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October 27, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-10-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE MICHIGAN UAll.V

IVI]OTTA A IV ^t**VIIMWIW am #AA*

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Et 27, 1967

::

MODERN LETTERS' GATHERING:
Novels, War Dominate Conference

- I

a

Across Campus

By MERRILL GILFILLAN
Special To The Daily
IOWA CITY-The Second Bien-
al Conference for Modern Let-
rs-sponsored by the University
Iowa Department of English
d Center for Modern Letters,
ok place here Oct. 19-21.
The designated theme of. the
thering was- "The New Gro-
sque, or, Is There a Post-Real-
:ic Fiction?" Almost in spite of-
e topic, the various speakers
esented their 'views on diverse
oblems, and made no attempt to
un up."
One member of the audience de-
ribed the residue as "schizo-
iLenic;" that is, there emerged
unrelenting dualism from most
the .participants: the domain
literature, especially the novel,
d the' concern for the Vietnam
ar comprising the elements.

Warner Berthoff, professor of
literature at Harvard, sought to
define "the trouble" in which the
novel as "genre" finds itself to-
day. . A central problem for the
form, according to Berthoff, is
the lack of confidence in the nar-
rative approach, in the passage of
time. This mistrust engenders an
apocalyptic attitude in the novel-
ist, likening him, and his art, to
certain religious revival efforts of
the last century in America.
News Movies
Along with this artistic distrust,
Berthoff finds that the American
reading public outside of the uni-
versity prefers, perhaps justifiab-
ly, the reportage of other media
for narrative news. He gave as
examples the cinema and auto-
biography. The novel since World
War I has become a means for
"copping out," and thus has been

theatre

i

'Mime Troupe Opens
With Italian Satire

The San Francisco Mime Troupe,
resh from its seventh season of
resenting free commedia dell'arte
'erformances in the parks of the
ay Area and throughout North.
rn California, and as part of
heir first international tour, will
ring its current production
I,'Amant Militaire" to Detroit this
aturday night at the Detroit In-
titute of ..rts,
"I'Amant Militaire," translated
rom Goldoni's Italian play by
3etty .Schwimmer and adapted
or commedia presentation by
oan Holden, deals with the diffi-
ulties to both visited and visitors
hen a. large, powerful country
evades and occupies a smaller
ation in the thtroes of civil war.:
'he 'Mime Troupe has'attempted
o follow both the practice and the
pirit of the roving Renaissance
layers of sixteenth century Ital-
,n commedia, choosing contem-
orary targets for satiric refer-
ace, retaining the contemporary
me of the Italian popular
medy,
There are the stock commedia
aaracters - the grasping mer-,
hant, Pantalone; lovely daugh-
r; shrewd servant, Brighelle;
old lover; plus General Garcia
f the invading army, a revolting;
nincing amalgam of every mili-
try madman and our own beloved

president." Eight actors sing and
dance, play recorders, bang cym-
bals and tambourines, improvise
and generally recreate the chaotic
commedia atmosphere, slaughter-
ing several sacred cows in the
process.
R. G. Davis, director of the
troupe, says of "L'Amant Mili-
taire": "The show is meant to
disturb as well as to entertain,
It disturbs us as performers, and'
I am willing to expose myself to
the. same thing we. exposed the
audience to. We are not interested
in listless audiences that go to the
theatre only to verify their own
prejudices. It is the conception of
puritan culture that art should
endorse its morality and flatter
its patriotism.
"We take a. risk," Davis con-.
tinues, "in, putting these shows to-
gether, and we ask that the aud-
ience also take risks. We want to
deal with hypocrisy in America. I
try to deal with it onstage for all.
I can't say 'this is the conclusion'
to the audience. I have to let them
decide collectively and individual-
ly. Hopefully their conclusions will
be the same as ours. If not, then.
it's didactic theatre and I might
as well have written an essay. We
cannot agree that it is disloyal to
tell what is happening all around
us as we see it. The Vietnam war
is obscene."

