It happens every fall. Maybe only a few times, if you're lucky, but it happens. Somebody walks up to you, strikes you on the back, and says "What's new?" This year, the answer is simple. Just mention the collection of blinking green traffic lights on the road to Wellesley, the Howard Johnson's on the Square, the television set in Jim's Place, the Three Brothers' Valateria's fancy tailor-newsstand-shoeshine establishment on Mt. Auburn Street, the refurbishing in Felix', the shoe and book sections at the Coop, or the Music Department's appointment of Randall Thompson. They're all brand new. And so are 200 Radcliffe Freshmen.
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Here are some random notes brought on by some random thumbing through the course catalogue.
Professor Perry Miller is giving a Humanities Course called Classics of the Christian Tradition. Last year, I gather, he used a class-participation technique in this course. He frequently got to his points via answers to questions he threw at students chosen from his little list. This system forced the students to keep up with their work, which bothered many of them. The real trouble with the method, however, is that it makes students listen to each other, which is always dull, when they could be listening to Professor Miller, which is often fascinating and--this I judge by two other courses I have taken with him--sometimes inspiring.
Geology 155, the catalogue says, chiefly contains "a synoptic consideration of post-Porterozoic stratigraphy." I am relieved to learn that this course is not being given in 1948-49.
Several people who took Associate Professor Guerard's Comparative Literature 262 last year have recommended it to me. You read short novels--dozens of them--by Conrad, Dostoevsky, James, and so on; Guerard presents a Freudian interpretation of the books themselves and how they were written. Whether you like the approach or not, the reading is supposed to be tops.
Assistant Professor Louis Hartz is giving Social Sciences 118. I don't know anything about the course, but all the government concentrators I've ever met have put in plugs for Hartz. Their slogan goes "Hartz is great," and you can frequently hear small groups of them chanting it in unison.
Since I'm an American History and Literature concentrator, you can take this to heart: History 169 is the best and easiest course in the American History field. By far. And particularly for non-concentrators.
If you want a good literature course, be sure to look through the various languages sections in the catalogue. Some of the best courses in the college get hidden there. Slavic 155b is one of them, I hear.
If you want exercises with the Jordy Trainer and the Sangamo Attack Teacher, take Naval Science 32.
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Today we get our first term bills, and thus the University reminds us of one of its most annoying policies--the one that says you're a criminal if you don't pay your bill on time. It doesn't matter if the bill get lost in the mail, or if you broke your leg in your rush to get to the bank. If it's late, you're fined. Last year I was fined, and I went over to Lehman Hall to straighten it all out. The fellow in front of me was doing the same thing, and he had what I thought was an excellent reason for paying late, but all the secretary said was "I'm sorry, but it's by vote of the Corporation." She said it very politely, about seventeen times. Now after all, madam, the Corporation isn't God. It's a business. And most businesses grant that you aren't necessarily delinquent if you pay your bill late, so they make their penal codes flexible. Oh, can we not look to our own Corporation for equal generosity?