Standing outside the normal process by which intellectual traditions are transmitted, the autodidact may embody the spirit of his age in an unusually direct way. For the same reason, his relation to the past is apt to be distorted: his intellectual roots descend haphazardly, putting down feelers here and there as they happen to find nourishment.
SOURCE: Stocking, George W., Jr. Victorian Anthropology (New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan, 1987), p. 112.
Quote submitted by Jeffrey Perry, author of the definitive biography of Hubert Henry Harrison.
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