I’m stuck in bed with a stinking cold but am greatly cheered by (a) news of the latest arrests at The Sun (a newspaper) and (b) Adam Sisman’s biography of Hugh Trevor-Roper. I’ve just go the the point where Roper, having failed to get an All Souls Fellowship, has had to console himself with the status of a mere graduate student. He is unimpressed by the supervisor assigned to him, who is profiled by Sisman thus:
Canon Claude Jenkins, then in his sixtieth year, had been Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History since 1934. He was an Oxford eccentric, who dressed in a low-crowned hat and antiquated clerical garb, collected cigar butts to smoke later, and surreptitiously pocketed fingers of toast from the breakfast table. Piles of books on both sides of the steps up to his rooms left only a narrow corridor for visitors to ascend, before they squeezed into a study so stuffed with books as to be almost impenetrable. Even the bath was filled with them. Jenkins’s mind was as chaotic as his rooms. He lectured all morning on the hour, each lecture commencing directly after the other. An alarm-clock hanging from a string round his neck served as a prompt to change subject, though his few listeners (sometimes as few as one) found it hard to distinguish one lecture from another.
Sigh. They don’t make ’em like that any more. And if they did the Teaching Quality Assessment, or some other wheeze dreamed up by McKinsey, would do for him.