The following review of the March issue of the Advocate was written for the Crimson by J. B. Keogh '25 of the English Department.
Let a man bang out a popular story on his typewriter, or let him scribble away in some high artificial style to delight the elect, he cannot hope to do both well at one and the same time. I shall leave the envious reader to determine whether any writers of the March issue have thus erred in their art. I fear that some have embellished a typewritten sheet with the flourishes of an illuminated manuscript.
R. T. Sherman rather subtly draws for us the smug delight with which two sisters thrust at one another with kindly malice. Farther on, we have a romance of sorority life wherein the benefits of coeducation (absit omen!) are faithfully set down. Now both authors write of love after the college fashion, and accordingly you are bound to recognize some undergraduate friend "be he scholar, be he spark". Consider, for example, the diplomatic telephone call, the battle of wits in the margin of a library book, and there you are!
Story Has Cubistic Element
Beyond these a different motif enters into the stories which follow. Formerly the dream element gave us a vision of fair women or of a knock-'em-down contest between lions and dragons. Forsooth, we do those things better in our day, when on the stage you will find cubistic representations of the sub-conscious mind in action. Pop the lights on and off, revolve them in circles of green, yellow and red. Shoot off a pistol now and then; no doubt about it, you have caught the modern dream element. R. H. Sanger has the spirit of the trick when he writes,--"Hard squeaking sounds grew out of the distance. A door clanged metallically and an indistinct voice shouted 'Zzzzzzz-- Hall! -- -- -- Had he slept twenty years to find a new city grown up on the brown stone ashes of the old Borough." Apart from the dream introduction, there is nothing in his story of crooks, policemen, and the misguided poor, which could not appear fittingly in the more widely read periodicals of the country.
Quiet and restful is the picture of Marblehead in Brewster's study of New England. The way he leads you on to expect one thing and then gives you another is the most amusing and distinguished bit of writing in the whole number.
Current Issue Has Variety
Thus whatever qualities the Advocate may lack, it has variety. From the editorial reflections on college life, to the amiable puffing of the book reviews, we have a similar variety in the essays on Wall Street, Keyserling, snakes and drama.
The poetry of the issue has the uncertain virtue of clinking merrily in the rhymes. Some critic might hold that our college bards have no singing in them whatsoever. Perhaps it is more justly put to say that while their contents are rich enough, their throats are seasonably hoarse. I venture, however, that the keen ear of Dean Briggs himself would find pleasure in "He came upon a sunbeam to the fount, Unrippled mirror of that winged romance,--