Having to give an inaugural lecture is a rather daunting affair though, I am sure, a salutary one. Luckily, there is always tradition to sustain one and to afford some guidance. There are, one finds, models, or types, of inaugural lectures. I cannot claim to be a connoisseur, but, judging from a small and heavily biased sample, they seem to fall into three groups. There are those, to begin with, which announce new departures for a subject, new horizons, recent territorial acquisitions in teaching or research, perhaps a reformed constitution: they are, in short, manifestos — delivered, of course, modestly, even diffidently sometimes, and with proper deference to neighbours and previous tenants, but manifestos nevertheless; muted manifestos. The second kind defines itself more precisely. There is hardly a single field of scholarship or science in which the contribution of Scotland, of this university itself, has not been extensive and weighty — even, at times, momentous; very few branches of learning in which it is not possible to point to a noble and inspiring tradition of intellectual endeavour. There is special propriety on the occasion of an inaugural lecture, then, in recalling — invoking — the achievements of predecessors, of the giants on whose shoulders we presume to stand;
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