The art of academic survival (and much more)
Presentation of Microcosmographia Academica, ovvero una guida per il giovane politico accademico, by F.M. Cornford, edited by Luisa Antoniolli, Vicenza, Ronzani Editore, 2021 (first Italian edition).
- Paolo Carta, Director of Collegio Clesio
Guest speakers, with editor Luisa Antoniolli (University of Trento):
- Beppe Cantele, lawyer, director of Ronzani publishing;
- Paolo Carta, University of Trento;
- Roberto Sebastiani, University of Trento;
- Alessandro Simoni, University of Firenze.
Microcosmographia Academica, by F.M. Cornford, historian of philosophy and classical scholar, is an intelligent and ironic description of academic life at the University of Cambridge between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
The target of the irony is an academic environment characterized by conservatism, inaction, and skepticism, incapable of change, driven above all by prejudice, fear and greed. The book is considered a masterpiece because Cornford was able to transform a narrow and rather stale subject into a light and amusing comedy, revealing the dynamics of the academic world that also characterize other places and eras, with the same driving forces and the same weaknesses.
Today, more than a century after its publication, this book is still interesting, and is presented in its first Italian edition.
The illustrations in the book depict some woodcuts by Gwen Raverat (1885-1957), a Cambridge artist, granddaughter of Charles Darwin and cousin of poet Frances Darwin, who married Francis M. Cornford in 1909.