to a convent, and the student returned to the student jail at Salamanca, where the last glimpse the documents give us shows him languishing in irons awaiting his trial.

Graduate Examinations

For the student who undertook graduate study, there was the long grind of disputations and the hazard of the final examination. At Salamanca, this dreaded rite occurred at night in the Chapel of Santa Barbara, commencing about eight o’clock and lasting until the eight junior doctors of the candidate’s faculty and anyone else who cared to argue had been satisfied. However, about midnight, the examination adjourned for a supper at the candidate’s expense. Intelligent candidates soon discovered that even full professors, who are also full of trout and turbot, eel, hake, and shellfish, turkey, peacock, pigeon, roast lamb and beef, ham and sausages, with vegetables and salad on the side, four kinds of wine, coffee, chocolate, five desserts, and unspecified appetizers, are somewhat sleepy and perhaps not as persistent in examination as they might otherwise be. One, of course, ran the risk of the occasional case of indigestion which might somewhat acidify the questioning after supper.

Commencement Exercises

This examination passed, the candidate was ready to take his doctorate. It is at this point that I venture to draw my first clear case as to how we can learn from Salamanca. One occasionally becomes aware of a certain thinness in the ranks of our faculty at commencements. This was no problem at Salamanca where the degree-granting ceremony was attended assiduously. Why? In the first place, there was no speaker. Very sensibly the Spanish, even now, defer the inspirational talks to the fall when some mental activity has been restored to professors and students by a summer away from each other. Moreover, Salamancan graduations were with pomp—not our shamefaced, democratically bobtailed procession, but a splendidly full-blown, monarchical parade with bands and uniformed university retainers. The professors rode on horseback, accompanied by pages carrying their academic insignia and coats of arms. Moreover, the parade ended not at a speech but at a banquet for the faculty—at the graduates’ expense. By university statute, no less than twelve courses, not counting appetizers or desserts, could be served. At the end of the banquet, the faculty received their graduation fees: boxes of sugar, jugs of wine, quantities of candy, and live chickens were apportioned according to rank and passed out. This was splendid but not the end, for the next day another procession took the candidates and the faculty to the Cathedral where in a magnificent ceremony the candidates received their degrees, each doctor getting his insignia of cap, cape, ring, gloves and book to the accompaniment of trumpet flourishes and the roll of the kettledrum. On this occasion, the faculty collected presents of gloves and a cash gratuity. In procession, again, all went to the town square where a bullfight with at least twelve bulls (at the candidates’ expense) beguiled the afternoon. The faculty sat together and received refreshments and darts to throw at the bulls. The evening concluded with fireworks. When the new doctor finished this ceremony (and finished paying for it) he knew that he had been graduated.

Such hi-jinks, however, were considered unsuitable for the graduation of the grave doctors of theology. In this faculty, the processions, gifts, and degree-granting ceremony were held, but instead of the bullfight the graduate was subjected to a thorough and sometimes cruel baiting, called a gallo, in which he was unmercifully ridiculed and satirized. Let one anecdote suffice to demonstrate. A certain candidate of poetic pretetions had published, in a moment of excess, a work in which he apostrophized the burro, noble because his race had borne the Savior, and ended by wishing that he, too, might be an ass if he could bear his Lord. How terribly exposed we are once we are in print! In the ceremony, his tormentor added a verse to the effect that his wishes had been immediately realized when his colleagues chose him to carry the consecrated Host in the next convent procession.

Faculty Problems

But what of the worries of Salamancan professors? Some of them have a familiar air, indeed. At Salamanca they had, as some modern universities do, the student evaluation of professors. To get a job or to keep one, the aspiring Salamancan professor had to face an opposition. When a chair was open, the hopeful candidates were assigned by lot a text and given twenty-four hours to prepare and memorize a Latin lecture on it. The lecture, delivered before the students of the class, ended in a vote, and he who got the most votes got the chair. Junior professors had to “defend” their chairs every two to six years in the same fashion and frequently against their own students.

The system had its faults. The complaints about it show that some things have not changed much. There was the professor who was careful to pass all students. There were those who complained that their colleagues watered down the subject or gave extra lessons to make themselves more popular, and there were outcries about the barefaced fellow who simply treated his students at the wine shop. Of far greater moment was the allegation that the opposition placed a heavy premium on memory, oratorical powers, and tricks of showy erudition. Students were then as they are now: too frequently impressed with the wrong thing. Profound knowledge was often a positive handicap. More sinister, still, was the frequent degeneration of the voting into a mere riot, as the student partisans of the teachers fought it out with false votes and daggers.

