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September 29, 1963 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1963-09-29
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THE GLASS COFFIN, by Maurice Druon,
translated from the French by Hum-
phrey Hare, Charles Scribner's Sons,
242 pages, $4.50.
MAURICE DRUON writes clearly and
simply about the people in his short
story collection, The Glass Coffin. His
characters range from soldier to count
and from artist to stable-boy. A hint of
fantasy, of secret unreality, serves to in-
crease the reader's awareness that Dru-
on's characters actually react to their
adventures in very natural ways. A strong
reminder of de Maupassant runs through
the collection and, as in the stories of the
French master, one is never confronted
with a single flaw in characterization.
The title is taken from the first story.
Before his death, an elderly count seeks
to ensure that the relative to whom he
entrusts his fortune will agree to an un-
named condition in his will. The old man
refuses to give any hint regarding the
condition and the relatives also refuse
to accept the agreement.
They are further scared off by a glass
coffin containing the body of a young girl
which the count keeps in his chateau.
Eventually the 27th relative on a family
list, who is convinced that his life is not
worth living anyway, agrees to accept the
condition. The clause in the will is re-
vealed with the death of the old man, who
simply wanted the family name to be
carried on by the heir to the fortune.
Magnificently Druon says: "There was a
rather sharp 'Oh' from stout Madame de
Carcaillan. The rest of the family man-
aged to maintain their self-control."
The Glass Coffin includes two kinds of
stories. Druon's first grouping can loose-
ly be called love stories. The stories are
unconventional, their romance is sad
rather than joyous. "The Cloud of Fire"
relates the story of a woman who has
gone insane at the death of her lover and
lives in her unreal world, telling passersby
of the dream she still believes exists. A
dying woman in "An Old Love" cannot
understand why she is to die before. her
husband, since he has gone ahead of her
in everything during their long years
"The Black Prince," originally publish-
ed in "Sports Illustrated," is the story of
the Arabian stallion of Gog Magog and
his love for the mare Roxanne. From
their children a new breed of stallion is
brought to Cambridge from Carthage.
The second group of stories includes
tales of soldiers and their lives during
and after war. The best one of the lot,
"In the Train," describes France in 1942
through the eyes of a passenger on his
way from Paris to Marseilles. The nar-
rator walks from car to car and sees all
of France mirrored in the train's pas-
Strangely, Druon closes the story with
a totally unnecessary comment. The pas-
senger gets off the train, musing to him-
self that "in spite of the loudspeaker
shouting 'Achtung,' the victors were not
those that were under arms." Every word
in the story has made this evident: Druon
does not have to aid the reader in arriv-
ing at this conclusion.
It is a flaw in his story telling-one
of the few. Druon, on the whole, is a
master of the form, and living proof that
French excellence inthe art of the short
story id not begin, and end, with
Maupassant. -Jean Tenander
liam Saroyan, Harcourt, Brace and
World, 153 pages, $3.95.
WILLIAM SAROYAN'S novel Boys and
Girls Together is a frank look at the
life of a married couple: its tenseness,
pathos and ultimate frustration. The
publishers optimistically and shortsight-
edly term it a comedy; but in its depiction
of the anxieties of modern life, it is far

from comic. It is a commentary on the
sterility of contemporary life.
The main characters are usually re-
ferred to simply as the man and the
woman. The man, a writer, has at age 39
passed the period of his productivity. Al-
though he loves his children and his
young and dissatisfied wife, his family
has strangled him. His wife plagues him;
she always wants more, wants things bet-
ter than they are.
In the introduction, .Saroyan quotes:
"But from the beginning of the creation
God made them male and female. Verily."
The novel, to a great extent, emphasizes
the psychological, emotional differences
between man and woman-the boys and
girls are not really together but only play
at being together. The man and the
woman are in subtle conflict and their in-
herent separateness is not merely a con-
temporary problem. Verily, it is a problem
for all time.
Saroyan's unique style is once again in
evidence in Boys and Girls Together. It
is a simple style, sometimes almost bor-
ing, with simple words and, at times,
simple thoughts. Saroyan mainly writes
in a direct, realistic dialogue. Also, he
uses some brief and scattered description.
His characters reveal themselves through
their dialogue; the writer seldom enters
into the process.
Saroyan in this novel proves himself a
good but not a great writer, an interest-
ing stylist but not a great innovator in
style. His topic is tried and true; in fact,
it is becoming trite. His observations are
Yet at moments, recalling the beauty of
The Human Comedy, Saroyan's under-
standing of and empathy with the dilem-
ma of modern man becomes clear and
moving. At certain points in the dialogue
between the man and the woman, it is
apparent that although they talk to one
another, neither comprehends what the
other is saying - or perhaps what the
other is suffering. Also, throughout the
novel the man's desire to have children,
and his great devotion to the boy and the
girl he already has, is stressed. Is this his
bid for immortality in a life which goes
so quickly, with so much anguish and so
little satisfaction?
Perhaps the most eloquent part of the
novel is its conclusion. A friend of the
man and the woman, an older man who
was a portrait painter for society and
married to a young girl, dies suddenly. The
impact on the man is strong: he feels
impending age and with it a sense of
hopelessness and lack of accomplishment.
But the impact on the dead man's wife
is more important. Superficially, she
grieves at his death. But she cannot keep
up her facade long. The episode and the
novel ends with a proposal for a gala trip
to Reno and a drinking spree-since there
are 24 hours until the funeral. Saroyan
ends a rather weak novel with a powerful
punch. He drives home his point of the
cruelty of life and of the senseless actions
people are driven to when they can find
no happiness. -Marjorie Brahms
TURY, by Margaret Boveri; G. P. Put-
nam Sons, N.Y., $5.95, 357 pages.
TN AN ATTEMPT to discover the unique
features in the modern "landscape of
treason" Margret Boveri has often lost
sight of the forest for the individual trees.
Treason in the Twentieth Century is
the first volume of a projected study of
treason in modern times. Perhaps some
of the seeming incompleteness of the book
is a result of Miss Boveri's intent to
expand and complete her treatment of
the topic in later volumes.
Miss Boveri takes individual cases of
convicted "traitors" of the past 40 years
and from the study of their lives attempts
to discover a common denominator of
personality which would explain the phe-
nomenon of modern treason.

