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Articles by Exchange Professors

By W. A. Neilson

The chief interest of the current number of the Advocate lies in two articles contributed by the Exchange Professors from France and Germany at present in residence. That by Professor Baldensperger, deals with an obscure but in one sense remarkable figure, Joseph Kancrede, the first instructor in French in Harvard College. Kancrede seems to have held his position here from 1787 to 1800. Later he went to Philadelphia, and ultimately returned to France, where he died, in 1841. Professor Baldensperger has diligently collected the meagre records of Kancrede's activities, including various publications; and has thus made a notable and interesting contribution to the history of that department of the University of which he is himself for the moment so distinguished an ornament.

Professor Dobschutz on Cheering.

Professor von Dobschuts writes on "Die Harvard-Zurufe;" and it is safe to say that our cheer has never before been so learnedly treated. He compares it with analogous customs recorded of the synod held in Rome in 499 A.D., and with the organized cheers with which the people greeted the Emperors in mediaeval Byzantium. The performances of our cheer-leaders at the Yale game he finds interesting as making more creditable the records of these ancient instance. A propos of his questions as to the age and origin of the Harvard cheer, the Advocate might well take a hint and investigate the matter. It seems likely that information is easily available as to the date when organized cheering first appeared here, and as to the source whence the custom was derived.

Discriminating Book Reviews.

The rest of the number consists chiefly of book reviews, written for the most part with good sense and discrimination. Mr. Seldes's "American Literature: Currents and Whirlpools" somewhat ambitiously attempts a diagnosis of the diseases of "bad work and insignificant work" from which he believes the novel of this country to be suffering. The article contains sound distinctions and acute observations, but it is marred by some pretentiousness in tone and certain defects of style. These last are such as perennially affect the cleverer kinds of undergraduate criticism--the use of a vocabulary sometimes merely precious, sometimes employed with an imperfect sense of idiom. But such annoyances are perhaps only inevitable growing pains, and they do not cancel one's satisfaction in such evidences of intellectual activity as Mr. Seldes's eassy undoubtedly presents. The only piece of verse in the number, Mr. Greene's "The Heritage," is flat and prosaic, but has not the clearness of good prose. The editorial on "Undergraduate Literature" is sensible; but the Board should prohibit the use of the phrase "in the final analysis" from in at least every second issue.

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