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The word has now a rather old-fashioned ring, at least in its general application. In its secondary (but widely used) sense, it denotes a special, usually monetary award to a student to cover the costs of courses at a school or university which would otherwise be difficult to afford. In its primary sense, however, scholarship refers both to a mode of employment and to a vocation.

As mode of employment, scholarship is the labour of all academic inquiry, exhilarating, patient, protracted, tedious. It is the application of the scholar to what used to be known as ‘disinterested’ study. But the word ‘disinterested’ is now, regrettably, shifting its meaning to something close to ‘bored’, where originally ‘disinterested’ meant, and needs still to mean, unself-referential, impartial, open-minded ...

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