Review of June Number of Monthly
The June number of the Monthly presents a symposium on the Honor System, Mr. Gilkey's Prize Poem, two little essays, storiettes, a poem with a moral, and a continued story without a moral.
The discussion of the Honor System is clear and direct; but the most striking thing in the discussion is that the advocates of the new scheme are men indirectly connected with Harvard or else are teachers whose instruction is "primarily for graduates," while the upholders of the present proctorial system are men dealing directly with Harvard undergraduates or else are undergraduates themselves. F. Ayer, Jr., '11, and R. C. Benchley '12 present what is probably more nearly the prevalent undergraduate view of the matter than that recently given in the CRIMSON. It is to be noted also that the opinions of the Acting Dean and of the Assistant Dean are conspicuous by their absence, and that the President's "Foreword" expresses not even theoretical approval of the system.
"Boston as seen from the Harvard Bridge," by J. G. Gilkey '12, is the winner this year of the Lloyd McKim Garrison Prize. In spite of obvious limitations of the subject and perceptible languor of treatment, the poem is picturesque and musical. The reviewer likes especially to finger over the first and last stanzas.
"The Broken Mirror," last of a series of stories of Mme. Saumon's pension on Eliot street, is too obvious in plot and only near-English in style. The tone suggested by the first line, "Dulling their background like two pearls in a cabbage patch," is fortunately not maintained throughout. A sketch, Mr. Skinner's Indian tale "The Love of a Friend," is simple and good. Perhaps the Apache saying which heads it--"Any man can slay an enemy, but only an Apache is brave enough to kill a friend"--anticipates too much the conclusion.
The essayette on Henley is over-wrought in style and in feeling. A critic who calls Henley a "Luther of English Poetdom" has invalidated even the sanest statements which follow. Nothing is to be gamed by proclaiming a lovable minor bard as the valiant champion in a poetic reformation. The study of "H. G. Wells and the Socialist Aristocracy" is clear, concise, and in all respects convincing, if only we assume--like the writer--that the peculiar brand of socialism which Wells has adopted for literary purposes is really to be reckoned with as propaganda. Wells's "New Machiavelli," which Mr. Henderson is using for his text in this study, seems hardly to merit such earnest criticism.
Mr. Cronyn's "Dionysos Eleutherios" is stirring verse of high order. The lilt and the changing mood of the poem are admirable. If the reviewer may be permitted to carp, he would add merely that the moral seems a bit forced and that perhaps no specific moral at all would be better than one which seems to suggest a temperance tract.
"Romance and a Clerk" is continued in the July number, and should be reviewed as a whole.
The June number of the Monthly is marred by more than a dozen bad proof-reading errors which reflect little credit on the editors.