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March 25, 1972 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1972-03-25

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Saturday, March 25, 1972

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

AN INTERVIEW

Elizabeth Hardwick:

A

view of her own'

Elizabeth Hardwick, A VIEW
OF MY OWN, Farrar, Strauss,
$4.50, paper $1.65.
By MERYL GORDON
In Elizabeth Hardwick's book
of critical essays, A View of
My Own, the author provides a
portrait of America in the nine-
teen fifties. These essays hit up-
on such wide-ranging topics as
works of Mary McCarthy and
William James, books on urban
poverty, "The Life and Death
of Caryl Chessman," "America
and Dylan Thomas", Simone de
Beauvoir's The Second Sex, and
opinions about the city of Bos-
ton. and American expatriates in
Italy. Always witty and sharp,
her essays assume a great deal
of knowledge on the reader's
part (of books, people, experi-
ences of the fifties) which
makes the book appear some-
.what dated, but still valid and
interesting.
She introduces her point of
concern b e f o r e delving into
specific authors. Before her es-
says on the collected letters of
several authors, she writes.
In letters we can reform with-
out practice, beg without hu-
miliation, snip and shape em-
barassing experiences to the
measure of our own desires --
this is a benevolent form. The
ideal self expressed in letters
is not a crudely sugary affair
except in dreary personalities;
in any case the ideal is very
much a part of the character,
having its twenty-four hours
a day to get through, and be-
ing no less unique in its comi-
binations than one's finger-
prints.
Hardwick frequently views
authors' works as a result of
their American experience which
can be either good or bad de-
pending on the artist and the
experience.
William James, whom she
calls an "American hero," is
said to be a "sort of Californian;
he loves the new and unhistori-
cal and cannot resist the shadi-
est of claims."
Hardwick says that Caryl
Chessman's autobiography, Cell
2455: Death Row is an "oddly
American book. The need to

confess violent thought is soft-
ened by the cream of despair-
ing sentiment, remembered hope,
perfect loves, and the incongru-
ent beauties of the jungle."
She ascribes a great deal of
importance to America's im-
print on Dylan Thomas.
Dylan Thomas was loved and
respected abroad, but he was
literally adored in America ...
He was both a success and
failure in a way we find par-
ticularly appealing ... He had
everything and "threw it all
away."
The maniacal permissive-
ness and submissiveness of
American friends might, for
all we know, have actually
shortened Thomas' life, al-
though he was ill and driven
in England too. But there was
a certain amount of poison
in our good will. In the ac-
ceptance of his tragic condi-
tion there was a great deal
of indifference and self de-
ception.
She also has very definite
thoughts concerning the char-
acters of American cities and
states.
All the American regions
are breaking up, ground down
to a standard American corn
meal . . . Some of the legend
was once real, surely. Our util-
itarian fluid landscape has
produced a handful of region-
al conceptions, popular im-
ages, brief and naked: the

conservative Vermonteer, the
boastful, the honeyed South-
erner.
Elizabeth Hardwick is present-
ly an Advisory Editor of the
New York Review of Books, and
is teaching a course in creative
writing at Barnard College. She
is also contributing critical es-
says to several magazines. A
book of essays centered around
the domestic situations of men
and women in literature is
scheduled for publication this
fall.
Recently, Hardwick spoke at
the University on "Women as
Characters and as Authors". The
following day I talked with her
about many of the subjects she
had discussed in her speech.
Question: In last night's
speech you said that "Women
see themselves as weak, and
men feel women to be strong."
Would you comment further on
that?
Elizabeth Hardwick: It's a
problem in our sense of reality.
I think it's the basis of many
quarrels between men and wo-
men. Women are sort of feeling
that they can't get an inning
at all. while men see them as
mysteriously strong and power-
ful. It's a source of tension and
a source of woman's subterfuge
. . . of woman not being quite
direct in order to overcome the
feeling of being the weaker
member.
It's difficult to generalize

though . . . the balance of traits
is different in individual men
and women . . . that's why
marriage and love affairs are
such sources of fiction.
Q.: You also said, last night,
that you disliked the style of
writing of the women's move-
ment. However, do you think
that important things are be-
ing said?
E.H.: The intellectual quality
of the writing is very low. I've
never seen a movement with,
such poor writing. It's disas-
trous, because people aren't stu-
pid. To present things in a
banal way, they destroy the con-
cern of intellectual women on
this. I'm not just talking about
literature, I'm talking about the
quality of intellect.
However, I think that careers
for women are no longer a
choice, they're a necessity. I re-
cently read a questionnaire of
young men, and they're not
about to live with the same wo-
man for fifty years. If you don't
work, what are you going to do?
How are you going to live and
support yourself? Even if you
were married, you couldn't ex-
pect a man to support you for
the rest of your life. He can't
be (your total support), why
should he be, and why should
you want him to be?
The people who are more crit-
ical of the women's movement
say that it comes out of afflu-
ent, middle class college girls.

