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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1887)
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THE CLASSICS AGAIN.
It seems that we arc not yet through with the old discussion
as to whether or not the study of the Latin andGicck authors
should be abolished in our schools. This question has been
agitated for the past ten years by the greatest scholars, both
in Europe and America, and after several radical reforms had
been attempted, particularly in the German univcrsities.they
were found to have been impracticable, and have therefore
In a letter to the Century a very pleasant, yet shrewd.vicw
of the case has been presented by Prof. William C. Wilkin
son. The letter is written in that gentleman's usual graceful
and easy style, and docs not pretend to an exhaustive analysis
of the question. He merely contents himself with first cit
ing the arguments generally advanced by those who arc de
sirous of doing away with the ancient classics, and then pro
ceeds to present one or two general arguments in favor of
In his enumeration of the arguments made against the stu
dy of the classics the writer mentions two in particular, first,
that all of the productions of the best Latin and Greek writ
ers have been translated into the English language, thus ren
dering unnecessary a study in the original for the purpose of
acquiring the thought; secondly, that the German and French
languages are a sufficient equivalent for the Latin and Greek.
With this latter argument the letter has most to do. He
claims that the modern languages cannot supply the mental
training which the Latin and Greek, and particularly the lat
ter, are capable of giving. Professor Wilkinson is a teacher
of such wide and merited reputation that we should scarcely
dare to take exception to his views. Besides, our knowledge
of both classes of study is so exceedingly limited that a dis
cussion of the subject on cither one side or the other would
scarcely result in much benefit to our readers or to ourselves.
Wccannot,howevcr,rcfrain from saying, that judging of some
of the marks captured last term in one of the French classes
in our University, that language at least must possess consid
erable material for intellectual training.
However, much may be said on both sides of this interest
ing question; but as there seems to be no likelihood of any
immediate change in the present course of study it would be
wise, we think to let the subject drop, at least for a time.
There has been some little discussion of the "Exhibiton
Problem" in your columns and I would like to air my views
a little on that subject. I am aware that the question has
been discussed to sonic extent, perhaps enough, but it secnis
to ms that more can be said. I do not believe that it is an
attempt to hurt literary societies as one has said. The fact
that eastern colleges do not have societies, and therefore soci
ety exhibitions, docs not prove that these societies cannot ex
ist without exhibitions. And another thing strikes me as
rather amusing in one of the articles on the subject, viz: the
evident contempt the writer has for eastern colleges and their
spirit. Now I think a good deal of the west, this "great,
glorious, boundless west," and think I have as much enthusi
asm for the rolling prairies as the writer above mentioned; yet
it occurs to me that we cannot expect or hope to do better
than our eastern neighbors in the line of-colleges; and I be
lieve we would do better to add some of the eastern college
customs, including field day, to our 'distinctive features.' I
know that we boast a good deal of our "typical western inde
pendence and originality," but we should be careful not to
let our feeling get away with our judgment. There are some
good things in the eastern states, some things even that we
cannot hope to improve upon. But the same writer strikes
the key note of the situation when he says "keep up all cus
toms peculiar to the west as long as they are worthy of being
kept up." He should have added, 'and substitute customs
from the cast, or Halifax, when they improve upon those we
h: ve.' It seems to me that we have outlived annual society
exhibitions in June for many reasons. The principal one is
that of crowding Commencement week. Even if the public
is not obliged to go to all of the entertainments, the students
arc expected to do so; and it is hard on them. There is the
Baccalaureate address, which we all should attend, the Uni
versity Address if we have one as we should, then Com
mencement proper and the Levee, to say nothing of the Al
umni Reunion, parties, socials and one thing or another that
the students have to take in during the last two weeks of the
term. Add to these three society cxhibitions,and the average
student is nearly dead. There arc many plans of combining
the three into one, even without doing away with any o! that
society feeling so jealously guarded by the above mentioned.
Some of thus plans arc cursed as being eastern, some arc
not, and I believe one could be selected which would give sat
isfaction to all parties who can be satisfied with anything. I
learn that there has been an attempt made by the graduating
class to get excused from speaking on Commencement day
to relieve the pcople.thus virtually giving up Commencement
It may be that this would be acceptable to some, as Com
mencement is 'eastern' but it seems to me that it would be
very injurious to the University. As I said before, there are
several schemes to do away with two out of three of the three
exhibitions in June, and I think one of them should be adopt
HEARD IN THE HALLS.
We arc adjourned!
Who turned the gas oft?
Who paid your subscription?
Have you got the measles?
The Hesperian runs a bank account.
Messrs. L. E. and A. M. Troyer enjoyed a pleasant trip
home last Saturday.
Messrs. Almy and Newcomer were compelled to go home,
having taken a severe attack of measles, but both are now
One of our quartets took a wild freak of serenading one
nightlost week. Reports are not all in as yct,but of those on
hand, all are blanks.
Clara Morris seemed to possess a great attraction to the
students, judgng from the number who forsook the usual so
ciety programmes to attend.
Some very heartless persons insist on tclliug us a story
about Tutor Gcisthardt, in which his weakness for caresses
of the fair sex was made painfully prominent. Of course k
wasn't so, but it is really unexplainable how such stories be
Gentle "Annie" hath departed,
And great weeping it doth cause,
All the "club" are broken hearted
She eloped with Santa Claus.
Our Nrwstt Poet.