The book contains vast discrepancies
in the quality of the ideas and the writ-
ing. In the first portion of the book,
"Landscape of Treason," she analyzes
the reasons for a man's betrayal of his
country, his roles or his cause. She pre-
sents some original and well-conceived
hypotheses to explain the various be-
Miss Boveri contends that the anatomy
of treason has changed. Nowadays the spy
is seen as an intellectual betraying his
cause not for money, but from disillusion-
But "the intellectual rarely remains a
convert once and for all. He begins to
train the same restless, critical faculty
which had led him to find fault with his
own country and its political beliefs onto
the adopted country or the new ideology."
In one of Miss Boveri's best written and
best conceived chapters, she traces the
path of the Western world from feudalism
to the nation-state, and explores the
subconscious effects of these transitions
on the citizens. The citizens went from
the pre-1789 awareness of "belonging that
did not depend on the political system,
but had its roots in the land, in its soil,
its traditions and language and familiar
surroundings and was more a matter of
the heart than the head." The changes
that arose after 1789 were more intellec-
tual than emotional. It identified the na-
tion with a political idea and "therein
lie the seeds of the explosive forces in
our present landscape of treason."
Another factor contributing to the
probability of treasonable acts today is
alienation. "The person or body to whom
one swore allegiance, the very essence
of the oath in the traditional form, has
disappeared without trace. As a result
the question of treason is befogged, for
it is now no longer clear just exactly who
or what can be betrayed if the oath is
"The first citizens in the landscape of
treason are the- homeless, the displaced
persons, the people without families." Also
prone are those border people, not ex-
actly homeless, but torn between two
cultures which pull at them, she notes.
The other portions of Miss Boveri's book
are inferior to the introductory and con-
eluding chapters. She devotes entire sec-
tions to a presentation of facts of cases
involving the French Collaboration and
the German Resistance Movement. After
reading these chapters one is still not
certain what has been her point.
She has drawn no clear lines between the
material and her conclusions. Strangely
enough, this doesn't appear to question
the legitimacy of the conclusions but
only the purpose of the case histories.
Still, the book is worth reading carefully
in the beginning and end of skimming in
the middle. -Malinda Berry

