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IT is so long since we have attempted to criticise our contemporaries that we have found ourselves almost overwhelmed with the constantly increasing pile of exchanges; and it is with a feeling of despair and dread that we put on our overhauls and prepare to slash around.
On the top of the pile comes the Vassar Miscellany, which is always a welcome visitor. To be sure, it is, on the whole, rather heavy and unsatisfactory reading, but if one is judicious there is much to be found that is interesting. It seems strange that so little poetry appears in its columns; and we are forced to believe the editors discourage the would-be Brownings and Hemanses, though the one piece which appeared this fall was a very clever production. We would suggest an increase of "College Notes," and an attempt at typographical improvement.
Our old friend the Acta Columbiana is always up to time with a judicious assortment of poetry and prose, as a rule very good; and though it has given many hard knocks to Harvard during the past three months, we can make allowances, and start the new year with every wish for continued success.
Its illustrated rival, the Spectator, has gained a high character from its illustrations, which are excellent, but there is still much to be desired in its editorial columns. A recent article entitled "Magoshville" was capital, and we hope for more from the same writer. We wish, for its own sake, that the Spectator would frankly say whether or not it is an undergraduate publication, for rumors are floating about that it is not, and we are forced to believe they have good foundation.
Chaff, the new illustrated monthly from the University of Pennsylvania, has started off very well, and we return its Christmas greeting with interest. Its illustrations are, as a whole, very good, though we are inclined to think some of its jokes too local. However, it has abundant good nature, and combines fact, fiction, and fun in a very satisfactory manner.
The Princeton Tiger, which comes along at most uncertain intervals, is, we regret to say, very disappointing. The illustrations are very often execrable, while much of the poetry and prose is unutterably flat. To be sure, some very clever things, both in drawing and writing, may be found in its columns, but much that is at least in bad taste finds room there as well. A great contrast is presented in the Princetonian, which is undoubtedly in the front rank of college papers. Its make up and appearance are excellent, and it is most entertaining reading. It scores a point on the editorial and news columns, which are filled with matter clearly and concisely put, while in a literary point of view it is not wanting in ability and good taste.
Another and but recent exchange, of which we can find little but good to say, is the Argo, from Williams. The Athenaeum has indeed a formidable rival, but the greatest good feeling prevails between them. The handsome appearance and clear typography of the Argo alone make it almost a pleasure to read it, but the contents are not behind the press work. We can only hope that continued success may attend Jason and his companions on their long voyage.
We have of late felt drawn towards the Cornell Era, inasmuch as we both experience the pleasures of editing a weekly, and if they need any sympathy we are only too ready to give it. Though, from the nature of things, we can have little interest in what concerns Cornell students, and therefore fail to find the Era as pleasant reading as some other papers, yet it is certainly an ably edited paper and quite equal in most respects to any of our exchanges. Its exchange column is run in a novel and most interesting manner, and if we regularly had such a department we should be much inclined to adopt their plan.
The complaints about the appearance of the Michigan Argonaut have always seemed to us quite unfounded, as it is always neat, not to say attractive. Its contemporary, the Chronicle, suffers by comparison, for the younger journal contains more news, has better press-work, and is generally more inviting. We should consider that the Argonaut deserved a large circulation, for its notes on all departments of the university are very full, and its literary and editorial departments very fair.
Brown has certainly nothing to complain of in its representative, the Brunonian, which keeps us well supplied with news on all topics of interest pertaining to the college, with a pleasant mingling of grave and light articles, and poems to wash it down with.
We have never been quite able to understand why the Record and Courant are so fond of poking fun at their grave contemporary, the Lit., unless it be from jealousy; for, though a trifle heavy, it is always a pleasure to us to find it on our table, containing, as is its custom, an epitome of the month's doings, with sundry short pieces of interest and literary worth. The News maintains its usual worthless character, and we wonder that its readers can stand five issues a week, and should be inclined to admire their long-suffering, provided it were displayed in a better cause.
Of the various school journals, the Willistonian is the most readable weekly, the Exonian being vapid, and conveying the idea that it consists chiefly of advertisements. The Notre Dame Scholastic is, on the whole, interesting, though peculiar, and gives the impression that it is not entirely free from censorship. Good taste would seem to us to suggest the omission of brevities that refer to peculiarly sacred subjects, unless the paper aims to be a religious weekly, in which case other of the matter it contains is particularly out of place. We would also suggest that less space be devoted to advertising their "Italian Signor," whose chief duty seems to be to "pronounce this and that picture a masterpiece."
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