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September 11, 1962 - Image 76

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The Michigan Daily, 1962-09-11
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General Library windows.

DURING FOUR YEARS of undergrad-
uate life at the University, a uniquely
architectural insight can be - actively
nurtured along with the other faculties
of learning and studying. Its importance
lies in the general interest students are
encouraged to take in art and thought;
and architecture is both an art and
philosophy. In addition, history has de-
veloped us to the modern stage where
85-90 per cent of all our time is spent
in or looking at buildings.
Architecture is the specialized profes-
sion of the master builder-designer. Thus
it has its own vocabulary and funda-
mental notions. We must reckon with
them from the start if we expect to
think intelligently of campus buildings.
In order. to gain appreciation, three
basic facts about architecture must be
understood. All buildings must react in
some way to gravity. All buildings must
be seen. All other assertions about build-
ings arise through conjecture or tradi-
SECONDLY, we must agree, temporarily
at least, to a host of convenient as-
sertions to facilitate explanation and
understanding. First, any part of any
building can be called "artistically jus-
tifiable" if it appears to be inevitable,
just as the word in a poem or note in
a song is. heard to be the only word
or note that fits. Secondly, by "surface"
I shall mean the art of elevation. An
elevation is the drawing of any flat wall
of a building, representing it from an
actually impossible view point. In design-
ing this method eases handling propor-
tion and composition; however, many
walls are beautiful in elevation but when
actually built they are insensitive to
three-dimensional effect. Lastly, archi-
tectural poetry, or the 'poetics" of arch-
itecture, is a foggy notion which depends
on your intuition for comprehension. It
is gotten at through beautiful language.
Poetic content in campus buildings will
exclude the potential for becoming ab-
solutely poetic. No campus building, that
I know of, is pioneering as poetry. They
all lack the exaggeration of detail which
characterised the great historical archi-
For convenience I divide buildings on
campus into two groups; the old, and
the new. "Old" means anything built
up to about 1925. "New" means anything
built afterwards. I believe the old have
more architectural character than the
new. By contrasting the two, we arrive
at the crux of this thing called "archi-

tectural insight." Comparing and con-
trasting them helps determine things to
look for in all buildings in general.
Old and new are distinguished by dif-
ferent emphases on certainrather analy-
tical issues; mass versus surface, "pro-
-portion" versus "function" oriented in-
teriors, decoration versus the smooth
look. Of course there analytiques are not
to be taken too seriously. They are mere
clarifying contrivances.
THE NEW BUILDINGS are exercises in
treating surfaces to be seen from
great distances. The Albert Kahn Office's
Undergraduate Library of 1956 was built
at the cost of character from close-up,
or any apparent imagination in three
dimensional fulfillment. The east and
west exteriors are huge brick surfaces
intended to "float." They are punctured
by holes of unjustifiable proportions.
They turn their north boundaries with-
out change of detail but with complete
line surfaces, called fulget, that line the
change of . mood. The marble-aggregate
elevator core and-first floor entry hall
floors, are unjustifiable. Their mortar

joints from close up form ugly rectan-
gular prdportions, as if unintentional.
The veneer turns corners callously, as if
the walls themselves were as much void
as they are- solid. The interior is dotted
with subtle colors that are intensely
primary against the stark fluorescence.
They are all surfaces. Their depth ap-
pears to be an accident.
Compare this with Kahn's main li-
brary of 1916. Rather than surface, the
building is articulated in terms of mass.
Flemish brick bonds form vertical mor-
tar joints where the veneer turns corners;
granite pedestal flays the building's
weight from top to bottom; window mul-
lions break glass into prisms reflecting
light at odd angles, contrasting their
weights with the weight of the brick.
(Newer architects like plate glass, which
is neither heavy or light, only trans-
parent, and often impudent in smooth,
unbroken reflections.) The top of the
main is capped by an (albeit imitative)
cornice. Kahn took his examples from
Italian and English Renaissance archi-
techs who believed that everything had
to appear to be resting on something,
and thus nothing floated.
OR. AGAIN consider Kahn's West En-
gineering Building of 1909. The small

