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On The Rack

The Harkness Hoot

The present issue of the Harkness Hoot features a symposium on social ideas and an article entitled "Von Papen on Hitlerism." The impact of the later diminishes when one learns that the man in question is not von Papen after all, but von Papen's son, a law student at the University of Berlin. Mr. von Papen writes in a rather naive and unconvincing fashion, and his statistical vagaries have been carefully corrected by the editors of the Harkness Hoot, all of which indicates that the Hoot has once more been mumbo-jumboed by the roll of a mighty name. The symposium emits from three graduate editors, Selden Rodman and William Harlan Hale of "Common Sense," and Richard S. Childs, who is, we are informed, in Washington because he is very fond of zoos. Their product will be familiar to anyone who has heard the Nation speak out loud and bold, for it makes us once more privy to the fact that some undergraduates do not think enough about social problems, to the fact that there are many people in the United States who are neither bourgeois nor proletarian and thereby confuse the Communist issue, to the fact that people cannot spend much money during a depression and are forced to resort to the older and simpler pleasures of the race, and to the final fact that there is in all this much material for thought. The symposium, it should be added, leaves the material facile verbiage. Mr. Hale, alone of the three ventures into the inner recesses of the young intellectuals' cannery, and passes some crumbs from Sherwood Anderson's trencher, crumbs anent the arbitrary character of Communist literary criticism. For the rest, the Hoot is conventional and mild. Two undergraduates have collaborated on a dull catalogue of duller New Haven, and Mr. Charles Seymour writes with pale whimsy on artistry in dining. But it remains for the three reviwers to smother Mac-Leish and Pirandello with truffles of a more spiritual kind. Mr. Winter's long hosauna on Pirandelle in particular, is a jewel, a jewel of the genre ennoyuer bristling with irritating and inaccurate generalities. Mr. Winer may have made a long study of Romance Literature, as the editor insists, but it has yielded him little, and one fears that English composition escaped his schedule, however gruelling to Mr. Winer personally that schedule may have been. Any real glutton for punishment will find that the Hoot has included two dialect stories for his especial benefit.

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