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DEPARTURE OF A SCHOLAR

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The homeliest tribute paid to the reign of George Lyman Kittredge came from a member of the sophomore class who, upon hearing of his resignation, said mournfully, "And I never took his course." This attitude, half-wistful, half-outraged, is typical of Harvard men in whose eyes it is rank injustice that Kitty should not go on forever, He is as thoroughly Harvard as "Veritas", the Holden Chapel, or the fireplaces in Holworthy Hall, and to generations of students at this university Shakspere is not so much the greatest poet of the ages as he is the subject of Kittredge's scholarship.

It is customary with great men to ask the secret of their success. The success of Kitty lies in the simple fact that he had no secret. His Shakspere was the writer of beautiful poetry and stirring drama, rather than the cabalistic soothsayer lesser minds have tried to make him. Not for Kittredge a mystical analysis on the knocking on the gate in Macbeth. To him this scene was merely another instance of the Bard's incomparable use of contrast in dramatic craftsmanship, and the unravelling of the mysteries of Elizabethan language coupled with an appreciation of Shakspere's poetry was all that Kittredge attempted. He saw Shakspere as a man, writing for his Elizabethan audience the most thrilling and poetic plays he knew how, and if later critics have chosen to read more than this into the plays, it is their own concern.

Any comment upon the departure of Harvard's most eminent professor must have the disturbing sound of an obituary. Considering the vital role (shall we say "lead"?) he has played in Cambridge for so many years, this is inevitable. But George Lyman Kittredge is choosing merely rest, never inactivity. To him all Harvard men wish a continuance of the success he has always known and the hope that he may extend his already full seventy-five years into a true century of progress.

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