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October 13, 1968 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-13

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l

Sunday, October 13, 1968

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

You search,
By WILLIAM BARR
Morning Noon and Night, by James Gould Cozzens. Har-
court, Brace and World, $5.95.
It is not unusual for a man in his sixties to undertake to ans-
wer the question, "Who am I?" by a review of his life. At least in
this respect Henry Dodd Worthington, the narrator in James
Gould Cozzens' first book in four years and first novel in 11, is no
exception. Old Henry, the most prestigious management consultant
on the East Coast, is a walking data processor, correcting his cli-
ents' difficulties, as he perhaps too freely admits, by pointing out
that two and two usually equal four. On the basis of success in his
work, he considers himself a "great man" of the order described in
Shakespeare's 94th sonnet, the first eight lines of which poem func-
tion as the novel's very appropriate epigraph.
Worthington firmly believes that there can be no separation
between philosophies of occupation \and of life in general: "The
job rules the man." Consequently, manipulation in the business
sphere demands corresponding activity in the personal. Obviously,
management of people is ethically questionable since it demands
that those who are to be so handled must be considered purely as
objects; as well, such activity requires that the manipulator him-
self be "as stone, unmoved, cold." Emotion has value only in that
the manipulator can exploit it to produce a particular response.
Whether Henry has always been a manipulator is open to ques-
tion. True to his modus operandi, he prefaces his confessions with
a well-considered discourse on the fallibility and selectivity of
memory. How much his having persisted for over 60 years and es-
peciplly how much his last few years on earth have further dis-
torted his necessarily subjective visions of the past, are questions
which are not and cannot be answered. The now-Henry can be
described, at least in part, by his manner of expression and the
material he-chooses to set down; the then-Henry must remain an
unknown quantity.

Ar.

Worth inon,

but

Summarizing Henry's life is an exceedingly complex task, since
the organization is associative rather than chronological. One
touchstone and point of departure for Henry's thought is a recur-
rent, formally dramatic dialogue, which seems to have occurred in
the fairly recent past, between Elaine-his only daughter-and
himself. Our hero also feels that a history of his New England fam- t
ily is indispensable to an understanding of himself, and according-
ly, enthusiastically traces his forbears through five generations.
Resultant data include considerable wealth; belief in the old, quasi-
aristocratic Puritan ethic of obligation; a strong tendency ,among
males towvard professorship at a small, family-dominated college;
and a good deal of inbreeding: his father and mother were, for ex-
ample, distant cousins. The totality of these observations imparts
significant limits to Henry's world view.
Henry's two marriages have failed. The first has terminated in
divorce, although both parties maintained enough amity to allow
his sound advice regarding her failing antique shop to have been
readily accepted. The second, to his secretary, has ended abruptly
with her escape through suicide. Elaine's life partially parallels
Henry's in businesslike outlook, and she outdoes his marital results:
she is twice-divorced, with the third parting imminent.
The reader clearly gains insights about these experiences from
the narrator's descriptions. Looking back, Henry is disspasionate,
aloof, watching puppets with his customary scientific detachment..
His own seduction, accomplished by an older, married, distant cou-
sin, is explicitly dramatic. He considers it a "low comedy," with
Young Henry totally incompetent in his role, an instrument by
which Mrs. Van den Arend can gain revenge against her hyper-
sexed, philadering husband. Although other motives for the ,se-
duction are at least as plausible, Old Henry chooses the one most
consistent with his own philosophy.
The seduction of his first wife (daughter of the college chap-.
lain), described in the present tense, is likewise pseudo-objective
and cynical, not least because Henry snappily refers to his partner

