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The Princeton Reference Librarian, Malcolm Young, submits figures which taken at their face value prove Princeton undergraduates bookishly inclined. In addition to texts required in courses ten per cent of the students take out two books weekly, 40 per cent average one book a fortnight, and the remainder read sporadically but a respectable amount.
In all fairness to Mr. Young, he does not explain these averages as due to a love of literature peculiar to Princeton. In accordance with a new system of study, the student is required to obtain a knowledge of the subject independent of regular classroom work. The marked increase in reading is prompted by the ever-present professor. In all probability, the greater circulation of books is accompanied by a less thorough perusal. The undergraduate animal, be he tiger or bulldog, Indian or Puritan, is not apt to spend much time on indefinite assignments.
Mr. Young's description of the quality of undergraduate reading is more illuminating than his statistics as to its quantity. Perplexing the Princeton man is the question of relating science and religion. To aid in settling this conflict, the works of Bertrand Russell, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and J. A. Thompson are zealously studied.
Since books of ethical intent are among the most popular at Princeton, there must be in other colleges a considerable amount of interest in the subject. That the place of science in life concerns the undergraduate is encouraging. If only a few retain this interest, America will benefit. To a nation accused of money madness, devotees of a less economic and more abstract subject than business bring a healthy balance. Mr. Young's few statistics disclose a desirable tendency.
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