A striking symptom of the much-heralded revival of student interest in social and philosophical problems has been the proliferation of student-edited magazines. In scope they have ranged from purely campus publications, such as Comment, to nationally-distributed efforts such as New University Thought. Their contents have ranged from attempts to influence intraparty politics (Advance), to ideological disquisitions (The Conservative), to high academicism (Adams House Journal of the Social Sciences), to literary works and essays more or less focussed around a religious motif (The Current, Mosaic).
While the purposes of such publications diverge, all face certain basic dilemmas. One of their implicit functions, for example, is to provide a forum for undergraduates and graduate students who are not in a position to express themselves in professional journals or national media. Yet to limit one's pages to student writings may mean to accept inferior works in lieu of the better ones which faculty members and outside writers might submit if given an opportunity. The problem is complicated by a tendency of students, given a limited amount of reading time, to prefer articles by "authorities" to the writings of fellow students.
Another goal many student magazines have assumed is to present ideas and viewpoints which, because they are allegedly new, radical, or not yet completely formulated have not attained the "respectability" required for publication before a wider audience. Yet all too often, newness has become a euphemism for inanity, radicalism a boring tendentiousness, and embryonic formulation an excuse for sloppy writing and even sloppier thinking. The shoes of i.e., The Cambridge Review, seem rather difficult to fill.
A third dilemma concerns the relation of the student-edited magazine to other universities and the general public. One of the most pressing needs of an intellectual community such as the University is for a forum where interested people of different rank and different fields of work can exchange ideas. Yet, of course, complete exclusion of writers outside the community poses a danger of parochialism.
The Harvard Review, whose second issue has recently been placed on sale, makes a conscious effort to resolve these problems. If the first two offerings are any indication the effort has largely succeeded.
Following the example of Daedalus, the Review has devoted each issue to a single topic. In November it was "The Atlantic Community," this time it is "The American South." The editors have eschewed the common practice of running quasi-moralistic articles on the region's racial problems. They present, instead, a series of fairly well-balanced and objective discussions of Southern character, social structure, thought, and literature.
In "The Elusive South," William R. Taylor, a former assistant professor of History now on the Wisconsin faculty, suggests that the quality of being Southern in present times does not particularly involve agrarianism, either as an ideology or as a way of life. He defines its basis, rather, as a fairly intense "sense of community...(a) deep concern with the nature and complexity of human relationships bound as they are to a particular time and a place," and suggests lines of investigation which take this peculiarity into account.
His thesis receives indirect support from Professor W. Y. Elliott's article on the fugitive poets which describes Professor Elliott's personal acquaintanceships with many of these literary figures in the charming manner familiar to many who have heard him lecture. In addition it expounds some of the ambivalences and complexities in the group's literary and political thought.
Readers who turn next to Robb K. Burlage 3G's "The New South: Rose Water, Veneer, and Progress," should carefully avoid being deterred by the first two pages. Mr. Burlage's opening rhetoric ("Dixie is booming and yet...Dixie is booming, and yet...") seems more suited to a political campaign than to an intellectual magazine. The rest of the article nevertheless contains a highly factual analysis of Southern industry-chasing programs, points out several uncomfortable dilemmas these policies have created.
Most of the remaining articles sustain the general high level. Theodore Marmor 1G's article on Calhoun notes the conflict between Calhoun's Puritan temperament and Southern Cavalier notions. It suggests that Calhoun, because he stressed innate worth and personal accomplishment over ascribed worth and gentlemanly living, more truly represented the whole South at the time of the Civil War than did the Carlylian rhetoric of some other writers.
Elliot H. Stanley '63 removes the problem of academic freedom in the South from the momentary context of segregationism and Birchery. He places it in broader perspective as both a general problem of state-supported education and an aspect of traditional Southern resistance to alleged Yankee "imperialism."
Perhaps the weakest article in the entire issue is Richard B. Stone '63's discussion of the Taft-Eisenhower fight for delegates in Louisiana in 1952. Stone, who attended the 1960 GOP convention as an honorary Sergeant-at-Arms, brings his objectivity into question by a display of apparent pro-Eisenhower bias in the opening paragraphs. Without explanation, he declares that Taft was an "ultraconservative isolationist" and that "Many believe that Taft could never have beaten Stevenson, and that he was exclusively the candidate of rock-ribbed Republicans."
From then on the article tells how the Taft Republicans in Louisiana resorted to elaborate chicanery and blatant bossism to prevent a supposedly pro-Eisenhower rank and file from exercising their democratic rights. It also tells how, once the villainous Old Guard was overthrown in the national convention. Louisiana Republicanism prospered under its new, Modern Republican leader, John Minor Wisdom. Stone writes well, and his story may be true, but his tendencies towards overstatement undermine his credibility somewhat.
The article suffers further from an absolute failure to place the incident in any sort of broader context. A charming tale, perhaps, but who cares? Perhaps the editors of the Review should be more reluctant to open their pages to articles on party politics by students who are intensely involved in such enterprises.
The remaining two articles, Bruce M. Galphin's discussion of how Georgia desegregated peacefully, and Susan B. Schwartz '64's analysis of Negro voter registration in Raleigh, N.C., restore the generally high level. Galphin is a Nieman Fellow from the Atlanta Constitution, and devotes himself to a presentation and analysis of the concrete facts which he, as a journalist, had occasion to know rather well. Unlike Stone's piece, Galphin's article has more than local significance; Georgia stands almost alone among Deep Southern states in having accepted, however unwillingly, the principle of school integration without violence: perhaps it will set a pattern for the future.