Sophia and Philosophia

Article Title

We Scholars


As a graduate student in my late twenties, I began one winter to experience attacks of migraine fever while conducting research preliminary to the writing of my doctoral thesis. Long hours sitting alone in the basement rooms of university libraries, hunched over a creaking desk, chasing down references to obscure manuscripts, translating ancient languages from small-print editions of old books, copying extended extracts into my notes, formulating and recording my own insights and arguments—all this intellectual labor executed while hidden away from the sun drained me of the vigor I’d acquired as a child on walking tours with my father. I lost weight; I grew sallow and weak; my eyesight deteriorated and the pains in my head, ranging from mild but persistent annoyances to incapacitating afflictions, befell me at least once a month. During the worst periods I suffered every fortnight. Sometimes I could not leave bed for whole days through. Yet despite these nagging aggravations I persevered, and my thesis was very well received. Just six months after I took my degree I assumed the professorial chair that I occupy even to this day.