by Charles Macomb Flandrau
When this book first appeared in 1897, the student newspaper the Harvard Crimson, was upset:
“With the exception of Haydock, all the characters are unmanly, snobbish, morbid or unhappy. That such characters exist in every college class is of course undeniable, but they are, after all, not typical of this University or, let us hope, of any other.
It is indeed admitted in the dedication that the book can lay no claim to being representative of Harvard, but this inconspicuous statement will be overlooked or soon forgotten by the average reader, and a distorted picture of life here will thus be circulated. If such a thing were possible, it would do no harm to confine the circulation of “Harvard Episodes” to Harvard undergraduates.
The book is, however, engrossing and exceedingly clever.
A distinct power of analysis and observation appears in every story, clear vision combining with fearless statement to produce conviction in the reader’s mind. We are indebted to the author for the best written book of fiction that has yet appeared on the subject of Harvard life, although narrow in its treatment.”
More than a century later, the characters may not seem unmanly, but the prose is still exceedingly clever.