The recent announcement that the pseudonym "J. S. of Dale" concealed no other than Mr. Frederick G. Stinson, a graduate of the class of 1876, at Harvard, is not at all in the nature of news to the many readers of this popular novel "Guerndale." The secret of his authorship had transpired long before Mr. Stinson felt it convenient to give his authority to the rumor. The announcement was made we believe, at about the time of Mr. Stinson's application for admission to the author's club of New York.
"Guerndale" is at present probably the most popular of the numberous novels written by recent graduates of Harvard and seems to have struck the Harvard student as the best exposition of Harvard life we have. The novel of course does not deal alone with Harvard, but the society it depicts, and the men it describes are all distinctly of Harvard origin and give it peculiar interest to the "young men from Cambridge" as the New York Times calls Harvard students The reason for the popularity of "Guerndale" is evident to one who compares it with the ordinary run of books founded on American college life. The best of these before the appearance of "Guerndale" was undoubtedly "Hammersmith," but this dealt with the one set of college society which has always furnished materials for such books in all countries. The young men who have oftenest formed the heroes of these novels belong to the class called "sappy" and give but a poor idea of the flesh and blood which is to be found in colleges as well as elsewhere. Whatever other objections may be urged to "Guerndale," however, nothing can be said against it on this score. There is an air of life about it which is lacking in all the other books that proceeded it. Mr. Stinson has not followed up his first success with any long work as yet, but be has not, however, been wholly idle. Two of the recent numbers of the Century magazine contain short stories from his pen, both of a high order of merit. We cannot but wish for more from the same hand, as the number of writers who are capable of writing a respectable short story is growing beautifully smaller every day. "The story in the February Century," the Critic says, "is one of the shortest short-stories the magazine has ever published, and one of the best. It is at once manly and tender; it bas heart as well as ingenuity."
Another Harvard man who is writing for the Century magazine at present is Mr. Robert Grant, '73. Mr. Grant is best known as the author of "Little Tin Gods-on-wheels; or, Society in our Modern Athens," which first appeared in the Lampoon. This little book, which has probably been read by all Harvard men, of late years, has met with remarkable success, due no doubt very much to the illustrations by Mr. Atwood as well as to the "trilogy" itself. Almost nine thousand copies of the book have been sold and the demand still continues. It is a strange fact that the book met its largest sale in New York city, probably because it is a hit at the rival city of Boston.
Mr. Grant's next literary venture of any importance was his novel called "The Confessions of a Frivolous Girl," which met with considerable success. His latest novel, "An Average Man," now running in the Century, does not come up to the expectations of his admirers; although the story started out in a bright and interesting style, the later numbers are hopelessly dull. The fact that two of the writers in the current Century are recent Harvard graduates, and the success of Life, show that in the fields of literature at least young Harvard graduates are making themselves known.