THE MICHIGAN DAILY SLU
American Oriental Society
Holds Writing Symposium
By SUSAN FARRELL
The American Oriental Society,
this year having its national meet-
ing at the University, held a sym-
posium on the uses of writing
Prof.Leo Oppeheim of the Uni-
versity of Chicago said although
the idea of making thoughts con-
form to writing was not developed
in the Near East, writing is a char-
acteristic feature of the area. Since
the ancient Near East was an im-
portant center of cultural diffusion
the idea of writing spread from
there, he noted
Writing Maintained Traditions
According to Prof. Oppeheim.
writing was 'used to record data*
such as administrative records,
sacredilaw, scholarly research and
codiflid laws for future use.
Writing was also used for com-
Inscriptions on pyramids and
mortuary writipgs, he explained,
were addressed to the gods and
not intended for human eyes. They
protected the dead person and
made his actions effective. The
uses of writing for such purposes
is alien to the Western tradition,
Prof. Oppenheim said.
Arabic Uses Unlimited
Prof. Franz Rosenthal of Yale
University said that the true pur-
pose of writing in the Islamic Near
East was for the writing of the
Koran and other useful and desir-
able things. But Arabic writing
was never limited, he explained.
It ranged from lofty philosophi-
cal writings on the nature of God
to the bills and records of mer-
chants to the vulgar scribblings
on walls, in accordance with the
divergent forms of Arabic speech.
Even though writing was used
for practical, utilitarian purposes,
the peculiar and remarkable char-
acteristic of Arabic writing is its
sacredness, Prof. Rosenthal said.
Emphasized Sacred Books
The sacredness of writing was
due to the Koran's emphasis on
religious books and, the Islamic
concept of the meaning of the
"word of God," he said.
Writing was also a highly es-
teemed form of artistic expression,
he said, and was used in the dec-
oration of buildings and rugs.
Prof. Paul Thieme, also of Yale,
explained the ancient Indian
method of preserving their litera-
ture from century to century by
committment to memory.
Ancient Poems Intact
The tradition of oral transmis-
sion of literary works has left an-
cient poems unaltered to the pres-
ent day except for a few slight
changes in sounds and sound se-
These poems contain antiquisms
DIAL Nd 8-6416
"SEE FERNANDEL'S PARIS
AND DIE - LAUGHING!"
JULIEN DUVIVIER S Comedy Thriller
of grammar, syntax and inflec-
tion which couldn't have been in-
troduced later, he emphasized .
This oral method of instruction
persists in India to the present
day, Prof. Thieme said. The first
step is memorization, the second
explanation by the teacher, and
then understanding and use by the
Chinese Script Patterned
Prof. Peter Boodberg of the Uni-
versity of California said that
Chinese script was homologous to
Egyptian and cuneiform writing in
pictorography, rebus writing and
semantic signals; but at this point
Chinese script parts company
with the others.
The Chinese conceive the whole
world as a swarm of markings,
Prof. Boodberg said. The pattern of
lines and delineations which is the
core of Chinese writing reflects
their idea that beauty is some-
Prof. Boodberg commented on
the aesthetic yearning of the Chi-
nese for equidimensionalism in
their writing. All graphs are of
equal size and an equal distance
from each other no matter how
they are arranged. This gives each
word a special dignity, he said.
"Chinese script is motion re-
expressed in tranquility," Prof.
Boodberg explained. "It is a re-
lease of power, transcending space
A "Music Composer's Forum,"
presented under the auspices of
the University music school, will
be held at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in
Auditorium A of Angell Hall.
The forum, held three times
each year, gives student composers
an opportunity to have their com-
positions presented in public and
to get a public response to them.
. The music school has 15 to 20
composition majors, but not all
of them will be represented on the
The forum will open with a bass
number by the famous American
composer Wallingford Riegder.
Since the majority of the program
is with string instruments, the
opening bass number will present
A'n unaccompanied viola number
will then be performed, written by
Henry Onderdonk, a doctoral stu-
dent. It will be followed by an
unaccompanied violin number by
Another composition by Bates,
"Fantasy for Violin and Piano"
will then be played, and the pro-
gram will conclude with "Sonata
for Flute and Piano" by Gerald
Humel, Grad., and six songs for
Viola and String Trio by Robert
IONESCO ANTI-PLAY-The Dramatic Arts Center is readying "The Bald Soprano" for presen-
tation at the Creative Arts Festival. The play is billed as an anti-play and concerns British life.
lonesco One-Act Plays To BeaPresented
Institute Advances Teaching,
Research of Gerontology
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sec-
ond in a series of articles dealing
with the Institute for Human Ad-
By CHARLES KOZOLL
"Growing old usefully" may re-
place "growing old gracefully"
through work of the gerontology
division of the Institute for Hu-
Begun in 1947, this division
deals with research, study and
training relative to the problem of
old age in this country. Under a;
request by former University Pres-
ident Alexander Ruthven, the di-
vision began its study by inter-
viewing 100 elderly Ann Arbor
residents on their difficulties en-
countered in growing older.
Based on results of this origin-
al, the division mapped out gen-
eral areas of importance to deal
with and have based their projects
on these. The first study also
launched national attention on
this problem through a former di-
rector of the division who heads
the national agency on aging.
In addition, the division began
a training course for retirement
in 1948 which has been duplicated
in many parts of the country. Ex-
panding work later that year, the
division sponsored a first national
conference on aging.
This conference, points out Mrs.