subservient to the forces it sought
to attack.
A new threat of intellect is
needed, Berthoff said, before our
age can produce novels of im-
portant size.
R. G. Davis, director of the San
Francisco Mime Troupe which
performed each evening, advocat-
ed a more direct concern among
artists for "the community," the
larger social and political forces
in America. The novel must be
written, he said, with more than
the artist's relief as goal, or else
not be written at all.
Speaking with Davis was poet
and novelist Robert Creeley, who
described the act of writing as
"the creation of a place to be," a
gesture toward possibility, and
proposed that today's writer must
demand that "place" wherein
words become acts.
Ulysses Literature
Richard Poirer, professor of
Rutgers and an editor of the Parti-
san Review, shared the stage next
with Paul Krassner, editor of "The
Realist." Poirer's subject was "The
Literature of Self-Parody;" as seen
in "Ulysses." This literature is
characterized by art's exposure of
its own limits at the same time it
continues to develop them.
This trend, Poirer said, has
manifested itself inover-writing,
self-contained and boring novels,
in which everyone waits for the
deflation of everything.
Paul Krassner presented "Eu-
logy for Lenny Bruce," a delight-
fully entertaining spoof on court-
rooms and censorship dedicated to
a man who knew them both so
TONIGHT
THE THING FROM
ANOTHER WORLD
dir. Howard Hawkes, 1951
Tomorrow-
CURSE OF THE
(AT PEOPLE
7:00, 9:00 and 11:00
ARCHITECTURE
AUDITORIUM
STILL ONLY 50c-

well, with references to every-
thing from Eleanor Roosevelt's
bosom to our President's life in
bed.
The conference concluded with
Carl Oglesby discussing "The Con-
temporary Defeat of Fiction." Og-
lesby's contention was that every
individual is inevitably a political
and historical agent. He cited
Camus as representative of the
modern artist-man's failure, that
being his relegation of history to
a lower morallevel than art. This
tendency in the artist is con-
comitant with the refusal among
readers to "read historically" and
demand an "existential" truth.
Meeting's Conclusions
Each of the conference speakers
acknowledged, in various degrees,
the final absurdity of such a meet-
ing, based as it was on a theme
chosen far in advance. Even the
conference chairman admitted the
prominence of cocktail parties in
his memories of the last confer-
ence.
The ideas which emerged were
similar in their tone of concern,
and in their appeal to the indi-
viduals present to engage in their
own "thing" whether it be read-
ing, writing or revolting, pulling,
no doubt, for the novelists some-
where.
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Four addresses will be deliveredl
at the University next week dur-
ing the ninth annual Seminar on{
Canadian-American Relations. 1
Thursday, Nov. 2, the Hon. Paul1
Martin, Canadian minister for ex-1
ternal affairs, will deliver an ad-1
dress at 7 p.m. in the Michigan;
Union Ballroom. Thursday's ses-
sion will open at 10:30 a.m. in the
University Assembly room with az
talk by Dr. James Eayrs of the
University of Toronto and H. Van:
Cleveland of the New York City1
First National Bank. A keynotej
address will be given Monday, Oct.
30, in Windsor, Ontario, by Dr.
Harry Johnson of the London
School of Economics. Former Uni-
versity Prof. Kenneth Boulding
will address the seminar on Nov. 1
in Windsor.r
News coverage of the Detroit
riots will be emphasized during a
two-day conference in Detroit in
which journalists, educators, and
public officials will discuss "Fu-
tures in the Fourth Estate."
Included among the speakers
will be Douglass Cater, special
assistant to President Johnson;
Justice Theodore Souris of the
DIAL 8-6416

Sheldon Levy of the University's
Center for Research on Conflict
Resolution. Conferences will be
held Friday, Nov. 10, at the Rack-
ham Education Memorial, and
Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Pick-
Fort Shelby Hotel.
* * *
"Fresh Approaches to the Con-
cept of a Person" will be the sub-
ject of a University Sesquicenten-
nial conference here Nov. 2-5.
Noted authorities from the Uni-
versities of Paris, London, Harvard
and Cornell will speak on ap-
proaches to the study of the mind.
All sessions will be held in the
UGLI's multipurpose room. A
panel discussion involving all par-
ticipants will be held Sunday
morning at 10:30.

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James Mchener's novel reaches the screen

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