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THE YALE LITERARY MAGAZINE.-Conducted by the Students of

Yale University. This Magazine established February, 1836, is the oldest col.

lege periodical in America ; entering upon its Fifty-ninth Volume with the

number for October, 1893. It is published by a board of Editors, annu-

ally chosen from each successive Senior Class. It thus may be fairly said

to represent in its general articles the average literary culture of the university.

In the Notabilia college topics are thoroughly discussed, and in the Memor-

abilia it is intended to make a complete record of the current events of

college life; while in the Book Notices and Editors' Table, contemporary

publications and exchanges receive careful attention.

Contributions to its pages are earnestly solicited from students of all depart.

ments, and may be sent through the Post Office. They are due the ist of

the month. If rejected, they will be returned to their writers, whose names

will not be known outside the Editorial Board. A Gold Medal of the value

of Twenty-five Dollars, for the best written Essay, is offered for the com-

petition of all undergraduate subscribers, at the beginning of each academic

year.

The Magazine is issued on the 15th day of each month from October to June,

inclusive; nine numbers form the annual volume, comprising at least 360

pages. The price is $3.00 per volume, 35 cents per single number. All sub-

scriptions must be paid in advance, directly to the Editors, who alone can

give receipts therefor. Upon the day of publication the Magazine is promptly

mailed to all subscribers. Single numbers are on sale at the Coöperative

Store. Back numbers and volumes can be obtained from the Editors.

A limited number of advertisements will be inserted. The character and

large circulation of the Magazine render it a desirable medium for all who

would like to secure the patronage of Yale students.

All communications, with regard to the editorial management of the

periodical, must be addressed to the EDITORS OF THE YALE LITER-

ARY MAGAZINE, New Haven, Copn.

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IT

T is often and truthfully said that the literary criticism

written by college men is generally artificial, unnatural, either heavy and dull or superficial and frothy, and so in either case valueless. It is further often contended that college men can not have the power to write criticism. A man can write well, it is said, only of what he knows and knows by experience, not indirectly. Therefore college men, whose knowledge of literature is, comparatively speaking, so limited, and is, so far as it goes, so largely gained through other men, not directly, can not be expected to write upon literary topics with power and genuineness.

But by arguing from the same proposition that a man can write well only of what he knows, a place for criticism in college writing may, we think, be established. The college man, because of the undeveloped state of his powers and the scantiness of his knowledge can not, it is true, do any great things in criticism. He can not, unaided, comprehend the literary tendencies of a whole period or form a complete estimate of an author's work. But he

VOL. LIX.

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can exercise the knowledge and the powers that he has upon subjects with which he is familiar, which must necessarily be not of wide reach, and he can express his opinions, which need not be without value. For if a man is ever to have good taste and critical insight they must begin to show themselves while he is in college, and if these qualities are backed by a thorough knowledge of, and an interest in his subject, there is no reason why he can not write criticism.

One fundamental trouble in college criticism is the method of the acquirement of the necessary knowledge. Men often choose their subject and then learn about it, instead of choosing it because they have learned about it and have become interested. It is not strange that criticism written under such circumstances should be mechanical and artificial. This way of choosing the subject is probably responsible, too, for the essays so frequently written on obscure subjects. Writers go with malice prepense into the out-of-the-way corners of literature and pick up subjects, in the hope, probably, of making an essay attractive because it is “something new.” Of course in cases when the subjects are prescribed, this way of choosing the subject is sometimes to a certain extent unavoidable, but it is hardly ever wholly so. It is, to be sure, easy to see why men choose their subjects so, and why also this way of writing leads to artificiality and insincerity. It is much easier and much more tempting to take an attractive sounding subject, read up a little on it in the originals, more in what other men have written on it, and then partly from original thought, partly from others' thought, construct an essay which shall be at least readable, than to take from one's own reading a subject perhaps not written on before, at least not in the particular way thought of, and then work out one's own salvation in the treatment of it. But if it is easier and more tempting it is certainly also destructive to hope of valuable writing.

In the finding fault with the learning about the subject after it has been chosen instead of before, there was not the slightest intention of speaking against further inves

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