Wilma T. Donohue, division direc-
tor, has become a fixture and has
convened here since 1948. Lead-
ership from all over the country
comes to Ann Arbor to participate
in meetings and discussions on
specific problems of aging.
Leisure time activities, employ-
ment and religious welfare also
come up before a convention body
of up to 1,300 people. In certain
cases, the conference will put out
books dealing with conclusions
reached by the participants.
At the present time the division
is also working on several projects
dealing with specific problem
areas. One such field research ex-
periment deals with the physical
rehabilitation and mental stimu-
lation of older people.
Work With Medical School
Working with the University
medical school, the division is as-,
sessing various techniques em-
ployed to stimulate work and so-
cial programs among the aged.
Operated along with research,
the Inter-University t r a i n i n g
project in social gerontology, sup-
ported by the National Institute
of Health, aims at bringing to-
gether and systematizing knowl-
edge in this field. Besides prepar-
ing books, the project also oper-
ates a one month summer training
session for faculty members from
The total aim of the segment of
the division is to promote teach-
ing all over the country, Mrs.
Donahue pointed out. This fol-
lows, she went on to say, the gen-
eral trend toward more and more
work with the aged.
Much of the time is spent with
unions and community groups,
training leaders and expanding on
programs which aim toward re-
tirement, Mrs. Donahue explained.
Since the project originally be-
gan by working with Ann Arbor
residents; it has resulted in the
starting of many senior citizens
groups in the city.
By JUDITH DONER
Two plays by the French play-
wright who currently has the
theatre world agog will be offered
for viewing this week, one as part
of the CreativeArts Festival.
Eugene Ionesco's "Victim of
Duty" will be presented on the
speech department's one-act bill
at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday in True-
blood Auditorium in connection
with the Festival.
The Dramatic Arts Center will
give "The Bald Soprano" on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
in Lane Hall Auditorium.
'Real' World Unreal
Believing in the unreality of the
"real" world, Ionesco attempts to
show this dramatically by "pre-
senting, familiar characters in a
familiar world-usually in familiar
theatrical convention." Then he
lets the unfamiliar erupt through
the picture until it disintegrates
and what is .left. is an illogical
world in which the familiar and
the unfamiliar, the logical and the
illogical coexist but can never cor-
Ionesco makes it clear that for
him words gain in significance as
they lose in meaning. Luckily, as
they do so, they also tend to pro-
voke laughter. Thus, his style often
produces comedy, although it does
"The Bald Soprano," also trans-
lated as "the Bald Prima Donna;"
is an anti-play which has as its
scene "a middle-class English in-
terior, with English armchairs. An
English evening. Mr. Smith, an
Englishman, seated in his English
armchair and wearing English
slippers, is smoking his English
pipe and reading an English news-
paper, near an English fire."
From this'description, one would
expect that the Englishness of the
play is important to it, but it has
some details that seem uncharac-
teristic of an English audience,
To Be Shown
A University television docu-.
mentary on the importance of
reading will be presented at 9:45
a.m. /today on WXYZ-TV (Chan-
nel 7, Detroit).
* Vignettes, electronic and other
effects on the University television
office's program, "Go, Little
Book," show how reading widens
horizons. and develops inner re-
Presented in conjunction with
National Library Week, the kine-
scoped production shows how books
enable "you to meet people you
rever would meet in real life, travel
o lands you never would see."
and some references that are speci-
Ionesco was learning English at
the time of the play, and he has
said that "if he had been learning
Spanish, the play would have been
set in Spain."
The play is generally illogical
and full of almost surrealistic hu-
mor. "You may sit down on the
chair, when the chair hasn't any"
or "I'd rather see a bird in a
field than a marrow in a wheel-
barrow" are typical of the pliks
and nonsense expressed in the
Uses Higher Style
However, Ionesco also uses a
higher style. When he desires to
convey his vision of "muddy slime"
or "airy spendour," conventional
romanticism characterizes his vo-
cabulary and a new regularity of
rhythm heightens the effect. This
is particularly evident in "Victims
"Hangs Over Thy Head," an
original one-act will also be pre-
sented at 4:10 p.m. tomorrow in
T ueblood Auditorium.
1429 Hill Street
April 15-16, 1959
University of Michigan presents:
9th Annual Spring
TICKETS ON SALE:
Michigan Union--7:30 A.M. --12 midnight
(On April 13-16) at Lydia Mendelssohn Box Office
12 noon-4:30 P.M. and 7 P.M. on performance'nights
Congregational-Disciples Guild, April
12, 8 p.m., Hillel Foundation. Speaker:
Dr. Naphtal Wiesner, "What Is Man?"
u * s
Eastern Orthodox Student Soc., April
12, 3 p.m., Union, Rm. 3-MN. Speaker:
Dr. George C. Chamis, psychologist.
Gamma Delta: Luth. Stud. Club, Sup-
per and Program, April,12, 6 p.m. Luth.
Stud. Center, 1511 Washtenaw. Speaker
Pastor, "MarriageProblems Most Com-
Graduate Outing Club, Hiking, April
12, 2 p.m., Meet in back of Rackham
SGC Public Relations Comm., Meet-
ing, April 14, 4 p.m., 1548 SAB.
Lutheran Student Assoc., Dinner-4
p.m., followed by faculty discussion,
April 12, Luth. Stud. Center, Forest &
Hill. Speakers: Profs. Mendenhall, Len-
ski, and Hildebrandt, "How We View
The World Travel and Adventure Series
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TODAY at 3:00
Admission, $1.00 -Students, 60c
HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
601 West Stadium Blvd.
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