August 21, 2003

Microcosmographia Academia

Ah. I've been looking for this for quite a while:

Cornford: Microcosmographia Academica BEING A GUIDE FOR THE YOUNG ACADEMIC POLITICIAN by F.M. CORNFORD. First published 1908: If you are young, do not read this book; it is not fit for you; If you are old, throw it away; you have nothing to learn from it; If you are unambitious, light the fire with it; you do not need its guidance. But, if you are neither less than twenty-five years old, nor more than thirty; And if you are ambitious withal, and your spirit hankers after academic politics; Read, and may your soul (if you have a soul) find mercy!

Posted by DeLong at August 21, 2003 03:28 PM | TrackBack


Brad - In case you are still looking to get this book, it is listed as available on the Blackwell's (UK) website at:

The book's ISBN is: 1870655109

Posted by: Bob on August 21, 2003 04:17 PM

Also, it clearly featured as an influence on at least one episode of the British TV series "Yes, Prime Minister", the one with the argument "nothing may ever be done for the first time".

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on August 21, 2003 05:47 PM

Great book. Very funny and startlingly relevant.

Posted by: John Isbell on August 22, 2003 10:04 AM

Wonderful stuff. I love this bit especially:

'The Principle of the Wedge is that you should not act justly now for fear of raising expectations that you may act still more justly in the future expectations which you are afraid you will not have the courage to satisfy.'

I've certainly seen that principle appealed to in meetings far more often that I'd like to admit.

Posted by: Tom Runnacles on August 24, 2003 01:14 PM
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