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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 10. July 19, 1957

Spike '57 has Point

page 4

Spike '57 has Point

"The Spike. 1957," is a very good book. It is an official publication but there is nothing merely formal or stilted about it. The material is well presented and well thought out. As a review of the last three years in the University is admirable. There is some talent in the literary section, some glorious student writing in the reports, and, most important, thought-provoking articles in the section entitled "The Aims of the Univeritsy." "The Spike" is indispensable for anyone interested in the purpose and achievement of the University.

Feather quill cartoon

There is a prologue of three articles. John Dawick's editorial puts in a mild protest against the "higher-Highschool" conception of the University. Dr. Culliford in a straightforward article discusses the reform of the University of New Zealand, and Dr. Williams covers I square foot. 94 square inches in a closely-packed 27 paragraph 2,183 word survey of aollege accommodation.

The main body of "The Spike" is a group of seven articles by recognized authorities who discuss methods and aims of teaching and research in their respective subjects.

Professor Murray gives a timely restatement of the importance of the Classics for us. Here are none of the hoary old arguments we have heard before—that the study of the Latin language is an indispensable intellectual discipline, that it gives us a background for English grammar (both untrue)—but a measured and scholarly essay. Few will quarrel with his contention that those who sincerely desire to study the Classics in their original languages should be given the opportunity.

Professor Buchanan follows with an important and controversial article. He argues that Geography should, not be "academic" hut practical, should help man to better his environment, "promote better international understanding" and give "a balanced picture of the past and present life of human groups the world over, indicating their traditions and values, their problems and the solutions they have found or sought."

Frederick Page is urbane and cultured in has Survey of Composers at V.U.C. He says more about teaching music than about composers, but what he says is just. His criticism of the old harmony teaching is obvious, but still worth making. And I like the jump ". . . Berlioz, Debussy . . . in his chronological list of great composers. (They'll never be missed.)

Following Professor Buchanan's attack on the pretty-coloured-map school of geographers and Mr. Page's strictures on Kitson and Buck. Dr. Beaglehole's leisurely article on Historical Research seems a bit feeble. I his is disappointing from one of our best historical writers.

Mr. Braybrooke states the claim of the place of I aw in the University curriculum succinctly and as far as I can judge, wisely. To finish this section there is a contribution from the scientists. To write about Science for the layman at all is tricky. Professor Richardson solves this problem by a brightly written account of Zoo Department dredging in Cook Strait, which conveys something of the hazards of higher research.

A section "In Memoriam" follows, which is as such things should be, unless one doubts the propriety of heading an obituary notice "Alas poor Yorick . . . (etc)".

To the student reader the section "Varied Voices" will appeal strongly. C. Bollinger writes spiritedly about recent political activity at V.U.C. Unfortunate abbcrations—how could anyone believe that Milton is in any way a great or significant man?—must be forgiven for his preservation of the quotation from E. K. Braybrooke which heads his article.

E. A. Wood field discusses Sport in the University Comunity, and rightly deploring our facility in obtaining wooden spoons suggests a few possible remedies. But surely NZSUA have enough to control at present without getting their clutches (as Mr. Woodfield would like) onto the NZU Rugby Football Council?

Reviewing past Extravs. G. I. Rich (producer of Extrav for the last two years) notes an improvement of production in recent years. I think he is wrong when he says that political satire is not suitable for Extrav—but no doubt I am prejudiced.

Finally in this Action. R. O'Rourke writes knowingly about Proscsh and Girls' School mistresses, and D. G. Jamieson, in an article on Weir House, questions, rightly. I think, whether it is advisable to limit accommodation at Weir to first and second year students. I will not say much about the Literary Section. I understand J. M. Bertram is reviewing it and I don't want to stick my neck out. The work is mainly by younger writers. The verse of Arthur Barker, praised by Charles Doyle in his introductory comment, seems to me neat, but thin. C. Bollinger shows the influence of Milton, deplored by Johnson ad Eliot, at its worst, and J. H. Capic spoils a fair satirical poem by a fantastic exaggeration in the last line. On the other hand we have a genuine new poetic talent in Peter Bland. His sonnet sequence is one of the best works by a young New Zealand poet that I have read. Gordon Challis is nicely whimsical and C. Doyle (who modestly includes only two pieces) reveals a strength we might not have suspected.

The club Notes are adequate and informative. I especially appreciate the sly humour of the Women's Hockey Club notes. . . .

The type of "The Spike" (10 or 11 point Baskerville) is perhaps a little small, but owing to the amount of material I suppose this could not be helped. But the headings in larger sizes of Baskerville are extremely attractive and graceful. I liked the tailpieces of Peter Campbell (who must share credit with the editor for the line layout) and especially his cover Owl.

—Keith Walker.