as "Miss Conway" througout the episode. He later manages to bed
down his secretary (daughter of the college bursar) by using his
knowledge of her need for a father-substitute. Marriage, in his
view, is the most efficient and the most socially acceptable manner
of satisfying pure physical desire.
Attempting to satisfy Elaine's requests for advice, Henry can
only produce a collection of cliches. Although he realizes his scraps
are useless, they are all that remain when his usual procedure has
already, obviously failed. Dealing with personal problems, Henry is
out of his depth. Indeed, those problems are in a totally alien
sphere. Because he can no longer feel emotion, he has no links with
its realm: "To pantaloon nearing impotence, screwing is all that
loving is."
Whether Henry ever did (or could) feel-all he can now say is
that he must have felt the conventional emotions-one cannont
know. Since Henry can only describe his younger self through an
old man's eyes, and since no one who knew him as a young man re,
mais alive to tell the tale, has a younger, differentHenry ever, ex-
isted?
Henry's use of dramatic description is indicative of his overall
technique. Management being his prime concern, he characteristi-
cally tries to manipulate the reader. He invites one to become a
man of the world, tough, fed up with sentimental nonsense, just
as-he is. The confidential, beckoning tone flatters and seduces the
reader-and uses him. Henry's apparently humble admission of
probable falibility softens and soothes-the reader, diminishing his
wariness and penetrating his defenses. These general attitudes al-
low Worthington, despite his constant assurances to the contrary,
to pretend to objectivity, and to increase, to his mind, the prob-
ability of success of his minor, more particular maneuvers..
One of the most brilliant of these techniques is his ability to
change his use of language without changing tone. The beginning
of a bed scene with his first wife is ornate, pseudo-romantic, high-
ly and consciqusly pretentious, but the description quickly meta-
morphoses, post coitum, into a matter-of-fact, sordid naturalism;

o ou feel?
both extremes. partly because the mean is non-existent, maintain
a profoundly cynical tone and more than a note of the voyeur.
Elsewhere, a lush depiction of Mrs. Van den Arend's beach
paraphernalia, possibly an attempt to describe through Young
Hank's eyes, yields to an abrupt shift in viewpoint, and the reader
finds himself in Mrs. V's ruthless soul, or, more precisely, back in
Old Henry's vision of that woman's mind.
The deceptive, apparent omniscience of the narrator is in-
tended to lead the reader to accept a highly rhetorical passage
without question:
A writer's writing, whether fiction or nonfiction; is to
serve as a weapon of persuasion, an exercise in ten-
dentious dialectics, an instrument of calculated pro-
paganda.
Whomever else this diatribe may apply to-and in a sense it does
apply to every author-its tone is surely consistent not only with
Henry's memoirs, but with his life (as he sees it) as well.
If Henry's real objective is not to answer "Who am I?" but
rather to convince the reader that "Henry is a great man," Coz-
zens' theme, and the results of his admirable and highly complex
technical craftsmanship, are quite different from the aim of his
character. The book requires that the reader use his brain; it is, in
the most approbative sense of the phrase, a "cerebral novel." One
must see, despite the incessant posturing, that Henry is the In-
complete Man, and, to this end, Cozzens' considerable use of irony
is very effective: Henry believes that "by temperament (the writer)
is concerned only with himself, and how to express himself." Of his
grandfather, about whom numerolts undeserved legends have taken
root, he can say,
I see now that my grandfather lived the life ... of that
rare happy man who can't see error in himself ...
My grandfather would have owned at once to numer-
ous daily-life faults of ommission or conmmission-but
in what he did, not in what he thought.

