The question of the value of prize essays for the cause of science and higher literature would form an interesting one for investigation, either in its historical or its theoretical aspects. It is said to be a commonplace of criticism that no good thing can come out of a prize essay. A recent writer instances Prof. Bryce's "Holy Roman Empire" as the only composition of this sort that has proved an exception to this rule. We do not know of any cases of prize essays from American colleges that can be called such exceptions. It is possible that there are such, however, and it may be that the list of Bowdoin prize dissertations might furnish such a case, although perhaps not to be compared with such a work as the "Holy Roman Empire."
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August 04, 2015