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Quotation: professional reputation

Quotation: professional reputation

I was amused to read this, spoken in conversation with a herbalist in 1861 by Father Pirrone, a character in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s excellent novel The Leopard, published in 1958.
‘A university professor despises a parish school master even if he doesn’t show it, and we clergy consider ourselves superior to the laity, we Jesuits superior to the other clergy just as you herbalists despite tooth-pullers who in their turn deride you. Doctors on the other hand jeer at both tooth-pullers and herbalists, and are themselves treated as fools by their patients who expect to be kept alive with hearts and livers in a hopeless state; to magistrates lawyers are just bores who try to delay the course of law, and on the other hand literature is full of satires against the pomposity, indolence and often worse of those very judges. The only people who also despise themselves are labourers; when they have learnt to jeer at others the circle will be closed.


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