Biographical Byways



THERE are things seldom referred to in obituary -L notices and sometimes omitted even in more ambitious biographies. They tell the tale of peculiarities or weaknesses, which the writer fears may detract from the merits of the man he has set out to praise. The biographer believes, with some show of justice, that his main object is to give a record of work accomplished and not a psychological analysis of character. But eccentricities, or even decided failings, form part of a man's personality. The extent to which his teaching carries conviction and affects the scientific outlook of his time, depend as much on his personal attributes as on the merits of his researches. 'We destroy the balance of a just valuation, if we ignore those shades of character or temperament which act as handicaps to the full fruition of his work.

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SCHUSTER, A. Biographical Byways. Nature 115, 55–57 (1925).

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