It really, comes from the break-
down of marriages. Men don't
want 4to accept the burden of
lifelong support. There is also
the side of doing it (having a
career) for yourself. I want to
stress the necessity of women
having careers in our society.
Q.: Has your perspective on
female writers and fiction
changed in the past few years?
E.H.: I've always been inte'-
ested in women writers , . . you
are if you write yourself. I'm al-
ways changing my way of look-
ing at things. The women's
movement isn't a program or a
philosophy, it's a critical way
of looking at relationships, ask-
ing what is really happening
here? It do find that I keep
finding new things.
Q.: How do you help students
to write, in the course you teach
at Barnard?
E.H.: I try to get students not
to rely entirely on feelings. They
never use what they know .. .
geography, history . . . I try to
get them to incorporate general
knowledge with feeling. 'Also,
to open up possibilities besides

short stories, things that might
help them make literature.
Q.: Are there any current
writers that you like?
E.H.: I like Mary McCarthy
very much, and Hannah Arendt
is a great thinker, an extraor-
dinary woman. I like Susan
Sontag . . . she is very much
put-down. Those are three wo-
men that I have a lot of admir-
ation for. I have a great deal
of reverence for what they're
trying to do.
I've known lots of writers . .
and both distinguished and un-
distinguished all labor in the
same way. It's a terribly diffi-
cult thing. You're up against
the limits of your own intellect,
fineness of spirit, sense of the
world . . . you have nothing to
call upon except yourself. It's a
stark sort of feeling. You're
completely bounded by your own
insight.
It's like peeling an onion, ex-
cept you never know what you'll
find underneath. You uncover
layers in yourself and slough
some of them off. It's very hard
to get down to the core.

Vegetarian Cookery

Walter and Jenny Fliess,
MODERN VEGETARIAN
COOKERY, Penguin B o o k s,
$1.75 (paperback).

Blues of writing fiction

so many synonyms for stone-
cheeked rolls, failed souffle;,
and sulking loaves of bread
(vide Myra Waldo's Glossary to
the International Encyclopedia
of Cooking). The confirmed
vegetarian gourmet may be ex-
cused for selectively ruffling the
pages of Elizabeth David's
exquisite volumes on European

Today's Illustration..
At a time when the popularization of Zen culture has
seemingly reached its limits, Zen and the Fine Arts (Kodanshlia,
$26.00) comes as a refreshingly perceptive analysis. This issue
of the now rare Japanese edition, represents the first major
attempt to probe the complex relationship between Zen and the
fine arts. Dr. Shin'ichi Hisamatau, the author and a former pro-
fessor of religion and Buddhism at Kyoto University, defines
Seven Characteristics of Zen art which are now considered an
essential key to the complex of cultural expressions which arose
with the Zen Awakening.
The work shown above was done by Hakuin Ekaku whose
fame derived from his success in spreading Zen to the general
populace-three centuries ago.

E.M. Forster's Maurice'

E. M. Forster, M A U R I C E,
W. W. Horton, $6.95.
By SANDRA SIMONS
Maurice is a literary fiction,
but though it is fiction, Forester
in this newly-published novel.
renders us with a very poignant
issue. Maurice presents a sensi-
tive and compelling portrayal of
a young man who discovers that
his physical desires tend towards
iembers of his own sex.
We are first introduced to
Maurice Hall as he is a young
lad, aged fourteen, enrolled in
grammer school in London, Eng-

Interwoven beneath this liter-
ary framework are the psycho-
logical manifestations of the re-
lationship b e t w e e n the two
young men. Forster makes keen
observations and shows aston-
ishing insight into the private
agony of Maurice. His frequent
debates with Clive about relig-
ion force him to cease taking
communion and finally to break
from the church altogether. His
own doubts about God (religious
undertones thread their way
throughout the novel) grow into
feelings of utter contempt for
the church and towards society
as well. "Did society, while pro-

