The March number of the Harvard Monthly is devoted to criticism, the three prose articles being on Walt Whitman, Browning and Montaigne and Bacon.
Mr. G. Santayana leads the way with a dialogue between McStout and VanTender on Whitman. McStout's hostility to him serves to bring out Van Tender's eulogy. The latter acknowledges that his beloved poet does not write according to the English department, but maintains that "when English becomes a dead language and nothing survives but the 'Leaves of Grass,' Whitman's style will be above criticism." He asserts also that Whitman teaches one to see in things their intrinsic nature and life, rather than the utility they may have for one another, and defends the poet from the charge of immorality.
Mr. Norman Hapgood contributes a lengthy criticism of "Browning as a Dramatist." Though the article is landatory, the author acknowledges that Browning lacked many qualities of a successful dramatist. He does not submit with good grace to the necessary machinery of the stage, and lacks also constructive power: his plots are strong in general conception, but weak in matters of detail. Mr. Hapgood then proceeds to examine Browning's dramas, beginning with the less important ones and passing thence to those which may really be called acting plays, Strafford, A Blot in the 'Scutcheon, and the Return of the Druses. This last, although never produced on the stage, Mr. Hapgood considers the most dramatic of them all.
Mr. R. E. Neil Dodge compares Montaigne and Bacon as essayists, to the advantage of the Frenchman. He argues that in spite of superficial resemblances there is a decided antithesis between the two men, that of personality. We read Bacon for his thoughts alone, whereas in Montaigne we find the pure thought everywhere tinctured by the author's nature.
The contributions in verse are by Mr. H. Bates, Mr. H. McCulloch and Mr. W. V. Moody. Mr. Bates' "Alliterative Verse" strikes one as somewhat artificial. Mr. McCulloch's "Midnight" is one of his strongest productions. "Love and Death" is a trifle from the German. An anonymous distich on Shelley seems an unsatisfactory characterization of that poet's art.
The editorial on "The Revival of Greek Literature in College" was evidently suggested by a recent editorial in the CRIMSON. The arguments which were there brought forward are here repeated in a different form.