-sbooksbooksbooksbooksb

The
By FRED LaBOUR

Beatles re-emerge

between hard covers

The Beatles: The Authorized
Biography, by Hunter Davies.
McGraw-Hill, $6.95.
When #the Beatles stopped
touring in 1966 to concentrate
on recording and leisure time,
they, predictably sank partially
from the sight of the world's
publicity corps.
The frantic, screaming, hair-
pulling days of Beatlemania
were over. The mobbed concerts,
the pictures in Life of the little
girls throwing "jelly babies" at
Paul in Royal Albert Hall, the
thousands who nearly destroyed
every airport around the world,
lucky enough to receive the Bea-
tles, all of this was dead.
But even before the good old
days were properly laid to rest,
the rumor machines began their
work, and the public was in-
formed that not only were the
Beatles going to break up, but
that even if they stayed together
they were finished as musicians
and composers.
But John Lennon, Paul Mc-
Cartney, George Harrison, and
Ringo Starr, the four "moptops
from Liverpool," failed to dis-
appear into predictable semi-
ob'scurity, and they began to rise
again fro mthe dead in periodic
flashes of publicity or recording
advancement.
The first of these rebirths was
the' smallest, and was precipi-
tated by the release of Rubber

Soul. A few people remarked on
the new direction the Beatles'
music seemed to be taking ;and
"What's a sitar?" became a con-
temporary saying. But still, it
wasn't an earthquake.
Yesterday and Today caused
a bit of furor in the spring of
1966 with reports of an alleg-
edly "obscene" album cover
which featured the Beatles cov-
ered with blood a d holding
pieces of meat along with hack-
ed-up dolls. The cover was with-
drawn from the shelves, and re-
placed, of course, with an inno-
cuous group picture.
But then it really hit the fan
with the release of Revolver and
the concurrent Famous Lennon-
Jesus Statement. Now the music
issue became important, and ev-
erybody from Leonard Bernstein
to your corner pharmacist found
it crucial to analyze,. discuss, and
generally praise the new Beatle
sounds. This period perhaps
marked the, true beginning of
the Ignorant Rock Critic.
But the group submerged
again, and again the rumors of
break-up. John made a movie.
Paul scored a film. George visit-
ed Ravi Shankar, and Ringo
collected things. It appeared to
many that they were finally in-
dividualizing and going their
separate ways.
Then, Zap! Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band and it
happened again. Newsweek,
Time, Life, everybody jumped on
the bandwagon. The Beatles

were now pure and unadulter-
ated geniuses, the darlings of
the flower children, the epitome
of contemporary culture. Grad-
ually the uproar' subsided, after
the repercussions of Paul's LSD
statement, and things settled
down to the average daily press
report on the Beatles' meetings
with the Maharishi, Mia Far-
row, and Mike Love of the Beach
Boys.
But they got out of that scene,
top, after their Magical Mystery
Tour fiasco, both film and al-
bum, and into something new.
"Lady Madonna" rated a page
in Time and got the people talk-
ing, and now "Hey Jude" and
"Revolution" are stirring things
up.
Most of the publicity of this
latest move, however, is going
not to their music but to the
plethora of Beatle books that
have popped up this autumn.
There is the "authorized" ver -
sion of their biography, the
"unexpurgated" version bf their
biography, and an intellectual
"commentary." We are concern-
ed here with the "authorized"
version.
When an author attempts to
chronicle the history of his con-
temporaries, there is a large
trap waiting to snatch tis foot:
the trap of rather vainly inject-
ing his personality into his work
in a particularly obnoxious man-
ner. It has always seemed to me
a safer course to bio graph those.
who are dead, because the dead
lend themselves to a greater de-
gree of detachment and objec-
tivitk for the author than do the
living. The trap can be espec-,
ially stickytw i t h real-live,
trend-setting pop-hero figures
like the Beatles.
Hunter Davies, creator of
Here We Go 'Round the Mul-
berry Bush, gets trapped in The
Beatles: The Authorized Biogra-
phy. But other than that. it
ain't a bad book.
The meaning of the "Auth-
orized" in the title is that Dav-
ies was allowed to extensively
interview the Beatles, their f am-
ilies, associates,, and old.-time
Liverpool friends without fear of
censorship and under a supposed
Truth agreement so that Dav-
ies could tell us every little
thing they've done.-
As a result, we're bombarded
with a lot of irrelevant crap,
(Paul getting laid when he was
15), some interesting crap (Rin-
go's report card), and some val-
uable information. Valuable in
the sense that from studying
their past, we can understand
some of their present, and .per-
haps even prepare for their fu-
ture.
Davies weaves together the in-
dividual stories of each of the

