The Path to Public Service at SEAS


Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum


Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President


Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study


Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Off Key


This is an Independent column and may not necessarily agree with CRIMSON editorial policy.

The Phariscca

After all the outery that followed Mr. Santayana's novel, to the effect that he was making fun of the Boston character, it is nice to see the truth at last revealed, all stark and naked: that the Boston character makes fun of itself--really.

Mr. Marquand's current novel in the form of a memoir is really very nice. However much the codfish aristocracy may affect to ignore it, or to be very politely amused-but-still-uncomprehending, it has accomplished a difficult artistic end. In depicting the wonders and the natural privileges appertaining to life in Boston out of the months of the especially blest themselves, he has accomplished no mean success. And the last man to deny that would, let it be hoped, be Mr. M. deW. Howe, your grandmother's friend.

Unfortunately all the George Apleys and their wives seem to think they are being made game of. Certainly neither the nice Mr. Santayana nor even Mr. Marquand meant to do that. They were merely showing them off, as one shows a most prized heirloom. George Apley, with his five-button coat, is to America as the Breton peasant woman with her super-headdress is to France; perhaps some day he too will adorn the pages of the National Geographic on the dentist's waiting-room table.

The trouble is not with the authors, but is in the self-conscious questioning attitude with which the sitter receives his portrait. Sensitive readers, who did not feel themselves portrayed, and who were thus able to maintain a comparative detachment, were a little saddened by, no mater how much they admired, the unbending Mr. Apley. But as usual the most thorough condemnation came from the condemned. The saddest sentence of all came from the Boston Evening Transcript, in discussing Mr. Marquand upon the occasion of his engagement: "'George Apley' is Mr. Marquand's best book. Mr. Edgett of the Transcript did not find it amusing, but in general it had a good press and is still among the best sellers."

It is the Mr. Edgetts, not the George Apleys, that have perverted the Puritan from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.