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Unobtrusively slipping by after formal classes are over, afternoon and evening lectures on countless subjects are presented by some of the ablest and most prominent members of the Faculty. The sad story is that these do slip by, unnoticed and unattended except by an alert few. Lectures open to the public as well as students have the smallest College representation, mainly because undergraduates forget time and place or consider the effort needed to go, fruitless. Unfortunately for them, they are passing by an irretrievable chance to learn something about subjects which are only names to the mind, or to pursue the loose ends of subjects which they are studying.
This neglected function falls under two heads: annual series of lectures given by the University, and lectures given under the auspices of a department. The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, the eleventh year of which will feature an outstanding Swiss architect, are typical of the former type. Likewise, Archibald MacLeish will read his poetry this week under the Morris Gray poetry fund; the week after, President Baxter of Williams will deliver three lectures for the Committee on the extra-curricular reading of American history.
The William James Lectures, already begun by the Philosophy and Psychology departments, head the second group. Similar are the lectures on modern music sponsored by the Music Department and numerous informal lectures, closed to the masses, on science, literature, current politics usually held in House common rooms. The latter, followed to advantage by meals in the dining halls, afford a great opportunity for knowing distinguished teachers outside the classroom.
On two counts, the variety of the lectures and importance of the lecturers, these open and closed addresses deserve greater attention. There must be one thing interesting in every one or they have no raison d'etre. If the student body has the gumption to read the Crimson notice column and the House posters, the lectures will receive the proper support.
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