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Complaint is made by some scholarly “The degree Ph. D. is no proof of fitness and very intelligent observers of educa- for the place; but, as now administered,
tional work and ten- puts a premium, not on the man who The Study of
dencies in this coun- has read wisely and thought maturely, Literature in
try that a too exclu- but on the man who has shown proficiAmerican Colleges. sive devotion to sci- ency in research.
It thus encourages ence is “dehumanizing" literary study in the student to devote the time he still American colleges. It is not that litera- needs for general reading and reflection ture is denied a place in the curriculum, of Greece and Rome is a hodge-podge of but rather that there is a failure to adopt to straining after a premature 'originalthe ways and means requisite to true ity.'”. For this reason he suggests that literary culture. This charge is laid a new degree is necessary as an alternaespecially at the door of the professors tive, if not as a substitute for the preswhose business it is to teach the world's ent Ph. D., a degree laying the stress great literary languages, ancient as well on aesthetic appreciativeness and linas modern, “As it is,” writes Irving guistic accuracy, wide reading and whatBabbit, of Harvard University, to the ever is necessary to the equipment of the New York Nation, “the more vigorous literary critic. It is an old complaint and pushing teachers of language feel that too many boys at school are taught that they must assert their manhood by Latin and Greek in a fashion that disphilological research. At bottom, they
At bottom, they gusts them with the masterpieces of litagree with the scientist and the dilet- erature in those ancient languages, and tante-in seeing in literature, the source now a like complaint is made in regard not of a law of life, but of more or less to the prevalent system of teaching modagreeable personal impressions. * ern languages. German and French, Perhaps a majority of the more impor- for example, are taught either from the tant chairs of ancient and modern litera- philological point of view or from a ture in this country is already held by business standpoint, and the priceless men whose whole preparation and treasures of German and French literaachievement have been scientific rather' ture are ignored. “From the lists of than literary. This situation is on the books read in schools and colleges and face of it absurd, in some respects even from publishers' catalogues,” says Mr. scandalous.”
Babbit, "one might infer that what is Mr. Babbit thinks the primary diffi- now taking the place of the masterpieces culty with which learned foundations second rate French and German novels. have to deal in this matter is the diffi- Even the best judges are impressionists culty of finding professors who are really in dealing with contemporaries, so that qualified to occupy a chair of literature, from the teachers' point of view one is
tempted to lay down the rule that the and there will be no chapel this mornonly good authors are dead authors." ing.”
Mr. F. C. Prescott, writing also to the It has been interesting to note how the Nation on this subject, makes the point religious life of the state institutions has that literature cannot be directly taught developed, as a wider horizon has made at all, but that a taste for good literature the limitations of denominationalism less can be induced by a proper system of conspicuous. In many places guild training: "The appreciation and enjoy- houses have been established under the ment of literature are matters extra- auspices of particular churches, to serve academic and belonging to the home. as rallying places for the members of
Literature, for the colleges is that denomination in the university, preone of these two things—history of lit- sided over by heads who give their whole erature and the general principles of lit- time to the religious interests of these erary criticisms. But,” he argues, “from students, and making powerful adjuncts these studies, as well as from the study to the work of the Young Men's Chrisof foreign languages, literary apprecia- tian association and the corresponding tion may come as a by-product. It will organization in the interests of women. come inevitably in proportion to the cul- The right man at the head of one of ture and the enthusiasm of the teacher.” these houses is able to do much good for
It is a familiar fact that doctors differ; the persons whom he desires to serve. but the great fact to be borne in mind He keeps in touch with the pastor of the here is that literature is educative, and home church from which the student that a knowledge of the best books in came, as well as with that of the church ancient and modern languages confers in the college town. He makes his guild a knowledge of the world—of mankind, house a home where students may come the proper study of man—which is in times of special need. There may not • hardly attainable from any other source. be that aggressive denominationalism Literature, deserving the name, is an em- which too often asserts itself unduly in bodiment of the world's most profound, the small institution traditionally comprehensive and subtle criticism of tached to a particular sect, but the influlife. It is learning, experience, reflec- ences are wholesome and the opportunition, translated in terms of life, and he ties for good are many. who is not a master of it is still to some It is entirely likely that the Wisconsin extent ignorant and immature.
clergyman who made the recent attack upon the religious life at the University
of Wisconsin did not mean to imply When the state university began to as- that the whole body of students was sume importance in western educational coated with a "religious veneer," strik
circles the friends ing as that phrase is and much as it exReligion at State of the denomina- presses the spiritual condition of thouUniversities. tional colleges sands of people of this generation. which had sprung
What he seems to have had in mind was up in numbers in every state found it the need for some sort of a religious esprofitable to set forth in warning words tablishment under the auspices of his the dangers which attended residence at own denomination. In working toward a seat of learning under the control of this he probably used stronger terms some other body than a board of trustees than were justified by the facts in the all members of a particular church. They case. Considering the increasing influeven had a story of a chapel service at ence which the state universities are one of the ungodly institutions, where, steadily gaining it is desirable that every after a painful silence, one of the pro- force which works for character and fits fessors upon the platform rose and said, for usefulness should be encouraged. It “The praying professor is absent today is entirely unlikely that distinct irre
ligious influences are allowed to have by the sons of wealthy men of family control at any university in this day and culture. The men who had in view when personal religion, even if it be a professional life were quick to catch thinly veneered, is counted of much the tone of those who aspired to be genworth to character.
tlemen of leisure and a certain diffusion Statistics in support of this belief have of refinement of manner was inevitable. been brought forward by Dr. George The colleges were small and the students Macadam, pastor of the Madison Meth- lived in closer intimacy than is possible odist Church, who last year conducted a in the large mass of students in a modern religious canvass among the 2,292 stu- university.
university. America was still fond of dents in the undergraduate classes. Of looking to Europe for models of deportthis number 1,648 were either church ment and overrated the prevalence of members or expressed some church pref- good breeding in the old world. Stately erence. One hundred and fifty-two ex
manners and stately language were highpressed no choice, and 492 could not ly esteemed. Newspapers and magabe seen.