The Liberal Papers, edited by James 1
Roosevelt, Anchor- Books, Doubleday I
and Company, Inc., Garden City,
New York, 1962, $1.40.
"MANY OF THE IDEAS both in for-
eign policy and in domestic policyj
are ideas fashioned for another time and
for other problems. Because of this, po-
- litical discussion among the citizenry
has become tangential and irrelevant."
With this note, James Roosevelt intro-
duces a book that is neither tangential
nor irrelevant. The Liberal Papers is
that relevant, in fact, that it has drawn
the denunciation of the Republican lead-
ership in the House and Senate and of a
national radio commentator.
Roosevelt, the editor of the twelve
probing essays making up the book, fits
his -title well: he is one of the foremost
liberals in the House (he has represented,
California's 26th district since 1956) and
he is known nationally for his leadership
in the yet small movement to abolish
the House Un-American Activities Com-
It is no surprise that a Congressman
who speaks out for the free society do-
mestically would speak out for it abroad.
But achievement of the free society is
dependent on a relaxation of internation-
al tensions, on disarmament, on econom-
ic development and on population stabil-
ization, the book brings out. It is this
type of program that the book outlines.
David Riesman and Michael Maccoby
argue that the cold war, while a real
conflict, also exposes the failure of a
style of life. Though the immediate peril
demands the beginning of disarmament
as one first step toward ending the cold
war, in doing this we only patch a symp-
tom, they assert. Disarmament and eased
international tensions are not the end
of. therapy, and true peace is not merely
the absence of war but a state in which
the quality of existence becomes humane
and generous rather than destructive.
James Warburg points out that dis-
armament would probably mean not the
end of the cold war but the transference
of the struggle out of the military and
into the politico-economic arena.
Walter Millis criticizes the policy of
deterrence as actually no more nor less
than a form of gigantic blackmail, "and
as with other forms of blackmail its
threats are valueless if they ever have to
be made good."
Arthur Waskow relates that shelter-
building contributes greatly to the in-
stability that deterrence is supposed to
alleviate, because such a program raises
the specter that the deterrent is to be
used for a first strike and forces the
opponent into developing a counterforce
Charles Osgood presents a program of
graduated, unilateral action designed to
reduce the tension in the world. Emile
Benoit anaylzes some economic adjust-
ments America would have to make in
disarming. Vera Dean looks at American
policy in Southeast Asia, and Frank Tan-
nenbaum exposes American failures in
Latin America. -
Allen Whiting relates the history of
the Communist China problem, and Stu-
art Hughes urges that the United States
drastically reduce the military emphasis
of its European policy and encourage dis-
engagement in Eastern Europe. Quincy
Wright suggests policies for strengthening
the United Nations, and Kingsley Davis
reveals the population trends of the
The essays are intellectual (most of the
contributors are professors) and incisive.
Much of the writing is idealistic, but
there are specific proposals for tran-
scending the gap between reality and
ideality. Many of these proposals may
seem radical, especially in view of the
present policies of our government-but
then, the Populist party was radical in
its day, and its wild-eyed proposals have
"T 1VCEW% At --- Ci A-rr ,nrE1 a wU

become attributes of American democ-
Perhaps, then, there is hope for world
democracy. Woodrow Wilson was ahead
of his times, but The Liberal Papers have
updated his ideals. If they are realized,
future generations may be indebted to
James Roosevelt and his fellow thinkers.
-Robert Sewa
Salinger, A Critical and Personal Por-
trait, edited and introduced by Henry
Anatole Grunwald. Harper Brothers
Publishers, 1962, $4.95
rpE FIRST BOOK reputed to be able
to "explain all those strange Salinger
stories" has arrived with an impressive
list of contributors. But, Salinger, A
Critical and Personal Portrait, edited by
Henry Anatole Grunwald, suffers from
many of the maladies common to collec-
tions of essays.
The most obvious problem is the repe-
tition. Every' one of the essayists feels
compelled to give a two or three page
synopsis of the plot after each story.
(After reading this book if you are un-
confused about anything, it's the sub-
stance of the plot of Franny.) Grunwald
recognizes this as a problem and apol-
ogizes for it at the beginning; however,
that doesn't alleviate it. These plot
summaries are quite helpful, for many
of the earlier and pre-fame short stories
are virtually unavailable now, and it is
of extreme benefit to the reader to have
the plot reiterated before reading the es-
The 25 critics of Salinger are a notable
listing of who's who in the contemporary
critical world. Alfred Kazin, Granville
Hicks, William Wiegand, (an ex-Daily
writer), Leslie Fiedler, John Updike, as
well as Grunwald are essayists, critics,
and writers in the non-fictional world
of considerable merit.
Once the problem of the repetition is
overlooked any serious student of Sal-
inger's can have a wonderful time with
this book comparing his theories with
some very well executed professional
ones. Salinger is not the sort of writer
who appears to be very obtuse; still, if
we are to believe the contributors, there
is a tremendous amount of significance
in every word. And there is an essayist
to propound every theory-ranging from
the view of Salinger as a social critic to
those who see him as a religious writer,
and ranging from those who claim to be
a modern Elijah of the misunderstood,
sensitive, modern intellectual to those
who think he is something less than can-
onized since he "flatters the very ignor-
ance and moral shallowness of his young
The only point upon which the Salinger
writers seem to be in agreement at all is
that they all believe F. Scott Fitzgerald
was the writer the most influential on
his style. In comparing Salinger, he is
said to be in turn Ring Larder or Dos-
toevsky or Mark Twain or the worst
short story writer in the "New Yorker's"
history. -
. The frantic disagreement about Sal-
inger carries over into contention over
all of his characters. Wiegand believes,
"Salinger's heroes are a family of non-
co'nformists," but they do not consider
themselves oppressed by society, "He
(Holden) is a victim of so much of socie-
ty as of his own spiritual illness." Others
think Holden is merely rebelling against
the prep school form and therefore he is
a social objector, who views the upper-
middle class American with horror and
Still, the book has problems-not the
least of which is that Salinger is too cur-
rent and the tides of criticism haven't
yet settled down around his ears and
put him in his proper place. So the crit-
ics have either decided he is going to be
great and laud him as the prophet or

