Friday, 13 September 2013

important scholarly considerations

From Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith:

It was the lowest form of work in the academic hierarchy, made all the more difficult by the tendency of Professor Vogelsang to publish papers based almost entirely on von Iglefeld’s work, but under the Vogelsang name and with no mention made of von Igelfeld’s contribution. In one case — which eventually prompted von Igelfeld to protest (in the gentlest, most indirect terms) — Vogelsang took a paper which von Igelfeld asked him to read and immediately published it under his own name. So brazen was this conduct that von Igelfeld felt moved to draw his superior’s attention to the fact that he had been hoping to submit the paper to a learned journal himself.

‘I can’t see why you are objecting,’ said Vogelsang haughtily. ‘The paper will achieve a far wider readership under my name than under the name of an unknown. Surely these scholarly considerations are more important than mere personal vanity?’

As he often did, Vogelsang had managed to shift the grounds of argument to make von Igelfeld feel guilty for making a perfectly reasonable point. It was a technique which von Igelfeld had himself used on many occasions, but which he was to perfect in the year of his assistantship with Professor Vogelsang.