Like grandfather, like grandson. The incomplete man must live in
just that manner: his very incompleteness makes it impossible for
him to see how he is incomplete. Henry's particular incompleteness
makes it impossible for him to be concerned with others, since his
outlook does not allow for other people as people. Far from being
without illusions, Henry has his own brand.
In By Love Possessed Cozzens, concerned with unearthing hid-
den emotions, uses a great number of references to Shakespeare's
works. The multitude of paraphrases of and quotations from
Shakespeare in Morning Noon and Night acts as a central and con-
tinuous irony. In Henry's mouth the passages become clever, sterile
cliches. He can detachedly note that in the 94th sonnet's octet
"Empson and then Spender detect equivocal substances," but he
thenproceeds to misinterpret the poem, disallowing Shakespeare's
viewpoint. lago, whose sole passion is to glory in a reason based
on a perverse world view, cannot understand relationships between
people. Henry's sole passion is similar although not identical to that
of Iago (and of Henry V, for that matter), for Henry does not and
cannot accept people as intrinsically valuable.
If the ironic sense of the epigraph to the novel describes Henry
Worthington, in another non-ironic sense it describes Cozzens,
Shakespeare, and any other good or great author. All authors are,
like management consultants, manipulators. At least at the outset
they control their characters. A theme, usually reducible to a "two
plus two" type of statement, presents a "solution" (more an ob-
servation) to (or on) a problem. But authors, unlike management
consultants, are concerned with expression and communication of
experience, are interested in, sympathetic towards, concerned about
human beings: people, in a very real sense, are their business.
There is a certain barr'en quality to Morning Noon and Night:
the closing "Good night, ladies" echoes The Waste Land as well
as Ophelia. The barrenness-perhaps unavoidable, doubtless inten-
tional, possibly but not necessarily connected with more than Hen-
ry's existence - renders Cozzens' landscape, if wondrously corplex
and technically. dazzling, still cold and forbidding. As such, this
cerebral work forces the reader not only to use his reason, but also
to bring his emotion to the novel.

cl

Hamburg: Pounding the instruments and screaming at Germans

. */enough, already
By 'JOHN GRAYF
The Beatles: The Real Story, by Julius Fast. G. P. Put-
nam's Sons, $5.95.
William F. Buckley once compared the Beatles to a sliced ba-
nana and kidney sandwich. Julius Fast's new "biography" of the
Beatles demonstrates less taste than Buckley and worse taste than
his sandwich.
The book is a disorganized, disoriented, anecdotal, atrociously
written, non-informational mess. It is a greatly expanded Classics
Comic Book, Mr. Fast, who stands to make a good deal of money
off of people who don't know any better or who confuse his fiasco
with Hunter Davies' authorized biography, is either a terrible wri-
ter (which I doubt he has won an award for mystery writing, of all
things) or an unashamed opportunist who turned out this book in
a week in an attempt to pocket lots of money (which I believe-I
quote from the dust jacket: "Among his most recent books is What
You Shoul Know About Human' Sexual Response").
Fast's book contains no new information for an avid reader of
16 magazine or the Saturday Evening Post. His critical observa-
tions are limited to the reading level of a nine-year-old. His factual'(
material is limited to that which has already appeared in print or
on tape or film. He has never met any of the Beatles.
The style is interesting as an example of how to write a book
fast. It is essentially a long, string of quotes from magazines and
published interviews, connected by some of the most outrageous
fluff that ever passed for insight.
Example:
"While Time heard their songs as mainly 'Yeh! screamed, to
the accompaniment of three guitars and a thunderous drum,' The
New Yorker was more perceptive. 'Their music is marked by a
strong rhythm that has come to be known variously as the Liver-
pool Sound and the Mersey Beat'."
Mighty perceptive, isn't it?
Occasionally Fast apparently loses his place in his file of clip-
pings and enters an entire paragraph of scintillating commentary
nn t 4he Amer'ican Scene norTLife In General

