May 14, 2004

Intellectuals in Britain and France

In response to recent posts on elite anti-intellectualism and French literature, Dave Long emailed:

A footnote from a mathematics book which would not have been mistitled as "The Joy of x"*:

In Anglo-Saxon countries, the word 'intellectual' ... is, in fact, an insult, even among intellectuals. In British society, clever men waste a great deal of time pretending to be stupid. (In France the situation is reversed.)

* T.W. Körner, The Pleasures of Counting.

Here is a link to the very page (293) via amazon's helpful "search inside this book" feature, which may work for you (or not, I don't know if such links are durable... )

Tom Körner's home page is here.

And I hope Körner meant to imply that on both sides of the channel, clever women are too intelligent to waste their time in any sort of pretense :-).

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 14, 2004 05:58 AM