The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, November 24, 1892, Page 16, Image 16

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f.w (-v " at
'" Pa x Au3. MR
W , cyx flu
Tlic first College or University Literary
Societies were in the nature of a revolt
against narrowness, hard-and-fast conditions,
oracular assertions on the part of alleged in
structors, and undao devotion to medieval
methods in education. The demand for live
topics and for freedom of discussion led to
this volunteer work outside of the curriculum.
It was almost the only breath of fresh air
that ever reached the inner cloisters of the
earlier schools. The subjects treated were
sulliciently grave but were not antiquated,
tho discussions wore free and strong without
loss of dignity. The work differed from
that of the curriculum in that it was the work
of young men rather than of old men, and that
it looked forward rather than backward.
In the new world the school district be
camo if not tho unit of political life at least
the inscribed circle of social life. The school
house (which then as now was often the
general "meeting house") was the oneplnco
towards which social, civil, religious and
educational lines converged. Under these
conditions arose meetings half social, half
literary; partly for amusement, partly for
profitable instruction; with a program that
would attract both young and old, the wise
and tho otherwise. For many years these
gatherings, under various names, were pop
ular and successful; nor have they yet en
tirely lost their hold on public favor. Tho
"Liter'y" is not unknown in many school
districts in Nebraska and other western
With tradition in favor of something of
this sort in connection with institutions of
higher learning, and with impressions of
tho "Liter'y" quite clearly in mind, it is not
difficult to understand how University Liter
ary Socitios in the wosttookon their present
shape and form. They are a composite; and
not always with features in equipoise
There is a tendency at least towards undue