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John Jay Chapman

I've just read a fine essay by Christopher Reid about the journalist/essayist John Jay Chapman (1862-1933).

Here's the link, if you would also like to dip into it.

And here's a link to one of Chapman's essays, Professorial Ethics (1910).

In that essay, Chapman writes that the type of men who become the presidents of colleges are those who, a rule, began life with ambitions in scholarship, "but their talents for affairs have been developed at the expense of their taste for learning, and they have become hard men. As towards their faculties they have been autocrats, because the age has demanded autocracy here; as toward the millionaire they have been sycophants, because the age has demanded sycophancy here."

Nowadays the word "millionaire" doesn't work well in this context. A million won't go as far in buying sycophants as once it did. Billionaires, though? Make that change and the passage likely still works fine.
Chapman certainly shared my admiration for William James. He wrote this essay on him.
Here's a nice line from it. "the center and focus of his thought fell within his nature, but not within his intellect. You were thus played upon by a logic which was not the logic of intellect, but a far deeper thing, limpid and clear in itself, confused and refractory only when you tried to deal with it intellectually."
Enough random quoting for the day....


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