The Perfect Lecturer

We searched literature for a description of the perfect lecture, or lecturer, and we found it in Mihail Sebastian’s 1934 masterpiece, For Two Thousand Years. This passage is from the Penguin Modern Classics’ translation by Philip O Ceallaigh. The protagonist, a Jewish student, describes the brilliant lecturer Ghiţă Blidaru, with whom he is utterly bewitched:

What charm and simplicity the man has. His style is terse and angular, rough and digressive. He throws out a word, opens a secret door, kicks a stone he’s picked up along the way. Spontaneously, and somehow trusting all to hazard. And then, when the hour is up, and you look despairingly at the field of thought that has been devastated, suddenly — I couldn’t tell you how — matters begin to resolve themselves. The disconnected ideas strewn about over three-quarters of an hour return home in the final quarter, clear, quiet, necessary, utterly compelling, and completing a cycle of reasoning as though it were a symphonic arrangement.”

It’s possible that it’s necessary to have a debilitating crush on the lecturer for such an impression to be achieved.

Sebastian’s novel, described as the Jewish Catcher in the Rye, is powerful and unsettling, confronting issues of nationalism, discrimination and prejudice. It is full of beautiful passages.

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