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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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of Francis Cecil Sumner, brilliant man, dull as dust, the very opposite of a charismatic teacher, in terms of manner and style. He'd come into class, and he would sit at his desk and he would talk in a monotone.

And one day, I --

Q:

-- you're going to talk a littlemore about Sumner, right --

Clark:

As I said to you, this man, by all of the usual criteria that one would use to determine whether a teacher was inspiring or not, he would not meet any of them-- except one very important one, namely, his involvement in his subject matter. His whole life being his subject matter, you know.

But I must confess, that the first third of the semester I was in his class, I didn't listen to him, becase he was dull and monotonous. And one day, I was in his class and I was looking out the window at two birds playing and making love, and they were really having a wonderful time, and I was enjoying watching them, you know. And I was thinking, speculating about birds making love and playing, and I made all sorts of fantasies about what was happening -- that the female was just tantalizing the male, the male was being tantalized and what not, and they were having a wonderful time for about five or ten minutes.

And they flew away. I was upset, you know, and I said, “well, maybe they'll come back. “But they didn't come back. And because they didn't come back, I started listening to Sumner. I listened and I listened, and what he was saying was making a whole lot of sense. It was making sense in terms of things that were important to me -- namely, trying to understand human beings.





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