The seven deadly sins of the academy
17 September 2009
By Matthew Reisz
Matthew Reisz and our seven guest contributors lift the lid on the rampant wickedness troubling the sanctity of our hallowed universities
When the historian David Starkey left the University of Cambridge in 1972, he told an interviewer that he "knew exactly how an ingrowing toenail felt". There was something deeply dispiriting, he said, about "the sense of introversion, of knowing everyone".
The inward-looking, incestuous atmosphere of university life has long made it a breeding ground for some of the canonical deadly sins. Take the description that the historian Edward Gibbon gave of the University of Oxford in the 1750s. He was taught - or, rather, not taught - by "decent ...