The latest issue of the Harvard Magazine should stimulate the thought of every Harvard man who is interested in a permanent record of the literary expression of his era. The reviewer feels impelled to fall back on the old truism that seems to need restatement to every changing class, that the historian must turn to the literary magazines of the College for his opinion as to the thought, the literary excellence of style, the reflection of comment on changing conditions in undergraduate life. The present number of the magazine makes its own silent appeal for a more truly representative record of the best in our undergraduate writing.
There is a story of fine quality, "West is West," by Mr. E. Harrison, which the reader may pick up with satisfaction, with confidence that he may yield himself to a few moments of genuine pleasure in story and in style. There is an article on "Where Harvard Excels," by Professor T. N. Carver, which will inevitably provoke more thought and fill every heart with pride in the solidity of Harvard excellence. An article on "Building the Minor Sports at Harvard," by Paul Jackson, and an editorial on Advance Information, concerning the selection of new courses, are timely discussions of very interesting problems. A story, "All That Glitters," by Miss R. E. Judkins, which is a serious treatment of the ever-old, ever-new marriage question, in spite of the comic sub-head, "A Pr-r-roblem Story!", and a story-thesis, "Talbot and Atropos," by Mr. L. F. Ranlett '21, an intricate treatment of an astronomical possibility, are thrown in for good measure. There are no poems; there is no familiar essay.
"West is West" Praiseworthy
Specifically, "West is West" deserves the place it occupies. It is a Kipling esque story of life in India by a pupil who does not shame his teacher. It contains a deeply human theme, the contrasting ethics of the East and the West, illustrated by so lively an incident as the desire of the sawbwa's wife for gold teeth, solved so simply and truly by "a little child shall lead them," and withal, told in so conversational fashion which remains literary conversation while it simulates life, that the whole story is lifted into the class of art.
"Wherein Harvard Excels" is so wholesome in its conclusions that, while others may envy, they can but admire. "It (the high respect) probably rests on Harvard's General reputation for wisdom, sanity, and clearness of thought." Thus Professor Carver evidences the fact in his own contribution, a crystallized bit of "wisdom, sanity, and clearness of thought."
"Minor Sports" merits consideration. At a time when general participation in athletic sports is greater than it has probably been in the history of the American college, and when the physical fitness of college men is above the level ever before achieved, it is significant that everywhere there is evidence of further, striving for fitness. The insistence on the part of college men that the emphasis on sports in college be placed on those which fit men for a permanent life of physical activity is one of the most wholesome sings in the whole discussion of athletics.
Has Solentific Touch
"Talbot and Atropos" is an imaginative piece of astronomical knowledge applied to journalism. It has not enough suspense to hold the attention as a story, but it has enough science to hold the scientifically curious. What would happen if an asteroid should drop in the Atlantic eleven hundred miles east of Boston? The love element is an irritating non-essential; the suspense created as to "the great disaster" is killed almost at once by the idea of triviality caused by the thirty-minute conversation before the all-important question is asked and answered.
"All That Glitters" is a dramatically visualized, well-written story of mis-marriage which has nothing but intense and clear understandings of the characters in their situation to life it out of the commonplace. It is, unconsciously, such a deadly serious comment upon marriage, the momentary appeal of social gaiety, of physical power, at the time when a yes or no means heaven or hell, the whole attitude of romantic youths toward the married state is so all-too true that one wonders how so many marriages turn out well.
The dramatic criticisms are not done well enough to merit so late a publication.