But Maurice finally reconciles
himself to the fact that he will
not be "cured." This would mean
going against both his natural
impulses and his free will, were
he to attempt to live any other
way, or to become a different
sort of man. At one point he
even ponders whether a real
Hell is not, after all, preferable
to a manufactured Heaven.
Though Maurice was written
in 1914, Forster's novel remained
in un-released manuscript until
he died. The author felt that
with the existing laws in his
day, prohibiting homosexuality
and making it a crime ebupled
with fear and ignorance on the
part of society, that his work
was before its time and would
most likely have offended and
insulted the public. Consequent-
ly, it was only posthumously
that Maurice was turned over to
a publishing house. Forster was
definitely ahead of his time in
his liberal attitudes, and he
himself felt that the book be-
longed to a certain era. In the
explanatory note which appears
at the close of the novel, For-
ster writes:
A friend recently remarked
that for readers today [19601
it can only have a period in-
terest. I wouldn't go as far as
that, but it certainly dates-
not only because of its end-
less anachronisms-its half-
sovereign tips, pianola-re-
cords, norfolk jackets . .
Libs and Terriers, uninformed
doctors and undergraduates
walking arm in arm, but for a
more vital reason: it belongs
to an England where it was
still possible to get lost.
You have to strongly disagree
with the author's own assump-
tions about his work. No matter
what the time, where the place,
E. M. Forster touched on the
universal theme of defending
the individual, the unique per-
sonality in all human beings.
His evocative novel is timeless;
Forster asks for an understand-
ing of all that is human, of both
the strong and the weak, but
most important, of the individ-
ual and his right to dignity no
matter what he is.

Gerald Rosen, BLUES FOR
A DYING NATION, Dial Press
$7.95.
By TIM DONAHUE
Gerald Rosen's Blues for a
Dying Nation is an absurd novel
about, mostly, the inanity of the
military. I've nothing against
absurdity and I'm not an out-
standing proponent of the mili-
tary; I insanely love Heller and
Vonnegut. But absurdity and a
popular theme, as Rosen too
amply proves in Blues, does not
make a novel.
Rosen writes:
Getting through my time in
the army was similar to read-
ingha long book by a novelist
with a bad ear. Dragging
yourself through the book as
a whole may finally lead to
y o u r having learned some-
thing. But it's getting through
each sentence that's the prob-
lem.
It is unforunately ironic that
Rosen is a novelist with a very
bad ear. But don't take my word
for it, let Rosen convince you
himself with a scrap of not un-
representative dialogue:
Well, Thoreau's aunt is sup-
posed to have come to visit
him as he lay dying and ask-
ed him if he had made his
peace with God, to which he
replied, "I didn't know we had
quarrelled." You see how typi-
cal of Thoreau that is, wheth-
er he really said it or not.
Thoreau was such a prick, but
only a quirky prick could have
gone his own way against the
draft of a madly materialistic
age while still keeping the
barb and sting of his wit alive
--without becoming bitterly
self-pitying. Emerson k n e w
that-that was why he loved
Thoreau. And I do, too. But
I'm not sure that his path is
still there for us to follow. The
site of his cabin at the pond
is marked, but the cabin itself
is no longer there.
Whew! That is just one speech
from several pages of such
heady dialogue. It is stiff going
at best.
Still, this is going to be a very