In the end, the system caused so much trouble that the crown abolished student voting and had the professorships filled by the vote of the royal council. This cooled off the Salamancan rioters but also froze out all the professors who lacked influence at court. The august Council of Castile was concerned with the wrong things, too, and was far too impressed by family connection, membership in the right college, or the patronage of some powerful churchman. In the eighteenth century, the crown tried to give merit greater play by having faculty committees sit as judges on the oppositions and forward their opinions to Madrid for final interpretation. But Salamancan professors were even more wary of being judged by their colleagues than by their students. The amount of maneuvering to see who got on whose committee and the attempts to influence the committee reached really horrifying proportions.

Faculty Incentives

One may well ask what incentives compelled men to stick with academic life in the face of these harassments. There were many, of course. One of the most compelling was the possibility of acquiring at long last a proprietary chair, and thus securing what we call tenure. After this, there were no oppositions and one held his chair for life. After twenty years of teaching, retirement at about two-thirds salary was possible. Perhaps the most attractive feature was a unique salary structure that gave to the Salamancan proprietary professor a salary superior in purchasing power to that enjoyed by most American academics today. In essence, the full professors at Salamanca divided among themselves one-half the university’s net income. The balance went to the other professors, the staff, maintenance of buildings, and other expenses. Hence, it was worth hanging on. Moreover, once one had obtained a chair, the Council had the comfortable habit of promoting in seniority so that little special effort, beyond keeping one’s nose clean, was needed to go up the ladder. It was getting on the escalator in the first place that was a difficult proposition, especially for the unfortunate who were without influence. In the 1750s one pathetic oppositor appealed to the King that he had entered thirty-six successive oppositions and had never gotten higher than fifteenth place.

There was another compensation. Salamanca was a faculty-run institution. There was a student-elected rector, but since he held office for only a year he was usually blanketed out by the more experienced faculty who knew where the bodies were buried. There were, of course, detailed regulations and occasionally careful supervision by the Spanish crown. But in day-to-day matters, the assembly of professors and doctors ran the university. Indeed, a faculty with so many lawyers and theologians found it easy to use the extremely detailed statutes of the crown for its own purposes. While the ministers at Madrid puzzled their way through a hair-splitting casuist case in which royal statutes were pitted against each other, against the papal constitutions, finally balanced by an appeal to practice and custom, the university frequently went ahead and did as it pleased.

Faculty Members

A faculty-run institution meant frequent and long meetings and many committees. In the course of reading sixty-eight volumes of the minutes of the Salamancan faculty, I gradually became acquainted with a good many Salamancan professors. Bit by bit something of their personalities, their quirks and desires began to emerge. Perhaps some quick sketches of eighteenth-century Spanish academics would be interesting to their twentieth-century American counterparts.

First, let me introduce the undoubted star of the faculty, Doctor Don Diego Torres Villarroel, professor of mathematics and astronomy, sometime dancer, quack doctor, bullfighter, and full-time astrologer. Torres kept his colleagues on the run for nearly thirty years. He led the potters of Salamanca in holding a mock graduation ceremony in which the “doctors” rode on asses clothed in gaudy rags; and he poked unmerciful fun, in print, especially at the medical faculty whom he cordially detested. He shared Brigham Young’s views about “poison doctors.” This faculty, in turn, had a good many words to say against astrological medicine. Torres published a highly successful almanac full of astrological predictions, wise saws, and sometimes mordant satire. He was fortunate enough to predict correctly the death of the briefly reigning Luis I, and this made him as an astrologer. His literary gifts got him an entree at court, and he shrewdly used this connection to push for more mathematics and scientific teaching at Salamanca. He also shrewdly pushed himself and his nephews, who successively occupied his chair after Torres’ retirement and later death. The “gran piscator de Salamanca,” as he called himself, fought all his life to increase the influence of mathematics and science in a university dominated by law and theology. But I personally think that he did it mostly to annoy his stuffier colleagues, and he certainly succeeded.

Torres’ arch enemy was a solemn theologian named Manuel Ribera. Precise, pious, and prudish, Ribera found the jokes and conceits of Torres completely out of place in the grave and learned group to which they both belonged. His triumph when he discovered that Torres had published a book on geography that confounded New Zealand with Novaya Zemlya can be detected at two centuries’ remove. One can practically see his jowls quivering in delicious indignation when he denounced Torres for the “obscenity” of the uncovered breasts of the allegorical figures on the frontispiece of the geography.

Then there was the faculty member who attended every meeting and who religiously spoke on every conceivable subject on every possible occasion: student morals, financial problems, relations with the town, the library, buildings, and all alike were grist to his oratorical mill. This loquacious Spaniard bore the peculiar name of Juan Lince. After awhile it dawned on me that Juan was entitled to his blarney because his real name was John Lynch and he was an Irishman.