Beatles into a, somewhat co-
herent whole, taking them from
their childhoods to the skiffle
groups to Hamburg to the Cav-
ern to the United States, Ed
Sullivan, and the world.
It is even a generally inter-
esting story, I suppose, to some-
one who does, not give a damn
about rock, but Davies makes
it mildly naddening by falling
into the trap I mentioned be-
fore. Example: "The relation-
ship between Paul and Stu, the
petty jealousies a n4d rows, is
not too difficult to explain. In
a way they were both competing
for John's attention:"
Davies' arrogant br.nd of pop
psychology peppers the book,
but it can be overlooked. The
direct quotes from the Beatles
and Co. are easily the most sat-
isfying part of the story because
they don't have, the press-release
or analyzed aura around them,
In letting the Beatles speak so
much for themselves, Davies has
done us a true service.
The development o f the
Beatles' music from skiffle to
"I Am the Walrus" is report-
ed rather fabtually, with a cer-
tain emphasis on t h e years
that came before fame: those"
sweaty months in Hamburg
pounding the hell out of their
instruments and screaming at
the Germans, the informality of
playing at lunchtime at t h e
Cavern They were a tough
Today's writers,.. .
WILLIAM BARR, a graduate
student in English, is an in-
structor in English 123.
FRED LaBOUR and JOHN
GRAY are juniors in the liter-
ary college who regularly write
on rock music under the names
Little Sherri Funn and Little
Suzy Funn, respectively..

young group of men in those
years u n t 1 Brian Epstein
smoothed out the rough edges.
They played loud, raucous, ob-
scene, delightful music. (Per-
haps the best recorded example
of what The Beatles probably
soun,,ded like in Hamburg, where,
they really started coming of
age musically, is an album called
"Johnny a n d, the Hurricanes.
Live at the Star Club in Ham-
burg").
Davies later relates some
neat stuff about the circum-
stances surrounding how t h e
group has written some of their
songs, especially the Sgt. Pep-
per things, and how John and
Paul in particular feel about
people "analyzing" their songs.
Finally, we're treated to an
encapsulated view of the Beat-
les today, which is now the
Beatles six months ago. It seems
to me that at that time, with
the Maharishi's moon on the
wane, they entered a time of

transition, much like the times
of Rubber Soul and "Straw-
berry Fields Forever," a time
between modes and directions,
a time to sort things out. "Lady
Madonna" seems to have come
just as the transition was end-
ing, and now "Hey Jude" has
marked a new era. The Beatles
are definitely into -something
new which their forthcoming al-
bum-set should clarify great-
ly for us.
As evidenced by the book, the
Beatles have spent a large por-
tion of the last two years get-
ting themselves together a n d
I believe the result will be found
in the rejuvenation of their mu-
sic that has just begun. And
now, with Variety reporting the
possibility of live Beatle per-
formances in London before
Christmas and television ap-
pearances soon after, it appears
as if the cycle has reversed, and
they are ready to come out into
the world.

DON'T MISS
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.THIIE.CI RCILIE
Zen, Yoga, Tarot
.Alchemy, Astrology, Theosophy
Tarot, Magic, Parapsychology
215 S. STATE .. . 2nd Floor f
ESCAPE FROM REASON.
Man is dead. God is dead. Life has become meaningless existence,
man a cog in a machine. The only way of escape lies ir a
non-rational fantasy world of experience, drugs, absurdity,
pornography, an elusive 'final experience,' madness . . . If this is
the twentieth-century mentality, how did it come about? And
how can the Christian faith be made meaningful today? In this
highly original book Dr. Schaeffer traces the way in which art and
philosophy have reflected the dualism in ,Western thinking intro-
duced at the time of Rennaissance. Today the dualism is ex-
pressed in a despair of rationality and an escape. into a non-

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