So I learned from the interesting historical sketch of the big personalities of Italian algebraic geometry in this month’s Notices of the AMS. After Severi’s death, Roth wrote of him:
Personal relationships with Severi, however complicated in appearance, were always reducible to two basically simple situations: either he had just taken offence or else he was in the process of giving it.
He also made a point of jumping to the top of the academic ladder in Mussolini’s Italy, taking advantage of the barring of his Jewish colleagues from the highest positions. And the Notices article excerpts a magnificently peevish letter he wrote to his student Beniamino Segre, commanding him to add more about Severi’s work to his survey article on the history of algebraic geometry in Italy.
I predict only Steve will know the reason for the title of this post, or at least that it will please no one else so much as him.