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Scholarship can be defined variously as the practice of academic research and teaching, as the character or qualities of the scholar, and as the body of knowledge resulting from study or research in a particular field.


  • A great scholar…is…not one who depends simply on an infinite memory, but also on an infinite and electrical power of combination; bringing together from the four winds, like the angel of the resurrection, what else were dust from dead men's bones, into the unity of breathing life.
    • Thomas De Quincey "Joan of Arc" (1847); De Quincey's Writings (Boston: Ticknor, Reed and Fields, 1850-60) vol. 3, p. 111.
  • And let a Scholler, all earths volumes carrie,
    He will be but a walking dictionarie.
    • George Chapman Euthymiae Raptus; or, The Tears of Peace (1609), line 530; Phyllis Brooks Bartlett (ed.) The Poems of George Chapman (London: Oxford University Press, 1941) p. 185.
  • Exquisita lectio singulorum, doctissimum; cauta electio meliorum, optimum facit.
    • Accurate reading on a wide range of subjects makes the scholar; careful selection of the better makes the saint.
    • John of Salisbury Policraticus Bk. 7, ch. 10; John Dickinson (trans.) The Statesman's Book of John of Salisbury ([1927] 1963). [2]
  • For if hevene be on this erthe, and ese to any soule,
    It is in cloistre or in scole.
  • Genitals are a great distraction to scholarship.
  • Morris read through the letter. Was it a shade too fulsome? No, that was another law of academic life: it is impossible to be excessive in flattery of one’s peers.
  • Scilicet ut vellem curvo dinoscere rectum
    atque inter silvas Academi quaerere verum.
    • So that, you know, I was eager to distinguish the straight from the crooked, and to hunt for truth in the groves of Academe.
    • Horace Epistles, Bk. II, Epistle ii, line 44; Horace (ed. and trans. H. Rushton Fairclough) Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (London: William Heinemann, 1939) p. 427.
  • Some on commission, some for the love of learning,
    Some because they have nothing better to do
    Or because they hope these walls of books will deaden
    The drumming of the demon in their ears.
    • Louis MacNeice "The British Museum Reading Room" (1941), line 4; E. R. Dodds (ed.) The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 161.
  • There mark what Ills the Scholar's Life assail,
    Toil, Envy, Want, the Garret, and the Jail.
  • True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exist, but what they mean; it is not memory but judgement.
  • We must distinguish between a man of polite learning and a meer schollar: the first is a gentleman and what a gentleman should be; the last is a meer bookcase, a bundle of letters, a head stufft with the jargon of languages, a man that understands every body but is understood by no body.
    • Daniel Defoe The Compleat English Gentleman, ch. 5; James T. Boulton (ed.) Selected Writings of Daniel Defoe (London: Cambridge University Press, 1975) p. 255.

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