they belong to the anti-Salinger league-
which puts its money on his audience be-
coming disenchanted. Basically the trou-
ble is lack of perspective, which is a
danger which is face devery time a new
writer is broached.'
Josephine Jacobsen, one of the includ-
ed critics, feels that the reason that cri-
tical writing on him is so anemic is that
"so far, public comment on, Salinger's
work is like the comments a panic-strick-
en, valiant Victorian-minded spinster
might make in trying to discuss Dr. Kin-
sey's report without referring to sex." She
feels that most of the writing is being
done by those who haven't got the nerve
to take a stand on him so therefore they
vacillate, and qualify every judgment
and produce milquetoast essays. There
isn't even agreement on the disagreement.
The book belongs to those who have
formed an opinion on Salinger, who have
discussed him over coffee, and who feel
that "Salinger is the only person in the
world capable of understanding me," that
is to say, to those who belong to the Sal-
inger cult. The undecided masses who
simply thought Zooey was a good short
story, shouldn't read this book; it would
depress them.
-Malinda Berry

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Burton Tower staircase.

windows fit tightly up under the eaves.
Granite sills are in horizontal play. The
building is topped by a big broad tile
roof, a commodity too expensive for
modern architects to play with. The
building utilizes a granite foundation
course, exaggerated door detail border-
ing on pioneering inventiveness and the
chimney as part of the total massing. All
this suggests the genius of Wisconsin's
Frank Lloyd Wright or England's Lutyens.
The interior of this building betrays
the clarity and order of the outside-due
to concrete block partition additions. But
only the most disinterested students of
architecture and the most critical lay-
men would deny the suggestion of poetry
A third case of the old: Lynn Fry's
porches to Waterman Gymnasium, added
in 1923. This to me is the most--beautiful
entrance on campus. From the ground,
one climbs to a dark cave-like recess.
Thick brick walls establish the near
point of a perspective inward, the far
point of which can be at infinity. The
stone band turns to become the lower
edge of a rectangular tympanum, (the

Tral by Jury: Angel 35966 (S), Proyour sp
Arte Orchestra and Gylndelbourne your sp
Festival Chorus. Sir Malcolm Sargent, sn the
conductor. Recorded in London. $6.98 function
WITH THE copyrights having expired Howe"
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Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, there is some
can be no doubt that many will try their include,
hand at recording these classics. And Sassenf
after 75 years under the watchful eye Star fr
of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Co., there is Lune, L
a tendency to fall into the assumption ski's Mi
that all Gilbert and Sullivan is, by defi- Barterer
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separate the wheat from the chaff. The
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First in a series of G&S performances Almeide
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new way under the respected baton of the pe
Sir Malcolm Sargent, conducting the Pro than i
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bert and Sullivan flavor, record
It's as though the dust had been -blown voraciol
off an old treasure, and it is restored: It does nc
is just as good but not quite the same. the aes
There is something almost modern about or the
the Angel recording that the D'Oyly Carte 'is furth
productions have never acquired. Capital
In many passages, the tempo has been series T
slowed a bit to allow better enunciation. the cor
(Gilbert & Sullivan often goes so fast in its v
that the actual words can become un- buyer
discernable.) However, this does not, sur- sampler
prisingly enough, destroy the total effect Capital
of the production. ing put
The emphasis, in fact, seems to be on

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Room 102, Economics Building.

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