chapter  15
22 Pages

M. W. Beresford: TIME AND PLACE (Leeds, 1960)

Of a solemn and a great fraternitylanguage which you will recognise as Chaucer's and not mine. In Chaucer's day a livery signified membership of a fraternity. Students of economic history are familiar with one fraternity-type especially, the guilds, whose main purpose was economic and whose members had in common some handicraft or trade. But a university was also a fraternity, with masters and apprentices to a craft, the craft of knowledge. The apprentices had their own badges and dress and the masters of arts had theirs, that which I wear this afternoon. When apprentices to a craft came out of their time there were initiation ceremonies. In Leeds breweries the apprentice coopers who learn to make barrels still mark the end of their time by being rolled out in a barrel. In higher education we have more dignity. Taking its tune perhaps from The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, the University demands of a new professor something like a mastersong. It commands him to make an exhibition of himself.