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Ernest Gellner: 1925-1995

Ernest Gellner died on November 5th in Prague, the city where he lived as a child and to which he returned in 1992 to establish the Centre for the Study of Nationalism. In September this year the Centre accepted its first group of doctoral students. Below, they remember their teacher

By prospect   December 1995

We n ever dared to address Professor Gellner by his first name. “Call me Ernest, please,” he insisted, but we remained too awe-struck. His first response to our papers was always: “Such and such was interesting, but…” Professor Gellner was famous for his “but.”

To us graduate students from all over central and eastern Europe, just starting our academic careers, he was tolerance and inspiration itself. He never seemed bored by our ideas or petty problems, and never missed a chance to make us feel important. At the last conference we attended with him, he told us to speak up…

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