The academic activist and adviser to governments was not unknown in the eighteenth century. Patricio Cortes, or Patrick Curtis, became professor of astronomy and natural history in the 1790s. He was also rector of the Irish College for many years. Excitement and danger came into his academic life during the Napoleonic invasion. Curtis, in spite of his Irish antecedents, became the head of Wellington’s intelligence apparatus in western Spain. Wellington found his information invaluable and said so many times. Unfortunately, the French detected him and he was arrested as a spy in 1811. Somehow he escaped punishment and entertained Wellington under his own roof when the British arrived at Salamanca in 1812. Since the British were shortly forced to retire toward the Portuguese frontier, the next period of his life must have been anything but academic.

Academic Freedom

Another professor, whose life was not exactly calm, was Ramón Salas, professor of civil law and director of the “Academy of Practice” of the Salamancan law school. This academy was intended to function as a kind of moot court to give students practice in preparing and pleading cases. Salas turned it into sort of a free forum, and like other free forums of more recent memory, it started a lot of excitement. Salas encouraged his students to examine the morality of the legal system, especially the use of torture and cruel punishments. They even debated taxation and trade policy. As one scandalized colleague put it, he allowed “profane minds to penetrate even to the most hidden corner of the cabinet of the prince.” As the threat of the French Revolution contracted the limits of academic freedom at Salamanca, Salas began to run into trouble. He was quietly promoted and his academy just as quietly converted to its original purpose, but Salas refused to be silenced. He read Rousseau and circulated anonymous manuscripts attacking government policy. These manuscripts, carried all over western and central Spain by Salamancan students, inevitably attracted the attention of the Inquisition. Moreover, five of Salas’ colleagues (all theologians), following the accumulation of extrajudicial information, as they delicately put it, had denounced him to the inquisitors as a corrupter of youth. This decided the issue. In April, 1796, the order was given for Salas’ arrest. What followed (unlike most professorial brushes with the Inquisition) has certain comic aspects. Don Ramón somehow got wind of the order for his arrest and immediately took horse, fleeing Salamanca in hot haste. Alas, Salas was no cavalier. A short, pudgy man, he suffered excruciatingly from the hemorrhoids and his flight ended in collapse in an inn in Madrid. Salas’ escape, however, probably served a useful purpose. It enabled him to warn highly-placed friends at Madrid who probably covered themselves and helped him. The details of Salas’ trial are obscure, but he was allowed to abjure de levi and let off with a caution and a year of spiritual exercises in a Franciscan convent. The university kept him on the payroll through his trouble and on half-salary until 1808.

Faculty Achievement

Far less dramatic but probably more effective in many ways were the lives of professors who quietly read, taught, and wrote, and who thus succeeded in profoundly influencing successive generations of students. One may take as an example Bernardo Zamora, professor of Greek. In the 1750s he began a lone and laborious attempt to upgrade Greek scholarship and interest in classical studies generally. He produced a Greek grammar, comparable to any contemporary text, which was used for decades in Spain. Perhaps more important, he acquired books in great numbers, freely acquainted his students with them, and in the course of twenty years introduced much of the new taste of the Enlightenment in classical studies, letters, arts and sciences to Salamanca.

There was Dr. Zunzunegui, professor of anatomy, who, blocked by local hospital officials from obtaining cadavers, turned to dogs, oxen, and, at considerable risk, obtained the bodies of exposed infants who were commonly left in the churches. Zunzunegui quietly introduced the latest techniques of dissection and made some considerable contribution. For two decades, he conducted forty anatomical dissections or demonstrations a year.

But, of course, the Salamancan faculty had, as every institution has, its time-servers, its obscurantists, its fossilized academics. There was Dr. Ocampo, arch foe of Salas, who denounced his colleague to the Inquisition for “false and temerarious opinions” and “speaking lightly of established powers and revealed truths.” There was the Salamancan curriculum committee which found the chair of algebra “useless” with an insufficient number of students to justify its inclusion in the curriculum. However, modern academics might feel more sympathy for the backward faculty committee that tried to block the construction of an expensive medical and physics laboratory in order to use the money for higher faculty salaries.

There was another faculty committee that, investigating instruction at the university, complained that new-fangled ideas had caused the decay of studies in Latin and scholastic logic and without these disciplines the students acquired a mental laxity that gradually led to an equal looseness of manners and morals. They maintained:

Students show a disorder of customs and a liberty of thought that is pitiful and foreshadows misfortune for church and state. They lack modesty of dress required by ancient custom. The wearing of pantaloons, headkerchiefs, long hair, and other equally ridiculous and extravagant fashions are usual even in the youngest. Students are impudent in the street and irreverent in church. It is known that they circulate books and papers which are impious, obscene, and difficult of acquisition.

