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Two months ago George Boas, Professor of Philosophy in Johns Hopkins University, contributed to the Atlantic Monthly an article-letter entitled "To a Young Man Bent on Entering the Professorial." In a Mr. Boas assured the anonymous young man that after ten years exposure to academic airs, he would become thoroughly dried, dried up in fact. When this disparagement appeared, it was of course said that Mr. Boas, as an instructor, ought to know. But other people said that there have been devil's advocates before.
"The Professor Dines Out", which appears in the June "Harpers", has then a special interest as the second of a series. For this essay is but a triad of anecdotes tending to prove the thesis of its predecessor. In a word, the new professor in a provincial college receives few invitations to dinner and those he does receive lead to utter social failures. He finds the president a blusterer. When he forsakes gown to dine with town, he finds the attitude of his hosts vulgarly condescending; while dinner with a colleague proves, to say the least leaden. These, evidently, are the graphic examples to which "A Young Man Bent on Entering the Professoriat" should give his undivided attention.
But again one can only say that Mr. Boas has undoubtedly encountered these discouraging people. It is difficult, however, to shake off the idea that here is the devil's advocate again. It is hard to believe that a man endowed with sympathy could not find, even in "Vandalia", where Mr. Boas' professor fell on such rocky soil, people with vivacious minds, and to be sure that the fault did not lie chiefly with the professor who let bluster over-awe him. Evidently people were to him no even book, and he never passed beyond the title page.
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