Sunday, November 16, 2014


What a Good Boy Am I!

Jacques Barzun (1907-2012), The House of Intellect (1959; rpt. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1963), p. 220:
The pedant is really not looking at the object, but going through the motions or technique he has learned. At bottom he is thinking about himself and the relation of his results to himself—'What a good boy am I!' Pedantry is affectation and pretense. The pedant uses knowledge to fashion himself a poultice against the world, to show off virtuosity, to remind himself and others of his industry and skill, and to ogle the reward for sitting in libraries when he might have been sitting in bars.

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