The present management of the Advocate has made one change from methods of previous years highly to be commended. In place of the former stand-and-deliver method of extracting a criticism from the reviewer when the paper to be criticized was presented to you almost without warning, and with it a virtual ultimatum that your review must be ready in three hours, now comes, with all possible courtesy and consideration, no less a person than the president of the Advocate himself, two or three weeks before he wants his review, to ask when it will be agreeable for you to write it. Encouraged by his assurance that you may take your time, you even dare to tell the zealous candidate for the CRIMSON, when he calls for your manuscript, to come again later, for you are not ready yet. It is a good change--for the reviewer--that the Advocate has made. Let it stick to it. And let other papers follow the good example.
As to contents, the latest Advocate is creditable but not remarkable. Once at least it ought to have been more carefully edited; the indefensible use of human in the sense of "human being" is allowed to stand in the first story-- a fault the more conspicuous, because the idiomatic phrase, "neither man nor beast" would so naturally occur to one in place of the ugly "neither beast nor human." But in general, the paper, both in its prose and its verse, shows the right feeling for style. If the authors had more to say than they have here, evidently they would know how to make effective use of their material.
The paper begins with three editorials. They are not very significant, and the first, "The One Loyalty," leaves room for difference of opinion. It is at least debatable whether a man who wants to do what little he can for the cause of right and civilization today is disloyal to his own country, as the article makes out, in going over to drive an ambulance or do hospital work in France. Until international conditions acutely change, help to that country, no matter how small, is help also to the United States.
Apart from the editorials, this Advocate is divided between four short stories, an article on "Tea Drinking," and thirteen pieces of verse. Of this the prose on the whole is less important than the verse. The light, little, rambling essay on "Tea Drinking," by Mr. Alfred Putnam, has good comment and observation, but it seems less spontaneous than other contributions of the same author to the Advocate. The four short stories are all very short, with the exception of "The Shadow of Death," by Mr. Emerson Low. This is a story that catches and holds the attention, a story of some power, but also of obvious crudities. The weakest of the other stories is "The Mausoleum of Signore Palzi"; it is uneven, hurried, and immature. The best is "Traumerei," by Mr. Prosser, a bit of real life presented with a vividness that would be stronger if the author curbed a little more a tendency towards floridity.
Of the verse, which has mostly emancipated itself from being libre, the authors are Messrs. S. F. Damon, J. R. Parson, M. Cowley, W. A. Norris, L. K. Garrison, R. H. Snow, A. Putnam, P. R. Doolin, R. S. Hillyer, and W. Willcox, Jr. None of it is bad and some of it is good. With two or three exceptions, it is all facilely academic.
Among the more striking pieces, Mr. Parson's "Let Us Make the Night Light With Drinking" is reminiscent of "We Meet 'Neath the Sounding Rafters." but except for a weak line or two--like "We are sad, I suppose, or should be"--not unsuccessfully reminiscent. Mr. Damous "Beauty" is one of the few contributions to this Advocate which are more than merely creditably academic. It is spontaneously poetic in both thought and expression, notably above the average of verse in college publications, which is more than can be said of his "Passion." This too is charming in expression, but it seems forced and artificial in thought. "Passion is a little child," sings Mr. Damon. Some day he may discover the child suddenly and powerfully grown up. Another poem deserving special mention is Mr. Cowley's "Adventurer," which has rugged force and individuality. And finally, a strong ending to the Advocate is Mr. Willcox's "A Slave." That, like Mr. Damon's "Beauty," is a "real poem," well above the usual level of undergraduate publications. These two are the best pieces in the paper. If it were a matter of awarding a prize to one of them, the reviewer would be at a loss which to choose.