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Spewed forth in various highways and byways during the average Harvard week are some thirty extra-curricular lectures and informal talks. Audiences attending them range from three to several hundred, while the subjects may be anything from Atom Smashing to the Future of the British Empire. Some of these lectures are scoteric and unpalatable, others vital and appealing; rarely do any of them obtain the hearing or the permanence to which they are entitled.
Quite a few get printed by hook or by crook; the Harvard Press publishes the Annual Inglish Lectures, while Law School addresses appear in the Harvard Law Review. But even through these channels not enough lectures become available for popular consumption. All too many talks, discussions, forums, symposiums, and conferences flash briefly in the scholastic skies, and then disappear into the "unknown bourne."
Here is a fertile field--ripe for undergraduate exploration. Harvard needs a quarterly or semiannual review in which would be reprinted a selection of the best lectures given here. Such a publication would have as a potential public not only members of the University, but alumni and the non-Harvard readers as well. Of course, it would have to be cheaply printed--aiming at popular distribution rather than artistic magnificence or scholarly ponderosity.
There may be a few mechanical difficulties to overcome. Some lecturers prepare a full manuscript, while others speak very informally. In the latter case someone would have to take shorthand notes, but this would be permissible in a magazine frankly devoted to reproducing talks just as they are given. Informality would have to be the keynote of such a publication. Ranging over widely varied fields of interest, the choice of lectures should and could aim at popular consumption. As John Mason Brown has put it, they ought to "stand on their feet--not on their footnotes."
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