Note and Comment.
With all its peculiarities, American college journalism mirrors with surprising truthfulness the states of feeling, we had almost said the degrees of civilization, prevailing in the several parts of our broad land, The critical reader will easily detect differences in the tone of the kindred publications of our eastern colleges; between North, South, and West, the gulf is too wide for the most casual reader to overlook. Here in the north we have reached the stage of devotion to the aesthetic, so well illustrated by the Century and Harpers'. Sketches and stories whose aim is some artistic form and merit have for the most part replaced the cruder, if perhaps more thoughtful, essays of a generation ago. In the place of interminable epics and other tedius poems descriptive and hortatory, we have a setting, mercifully a narrow one, of verses expressing the mystic yearnings and sorrows to which the tragic undergraduate heart is prone, about a profusion of gems of the triolet and rondeau order, in fact every sort of "bright conceit in meter," if the Record will pardon our plagiarism. Whether all this is real progress or only growing frivolity is out of our line of enquiry. It is an interesting fact that in many respects our southern exchanges are in the earlier stages just mentioned. Here is the last issue of one of them whose contents are "What is an education?" (eight pages long and "continued in our next.") "What do the signs of the times predict," and "Capital punishment." The work of all the southern papers is crude by northern standards, excepting always the Virginia University Magazine, but their tone is one of intense seriousness, strongly in contrast with the flippancy of some of their northern brethren. For something entirely novel and original, however, one must look to the West, to the so-called seats of learning that have sprung up with such appaling rapidity where lately the majestic red-skin roamed. Every month there come, with a whoop as it were, various ultra-western publications of a most startling appearance as to paper, advertisements and contents, with "please exchange" on the cover. They mean to play no second part to the journals of the effete East and the manner in which they receive any patronizing remarks makes the offending eastern editor glad that the Father of Waters and the Appalachians screen him. A fiery energy, a sort of expansion of spirit suited to their boundless country, but oftentimes too great for the resources of our mother tongue, characterizes them. - Yak Lit.