Education: Fels's Naptha

Connoisseurs of humbug, suggests President William C. Fels of Bennington College, should not overlook the splendid prose of college catalogues. In 1951 Fels edited The College Handbook, a digest of hard-sell spiels by member institutions of the College Entrance Examination Board. When Fels recently reread it (in search of a description of his own indescribable girls' school), he shuddered "for my sins," penitently wrote a spoofing exegesis in the Columbia University quarterly Forum.

Fels finds that nearly every college, to the best of its ability, claims to be both urban and rural. In rural...

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