CS 6340,

Orchestra, LONDON stereo
$5.98 (Monaural CM 9340,

T HIS IS the fifth record of Strauss
miscellany Boskovsky and Co. have
made for London Records, and the end is
not in sight. In fact, it's beginning to look
as if Boskovsky were out to record the
entire Strauss repertoire, an unnerving
project to say the least.
Boskovsky is a consistently fine Strauss
conductor, even if his renditions of
Strauss waltzes do get bogged down a bit
at times by the retards which are pur-
portedly part of that mysterious pheno-
menon generally referred to as "the
Strauss style." A good example of such
a case is the "Du und Du" (You and You)
waltz sequence from "Die Fledermaus,"
which is given a livelier performance by
Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops on
their record containing a suite of ex-
cerpts from that opera.
The other waltzes on the record are
beautifully done. The introduction to
"Tales From the Vienna Woods" is su-
perbly carried off, the main waltz melo-
dies are done slowly (but not too slowly)
and Anton Karas contributes an idio-
matic traversal of the solo zither part.
The "Roses From the South" is another
old favorite, but Boskovsky makes it
sound fresh and new, with the climaxes
as fine an example of rich brass sound
as anyone could ask for.
Boskovsky has a habit of turning up in-
teresting and unhackneyed "new" Strauss
items, and the best example of such on
this disc is the Spanish March, "based
on 'original motifs' and guaranteed to
bring any marching regiment to grief."
Josef Strauss, a brother of Johann, Jr.,
is represented by the Eingesendet Polka
and a mazurka called "Brennende Liebe"
(Burning Love). The former, whose title
is helpfully translated in the program
notes as "a little message," is not an
exceptional tune, but it is lively enough
to hold one's attention.
The "Burning Love" Mazurka is not as
much of a "recording debut" as the notes
would have one believe; for the major
part of it has been available for some
tune as one of the melodies utilized by
Antal Dorati in his ballet' made up of
Straussiana, listed under the name "Beau
Danube." On that record, conducted by
Jean Martinon, it is given a brisker per-
Eduard Strauss' "Bahn Frei Polka" is
given an interesting treatment. I have
heard three different renditions of this
little gem, and each 'is an entirely dif-
ferent conception. Fiedler seems to think
that the title has something to do with
a horse race, and the familiar racetrack
fanfare is used to start off his version.
The Dorati performance, wldch begins
with a police whistle, is accompanied by
program notes which say that the title,
"literally translated as "Free Road,"
really means pull out the throttle, full
speed ahead with the music!"; and indeed
the Dorati version is the fastest of the
three. The Boskovsky rendition extends
the connection between the title and a
railroad even further, translating it as
"Line Clear" and accompanying it with
"train sounds" (produced with brushes)
and a train whistle.
Lest this review end on a negative
note, however, let me note that those who
have been collecting Boskovsky's records
right along will not want to overlook this
one; and those who have only just begun
to realize his talent in this field will
find this a highly pleasing record. Lon-
don's sound throughout is fine and rich,
although the loud passages are not with-
out distortion. The stereo aspects (in-
eluding the aural impression of a train
chugging around from speaker to speaker
in the Bahn Frei Polka) are superb as
well, making the record one that is well
worth having.
-Steven Haler

"Do-or-Die" Exam
Toward Further Advances

leaving age is fifteen. The examination re-
sult is final-on this depends the whole
of a child's future career, however much
a mother may protest. There is, however,
a condition which helps a few children:
if at age thirteen it is obvious that a stu-
dent is unsuited for his school, he can
transfer to the other one. This transfer
scheme has been very beneficent to some
children, but it has missed many students
who deserve transfer. Some children de-
velop much slower mentally and turn out
to be very good students at the age of
fourteen, while others who gained en-
trance into the grammar schools fall be-
hind in their studies later on.
THE ONE-DAY examination has impor-
tant social consequences. The gram-
mar school children feel assured of a
bright future and career. They wear uni-
forms, learn foreign languages, and gen-
erally enjoy the school life. The other
children, those in technical schools, for
example, resentfully call them "snobs."
Students not in grammar schools gener-
ally take less interest in their work be-
cause they know they will leave at fif-
teen. Children living in bad social condi-
tions often go to these "secondary mod-
ern schools" because they have been giv-'
en no encouragement at home to study,
causing an aggravation of the social situ-
In effect, an English person's whole
life, if he was educated after 1944, has
been effected in a minor or major way
by the examination.
THE SYSTEM obviously had its disad-
vantages and in the 1950's a new type
of experimental school was founded to
answer widespread criticism of the Eng-
lish school system. In 1949, London had
eight of these so-called "comprehensive"
schools; in 1961 there were 59 of them.
Children take a junior leaving examina-
tion during their last .year at primary
school. But unlike the Eleven Plus, the
exam is not the rigid deciding factor for
comprehensive school entrance. Also tak-
en into consideration is the record of the
child's progress through the primary
school and opinions held by the teachers
on the child's aptitude. Finally, the par-
ents play an important role and have the
right to appeal against a school commit-
tee's decision. Very often, children are
tested again within the first term at their
new school, so their classification can be
The comprehensive schools offer up to
seven years of courses. The academic pu-
pil can take the examinations at sixteen
and eighteen, leading to entrance into the
universities. Pupils can also take exam-
inations in some academic subjects at age
16, and then specialize in others, like law
or economics. The comprehensive school
also offers technical subjects with exam-
inations offered in these subjects.
Within a comprehensive school, there
are very often "sets" or small groups of
students who proceed at different speeds
according to the set. If a pupil is quick to
grasp French he will learn the language
in a fast set, while if his mathematics are
poor he will proceed in a slower set. More
and more children at the comprehensive
schools are staying on into the sixth
form (age 17 to 18), taking advantage of
the wide scope in the courses offered,

