Research Article | Published:

Huxley as Teacher

Naturevolume 115pages740743 (1925) | Download Citation



LOOKING back to young days, a full half-century ago and more, I vividly remember how Huxley's influence first came upon me-and indeed to an extent mainly determinant for after-life, far beyond all other teachers, my father alone excepted; and, like him too, for substantial following, albeit necessarily also in each case with some elements of rebound. Hence a personal opening and treatment may be clearest. I had been an eager field-naturalist from childhood, botanist and gardener too, mineralogist and rock-work builder; and at school had naturally revolted from its too conventional classics, and taken to the modern side. Hence purpose towards science, though in what specific line I could not clearly say, amid its many and varied attractions. During school days my wise father had given me a museum shanty, and next built me an outhouse laboratory and workshop. Then on leaving school, as I could not yet define my college ambitions, he encouraged me to various trials, as of chemistry (with some teaching from the nearest analyst), of mineralogy and botany, with a little geology too, and of the rudiments of zoology and physiology. The whole, too, with the summers free for varied roaming and voracious reading, by turns and together; to which he added also a brief but salutary and steadying experience of office and of workshop, as well as a period at the art school; and all this fundamentally upon his theory of self-education, though with reference and help on various sides as needed-a method I had enthusiastically adopted, and hold by still. Hence I felt happier than my old schoolfellows, by this time fully in the regular university or other mill; and I still feel fortunate in having been given these adolescent years, in freedom from all routine fixity and examination-pressure, and with studies pursued for their interest alone.

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