Anthony Beevor visited Oslo today and I managed to get a seat at his talk this evening. It was probably the talk he gives anywhere he goes to promote his new book on the Spanish civil war. As this is not my field of knowledge I cannot really say whether it was a good talk or not, but I made a few notes on something else:
Many British historians have an intellectual arrogance that very few display in Norway. One feature of this arrogance is always to talk in metaphors. Thoughts seems a lot deeper this way. And even better, add a few quotes from the diaries of famous men - preferably some that can make the audience laugh. Then make general categorisations of historical events and categorise peoples' attributes. This makes you sound like the king of the world.
Sometimes this works wonderful, as it is done with a touch of irony and a big dash of humour. However, it might fail terribly and you become only tremendously arrogant. I am not quite sure what happened today.