We published, some time ago, a complaint concerning English VII. The complaint was directed at the method at present pursued in the teaching of the course. Any literary course which is intended to cover so long a period as either English VII or VIII, cannot be safely conducted in the same manner as a course which restricts its work to a close examination of a few of the works of one man. Whatever may be said against the lecture system, there can be no doubt that it is the only system which can be successfully pursued in a course which attempts to cover the ground laid down in English VII. Even under the lecture system a half course which meets but once a week cannot attempt anything but a cursory and wholly unsatisfactory examination of a few of the more prominent writers of the period under study. While there is no need to call in question the method of teaching pursued in English VII, the method has only shown the weakness of the course as a successful literary view of a century of great writers. Had the lecture system which was so successfully pursued during the first half year been continued, the courses, even then, could only have succeeded in as far as any course with but one meeting could succeed in covering the literary work of a period beginning with Dryden and ending with Burns. Last year a complaint was made against the work of English VIII. It was said that in the work of the course many of the greatest writers within the selected period were completely ignored. This must still be the complaint against any such course as either of the two of which we speak, unless the course be made a full course and the lecture system adopted in place of the too elementary method of study which is at present pursued in English VII. In this way the student would have ample time to bestow upon the work of the course, and could feel that the course would repay the close study bestowed upon it.
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