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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