Faculty Government

What was the record of faculty government at Salamanca? It must be said that it was astonishingly inefficient at times and always slow. Since it was committee government, it had all the faults of indecisiveness, unnecessary compromise, and diffusion of effort that commonly afflict committees. Occasionally, the Salamancan faculty was paralyzed by powerful vested interests and became, in consequence, both corrupt and oppressive. But on balance, the scheme of faculty government had one supreme virtue. It fostered a spirit of corporate identity among the faculty that survived through the centuries. On the banks of the Tormes, students, rectors, and royal officials came and went. The faculty was always there. They developed a cohesion and a sense of identity that was immensely strong. True, that corporate spirit could be and all too frequently was oppressive as it forced conformity. But it could also foster innovation and creativity, and when this happened the university bloomed and grew.

However, faculty government was profoundly troubled by another problem that disrupted the university generally. As the influence of the Enlightenment increased and as new ideas and new methods came to the university, the partisans of Spanish tradition came to resist change with tenacity and mounting passion. For their part, the liberals, doctrinaire, younger, and impatient for power, could not conceal their eagerness to introduce new plans and ideas, or their delight in levering their seniors out of the places of power and influence. There came to exist, then, a polarization not only of ideas but of generations. The university suffered intense internal tension that spoiled its unity and distracted its attention from learning. The embattled conservatives resorted, as we have seen, to denunciations and the gathering of extrajudicial information on the lives and ideas of their colleagues. The liberals took up invective, secret pamphleteering, and meditated plans for the future. Both sides apparently sought to woo the students, and thus brought youthful passion into a situation that was already explosive.

Left to itself, I believe the university would have worked its way through its difficulties; and indeed, by 1807, the liberals had achieved a notable triumph. In the plan of studies presented in that year, the university was really converted from a stronghold of theology and law into an institution emphasizing science, medicine, and philosophy.

It was the great tragedy of the university that at this critical moment its internal affairs became tangled with the tragic and poignant crisis of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. On November 9, 1807, 20,000 French troops entered Salamanca, ostensibly on their way to invade Portugal. By the next spring, Godoy had fallen, the students at Salamanca were taking up arms, and the university closed its classrooms.

Thus, the plan of 1807 was never fully tried, and the chance of further adaptation to the Enlightenment perished in the War of Independence. In the course of the war, the university lost its revenues, some of its buildings were destroyed, and its faculty were scattered or confronted with the crushing choice of following the banner of obscurantist patriotism or enlightened and progressive treason. The unity and continuity of the university, the precious corporate spirit of the faculty, were irretrievably shattered.

Conclusion

This was the fate of the University of Salamanca. But, unwisely for a historian, I have said that we may learn something from it. Historians frequently complain that most people do not really try to understand history; they merely quarry it, seeking a few stones to construct their own particular edifice according to a preconceived notion. I have done this myself, yet I hope with some propriety. In all modesty I offer up my conclusions:

(1) The heart of any university is its faculty. You may have an awfully big log and 20,000 Mark Hopkinses, but the catalyst is the guy who sits on the other end of the log.

(2) A faculty becomes great by thinking, writing, and teaching. The best way to stimulate these actions is not to interrupt them.

(3) The chance to think, write, and teach without interruption will, in the long run, attract good men, especially if they have security and good pay.

(4) Do not worry about building tradition. Just stay alive and tradition will come. When it does, the chances are that fifty percent of it will be harmful or dangerous, but there is no way of telling in advance the good from the bad.

(5) Professors and classes tend to become fossilized, like everything else. The real task of a curriculum committee should be not to keep down the number of new courses. Rather, it ought regularly to throw out the old ones.

(6) Students can distinguish the professor who is witty, well organized, and has a good presence. They can detect fakery and bombast in a few minutes. But they cannot, for the most part, discern originality and profound learning.

(7) A faculty member may choose to try to influence society at large, his colleagues, or his students. The latter course is the slowest, but probably the surest and most far-reaching. The problem is how to get them to pay attention to you.

This last, the most profound mystery of our craft, I cannot pretend to illuminate. The student of Salamanca or the student at any university goes his own way—he listeth where he willeth—takes what he wants, or what he can get, and leaves to lament, in his turn, the willful ways of youth. Such is the mystery of learning. Perhaps that is one of the things that make the whole business so fascinating.

About the author(s)

Dr. Addy is professor of history at Brigham Young University.

Notes

1. Readers interested in documentation are referred to George M. Addy, The Enlightenment in the University of Salamanca (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1966).

 

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