THE MARCH MONTHLY.
A Review of the Number.--Professor Santayana on Latin in the Schools.
The Monthly for March opens with an eloquent appeal by Professor Santayana for a change in the method of teaching Latin in our present educational system. The learning of Latin was a fashion and has passed as all fashions do. "Instead of teaching with Latin and Greek words we should deal with Greek and Latin things. . . . Imagine the content of such courses as Latin 10 and Greek 10 and 11 required for admission to College instead of the present syntax and inflections. . . . Leave the Latin language to the philologists; so wretched and grotesque a shadow as the Latin now in the average mind is not worth fighting for." We have heard the claim advanced by a modern Greek that classic Greek should be taught as a living language because modern Greek is a living continuation of it. Professor Santayana's position is somewhat similar: He regards the Roman culture and language from the point of view of the so-called Latin races of Europe. He fails to take into account the transformation the ideas of that culture must undergo in assimilation by minds of a different civilization and nationality whose traditions and habits are absolutely foreign. Under his new system the certain dignity in books, the certain Latin habit of mind brought to their composition would be more than ever lost.
"The Usurper of the Range," by W. Jones '00, is without doubt the best piece of fiction in the number. Its subject is fresh and unhackneyed, and treated with a firmness and sureness of touch which shows the writer's perfect knowledge of the western life and incidents he depicts.
The following article by G.H. Montague '01, brings us back from the prairies to our own haunts--Undergraduate reading, or rather, the lack of it, is his subject. It is a vigorous reply to the accusation that the Harvard undergraduate of today is less well-read than his predecessor of fifty years ago.
The present writer is too unfamiliar with the dialect of the English countries to attempt to criticise that of "A Child of All Fools," by Rowland Thomas. The plot is slight, the suggestion vague, but the characters as individuals are well drawn and the dialogue is well worked out.
J.P. White's article on the "French Drama of Today," is a gallant attempt to treat in a very limited space a subject of almost unlimited proportions. The article bears too much resemblance to a catalogue of plays. The only piece of verse in the number, the "Ripple-Song," by R.M. Green '03, is an excellent example of the better class of undergraduate verse. The use of the metre shows great skill and good taste.
Two editorials, one on the coming performance of Iphigenie, and one on the athletic ticket scheme, and a book review, close the number, which, as a whole, is one of the best, if not the best, which have appeared this year.