and thus gaining entrance into the uni-
versities. More students may also gain
university admittance with the inaugura-
tion of a new examination in 1965 lead-
ing to a Certificate of Secondary Educa-
tion. The present examination which leads
to entrance into the universities is an ex-
ternal one, and is mainly in the academic
subjects. The proposed examination would
be on a "subject" basis, so that candidates
would be free to enter for any subject
or combination of subjects.
THE ENGLISH comprehensive system
seems to be very like the American
high school system. While being lauded in
England as providing a much fairer op-
portunity for all types of children, doubt
is growing in America as to the efficiency
of the high school approach. Evidently
many people feel that bright students are
being held back by the slower ones. Let
us hope that somewhere between the Eng-
lish system of education and the Ameri-
can, there is a happy compromise. In
England, the comprehensive system, from
a social point of view, is much superior
to the other types of schooling. Because
the children are all on one educational
level, there is no feeling of superiority and
inferiority. The children come from wide-
ly differing social backgrounds. Some par-
ents, in fact, worry that their children will
be influenced by the "rougher" elements,
while others think that their children
must encounter varied attitudes at some
stages, and decide the school experience
is the best opportunity. Children who do
come from slum areas, for example; are
shown as much consideration in these
schools as the others, and can follow up
their particular aptitude in a way that
would never be possible in the secondary
modern school.
AS MORE AND MORE students benefit
from freer opportunities, more of them
are entering the universities. They are
generally assisted through grant aids or
scholarships. 82.4 per cent of English uni-
versity students were aided in 1961-62. A
recent amendment by the government was
passed in February, 1962. removing the
age limit of 25 to qualify for a grant.
Many more places are needed and seven
new universities are being built in differ-
ent areas of England. The ratio of stu-
dents entering the universities in the
United Kingdom is, of course, lower than
in the United States. There are now 18
degree-granting universities in England,
one in Wales, four in Scotland, and one in
Northern Ireland. The universities do not
form part of the national system of edu-
cation within the province of the Ministry
of Education but are independent and
self-governing. The old established uni-
versities of Oxford and Cambridge may
look askance at the hasty building of
these new universities, but they are need-
AT PRESENT, only four per cent of the
English school population enters the
universities. According to an article in
the London "Observer," despite the rapid
building of new universities, this ratio will
not improve greatly during the next ten
years. The general rule for entrance is
that two subjects of the examination at
advanced level must be held, but accord-
ing to a recent letter printed in the Ob-

Oxford University: The PrivileA

server a student with four "A" level sub-
jects could not gain admission into any
university. Evidently all places were taken
before her. Obviously, the more "A" level
subjects a student obtains the more he is
assured of a university place. It is ironic
that clever students who want to teach
and would help solve the problem of
teacher shortage are still being barred
from the universities. Authorities are
acutely aware that prospective teachers
should be given places, and yet in view of
the ever increasing and more specialist
knowledge, they feel that the entrance
standard should perhaps not be lowered.
These administrators have to decide be-
tween retaining the university education
as it stands, that is, an opportunity which
is only offered to relatively few, or a new
policy that would afford university edu-
cation as a further education for intelli-
gent, prospective teachers and the like.
The new universities will offer about
3,000 places each at first, but this figure
will be tripled during the next decade.
Most of them are being built in the small-
er more rural towns. Besides being a more
peaceful and beautiful setting for the
universities, this has proved practical, be-
cause the huge industrial areas have no
provision for accommodating students liv-
ing around the university. Also, the initial
cost of buying land in the midst of the
big cities for the building and extension
of the universities is highly prohibitive.
The university life is very much the
same in England as in America. Students
generally work hard, usually live in hos-
tels in the areas around the universities,
and more or less take over the local cafes
and coffee shops. An informal survey
taken among Rhodes scholars at Oxford
and Cambridge showed that many of the
Americans thought the educational level
to be slightly inferior to the "Ivy League"
universities of the U.S. and to be similar
to that of the state universities. Others
said they felt there was less frantic cram-
m ing and tension among English stu-
A SURVEY made this year by the Lon-
don School of Economics showed
fairly conclusively that a quarter of
the children in the country who had fail-

ed the eleven pl
in grammar sch
With a fact i
the local educa
soon in follow
Council's examp
ination. In 194
more democrat
should be effect
ed the eleven r
new ideas are he

STRAUSS, JR.: Spanish March, Roses
from the South, Du und Du, Demolirer
Polka, Tales from the Vienna Woods;
March; EDUARD STRAUSS: Bahn Frei
Polka; JOSEF STRAUSS: Burning Love
Mazurka; Eingesendet Polka. Willi
Boskovsky conducting the Vienna Phil-


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