Despite the increasing popularity of the Department of History and Literature, it remains in essence a committee for granting degrees. There are no courses in the combined field and neither of its two professors give instruction which unites the history and literature of a specific age. It is a hybrid which draws its sustenance from two different sources.
The existence of a History and Literature Department is eminently desirable, for history is a record of the deeds of men, just as literature is of their thoughts and emotions. Deeds are not intelligible without an understanding of the mental conditions from which they grow while literature, on the other hand, cannot be separated from the social conditions in which it arises. This very justification of the Department shows that there is need for definite courses in the field.
If there were a course of this type existent in each age, such as the Classical, Elizabethan, and Romantic eras, it would coordinate the work of the undergraduate. This would not knock out work in each division, of course; it would only knit closely together, the divergent knowledge which a man gains from such a study. These courses would be under the guidance of Department professors, for the platform circus which is of definite value to a Freshman, would not present the continuity essential for the advanced student.
The conception of a History and Literature Department is a liberal one, well befitting a progressive university. Since the experimental stage is proved successful, attention must turn to coordinating and making permanent this new field.