The percentage of students zines were few and unimportant and the from the four classes who are either reading of the students was forced into church members or who expressed
ciassic channels. Athletic sports occuchurch preference was 70, a very high pied little time or thought. The percentproportion.
age of students who, upon graduation, In the various sororities there are 210
were or bade fair to be polished gentlemembers. Of these 115 are church
men was large. members, while 81 have some church Modern standards of deportment difpreference and 14 have no choice what- fer from the older ones. The colleges ever. The percentage of church mem
have felt the change. The elegant lanbers among sorority girls is 55, and that guage and stately demeanor of the of those having church preference 93.
heroes of fiction in the first half of the The boys in the fraternity houses nineteenth century would not be accepted have nearly as good a record to their as a pattern by college students of the credit as have the sorority girls. In the
first half of the twentieth century. The various fraternities there are 338 mem
students come from a wider range of bers. Of these 170 are church members. homes and enter college with different while 130 indicated some church pref- aspirations. The percentage of college erence, and 38 expressed no choice students who become lawyers or miniswhatever. Fifty per cent of them are
ters is dwindling yearly. Judged by the church members and 83 per cent. ex
standard of fifty years ago the students pressed some church preference
of to-day probably would seem to lack polish. Judged by the standard of to
day they probably carry away as large a The convocation orator of the Uni
stock of manners as they ever did. As versity of Chicago deplored the failure for taste and general culture, opportuni
of the large univer- ties are presented students to-day for Are Universities sities of to-day to
which students sighed in vain in the Lacking in General
much for older days. Every large university has manners, taste, and
its course of art and music. Courses are general culture as the smaller institu- offered in a variety of topics never tions of a generation or two ago. Is the touched in an old-fashioned college. The charge true, and, if it is, are the universi- poorest student to-day is nearer to a reties to blame?
alization of the wonders of science than The Chicago Tribune says: The col- the most broadminded of his ancestors. leges of the United States fifty years ago It is probably true that the polish were attended by men who had in view aimed at by the upper classes of society the calling of lawyer or of minister, and a half century ago is not to be found to
day either among college graduates or "In place of the simple old crossroads elsewhere. On the other hand, the uni- conceive a trolley terminal, with its netversities to-day are sources of culture to work of radiation, and the choice of your a wider range of humanity than the old schoolboy Hercules becomes a serious colleges reached. Manners may have matter." suffered in the case of the few, but the In order to fortify his position still gulf which of old separated gentlemen by further, Professor Manatt then refers to birth and breeding from the crowd has the confessions of Charles Francis vanished, and the average is higher than Adams in his recent Phi Beta Kappa adever. The universities are in nowise dress at Columbia. Mr. Adams was one responsible for the disappearance of the of the radicals at Harvard who were for old ideals, except as they have taught the ousting Greek, but now he has no faith greater worth of sincerity over cere- in the judgment of the boy of 18 who is mony. Time is of greater value now left to go as he pleases. He says of himthan then, mentality of more importance self: "I gave up the classics ; I got rid of than manners. There has been an actual mathematics, and I have since learned gain in knowledge, a loss in manners, that educationally the thing of al Ithings which is only a seeming loss, because I needed for my subsequent good was a truth is absolute and elegance only rela- severe and continued training in mathetive.
matics and Greek."
"Severe and continued training" is un
doubtedly what every student needs, and There is no other study from kinder
dancing about from trolley to trolley is garten to post-graduate school that has
not a good discipline. Possibly, therereceived
many fore, the Greeks may be gaining now Greeks Vs. hard knocks of late
that the trolley exercise has received a the Modern. years as Greek.
pretty thorough test. At least, they have The scientists and
the chance to attack, and it is natural the utilitarians have taken it for their
that they should make the most of the stock example of the folly of the old edu
opportunity. cation. People whose schooling ceased before they had a familiar acquaintance with the three Rs are quite sure that Excavations of the ancient city of most any language is better than Greek. Gezer, mentioned in early sacred and They line up with the other authorities
Report of Members and exhibit a fine contempt for the insti
carried on by mem
of Palestine tutions that attempt to teach such stuff
bers of the Pales
Exploration Fund. and the young men who waste their val
exploration uable time upon it.
fund for the last three years have deBut the Greeks of our colleges are not veloped numerous "finds,” according to dead yet. They are a hardy lot after advices from Jerusalem published in the their training at digging among roots, September number of the Biblical and they have faith and pride to sustain World. them. A long article by Professor J.
Eight cities have been found, superimIrving Manatt of Brown University posed upon each other, on the side of the shows how confident they are in the jus- old defense to the western road to tice of their cause. The professor be- Jerusalem from the mountains of Judah. gins by arguing that the wide
The culture, history, religion, and cusopen optional system is proved al- toms from as far back as 3,500 B. C. ready to be failure, and his have been revealed by architecture, jugs, Greek helps him with an illustration. weapons, masonry, etc. Like Hercules at the crossroads, the Claims that Gezer was the prehistoric schoolboy must choose his path, but home of “geezers” and that the cognoHercules had a comparatively easy time. men is a 5,000 years' survival are given