In addition, Bourbaki constructed an extensive folklore around the
group, building on the group's secrecy, its name, its humor and school-
boy pranks, its structure and method of working. Bourbaki is indebted
to this folkore for much of the group's success. Yet the use of the word
"success" must be qualified. Bourbaki did not complete its mission,
and the evolution of mathematics will surely prevent it from ever
being completed. Bourbaki and its philosophy had some unwelcome
idiosyncracies that their critics readily denounced. And the future
survival of this multi-brained mathematician is questionable.
Bourbaki's story is one of shadows and dazzling light. I hope I have
shown both equally in this book.
—Maurice Mashaal
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