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Philosophy 4

Owen Wister

Book Overview: 

Owen Wister's wry humor enlivens this comedic story of three sophomores during exam week at Harvard.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Christian! His notes were full: Three hundred pages about Zeno and Parmenides and the rest, almost every word as it had come from the professor's lips. And his memory was full, too, flowing like a player's lines. With the right cue he could recite instantly: "An important application of this principle, with obvious reference to Heracleitos, occurs in Aristotle, who says—" He could do this with the notes anywhere. I am sure you appreciate Oscar and his great power of acquiring facts. So he was ready, like the wise virgins of parable. Bertie and Billy did not put one in mind of virgins: although they had burned considerable midnight oil, it had not been to throw light upon Philosophy 4. In them the mere word Heracleitos had raised a chill no later than yesterday,—the chill of the unknown. They had not attended the lectures on the "Greek bucks." Indeed, profiting by their privilege of voluntary recitations, they had dropped in but seldom on Philosophy 4. These bl. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Maybe NON fiction? So florid and foreign it may as well have been Shakespeare ... which is what I am finding with these retro works from 100+ years ago. Seemed so coy & cloying one may easily imagine homosexual currents throughout.
Contrasting with coming up on my own comps in a week I found Harvard

An easy story that centers around two Harvard University students, Billy and Bertie, and one of their courses, which is of cause Philosophy 4. This book gives the reader a tiny glimpse into one of life's trivial events and would have been much memorable if it had a more rounded plot.

Not nearly so engaging as The Dragon Of Wantley, but not wholly without charm and cleverness. And poor Oscar ... Poor, studiou Oscar.

An enjoyable short read.

Interesting story.

You get partway through thinking the two rich characters are buffoons, but then at the end they actually have thought about philosophy, while their classmate the tutor has just memorized the professor's lectures.

Goodreads may very well be an unfair platform for a book like this. In no way is it "good" or worthy of "stars." The book is over a hundred years old and has a thesis more than any development or plot. That thesis seems to be a criticism of traditional academia and a fidelity toward curriculum over