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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 8. October 6, 1942

On "Spike"

On "Spike"

"Spike" contains this year some four pages in all of verse and less than a dozen prose articles. Discussions of "love, and indeed of all emotional disturbances," the editor warns us, have been excluded; so too has been any serious treatment of the problems of the War. Yet, while one regrets any lacuna in a corpus of thought too slender for the practice of eclecticism, one must recognise that a restriction of scope is preferable to insincerity in the one case (if indeed I rightly assume that it is not eloquence that was lacking but sincerity and empirical knowledge), and meretricious identification with received opinion on the other.

Factual discussions bulk largely again this year, discussions which, the tenuity of their content once forgiven, stand convicted above [unclear: alifffor] sheer inexactitude of thought and incapacity to argue.

There is tittle creative writing but it is more satisfying. One piece, the longest in the review, is especially good, at once for its attractive fantasy, and its (broadly speaking) sustainedly good writing. One insists upon this question of accuracy and grace in expression, partly because of the general absence of genuine inspirational writing, but mainly because it is part of the business of a University that, having succeeded in encouraging men and women to think (and this we have done not infrequently) it encourages them further in a desire to find adequate means for communicating their thoughts to others.

The fourth "Spike" of the war is appreciably slimmer than its predecessors, but the misgivings the reader feels as he opens it quickly show themselves to be without real justification: the format is attractive, the printing—if one overlooks the necessity imposed on the Caxton press of printing its pages in two pieces—is sharp and pleasing, if somehow wanting in vitality. The standard is not low, and if the whole be lacking in unity and if it comprise the indifferent equally with the good, that is because "Spike" is less a review than an annual balance-sheet, in which one should seek only reasonably complete and reasonably fair documentary record of a year's writing.