By DEBORAH BROWN LEVINE
Twenty years ago a vegetarian
was, in the popular imagination,
a pale-palmed gentleman, spec-
tacled, probably British, who
quoted Shaw and read Madame
Blavatsky. Today, a vegetarian
may be anyone's independently
cooking son or daughter. Which
simply means that vegetarianism
is no longer a moral and aesthe-
tic attitude towards food, but
has become, like pacifism, Zen,
and communal living, part of the
youth-dominated rejections of so-
ciety's plastic merchandise and
merchandiser's techniques. So-
ciety, however, is rather like the
Plastic Mari of the old 1940's
comic strip, with a long finger
in everyone's pie: vegetarian
cookbooks litter the bookstands,
calculated to tempt the affluent,
alienated appetite, all too ob-
viously making money for some-
body.
It is pleasant, therefore, to
come upon Walter and Jenny
Fliess' Modern Vegetarian Cook-
ery; a modestly-priced paper-
back in the excellent Penguin
series,. w h i c h offers sensible
recipes for vegetarians (as op-
posed to people who experiment
with vegetables). Mr. and Mrs.
Fliess, former owners of Lon-
don's Vega restaurant, have not
shirked the central problem of
modern vegetarianism: can a
person stay healthy on a diet of
green-picked, pre-packed, heat-
forced, sprayed and often posi-
tively poisonous produce? The
book recommends washing in-
warm water, peeling and yeast
extract, advice indigestible to the
gourmet. The recipes themselves
are solid. Englishmen, with bril-
liant exceptions, are realistic
rather than inspired cooks-what
other nation could have invented

k
s

short review if I can't find some-
thing nice to say about Blues
and there is one thing I ,host
definitely liked.
Interspersed throughout the
novel are "Bulletins.' These
"Bulletins" are mostly short
filler items, apparently clipped
right out of the New York
Times; I imagine that they are
all real, as I wds able to re-
cognize several of them myself.
They are often, especially be-
cause they are not in their usual
context and hence invite inter-
pretation and extrapolation,
very sardonic and witty, but they,
are not enough to make Blues
worth your while.
Still, I can't close without
sharing with you one excellent
example of modern double-think
Rosen had the good judgment
to include in Blues. It is an AP
article, datelined Chicago, head-
lined, "Doing Their Thing Is
Called Hippies' Way to Duck
Life:"
A psychiatrist on the staff of
the Menninger clinic says that
hippies refuse to face such
adult responsibilities as mar-
riage and earning a living, and
refuse to admit their refusal,
too.
I wonder if Rosen is familiar
with the Twenty-Second Catch.

Today's Writers .,.
Meryl Gordon is a Daily
assistant night editor who
recently interviewed Elizabeth
Hardwick when she spoke on
campus.
Sandra Simons is an English
major and an avid reader of
fiction-both present and past.
Tim Donahue, an undergrad-
uate, reviews frequently for the
Daily.
Deborah Levine, in addition
to being a connoisseur of cook-
books, is working on a doctoral
dissertation in Indian art his-
tory.

food (also available in this Pen-
gum series); he might enjoy
better health if he adds the yeast
extract. Nutrition is a problem
every vegetarian must solve or
suffer for himself. A minor
point: the measurements here
are British standard and require
conversion.

land. He is graduating and about
to leave for secondary school at
Sunnington. From there the
book takes off at a delicate pace
and both Maurice's- past and his
future slowly begin to unfold
for us,
Maurice comes from an aver-
age enough background: he re-
sides with his mother and his
two older sisters in London; his
deceased father was a business-
man. Home life is dull and ex-
* acting. At Cambridge University
he meets Clive Durham, who
awakens Maurice's passion for
his own sex. Clive is a pensive,
intellectual sort-rather a con-
trast to Maurice, who, though
sensitive and oftimes witty,
lacks his friend's enthusiasm for
scholarly endeavor.

fessing to be so moral and sen-
sitive, really mind anything?"
Only to discover that, indeed.
There are certain acts which so-
ciety minds very much and can-
not condone ("England has al-
ways been disinclined to accept
human nature" his hypnotist
asserts). Maurice plunges into a
world of pain, inner torment,
and frustration. When Clive de-
clares he has reverted to the
life of a "normal" male and sub-
sequently marries, existance be-
comes an even greater hell for
Maurice. He is completely shat-
tered; at first he refuses to ac-
cept this fact and even tries
hypnosis to be "cured." It is
with great alacrity that Forster
details the conflicts seething
within his hero.

Nancy
WECHSLER
For City Council, Second Ward
RACISM
" Self-determination of all minority
groups
" Expand power and budget of city's
Human Relations Department to
fight discrimination in jobs, housing
" Education and Retraining of migrants
" The University should comply with
BAM demands and obligations to
Native Americans under Fort Meigs
Treaty

Creative Arts Festival
PRESENTS
SRt>I1.GFEST ' / KEI
in Conjunction with the Monthly Art Fair Series
and the Student Art Gallery
(all events free admission)
SATURDAY, March 25; 1-5 p.m., in the Student Gallery
ART DEMONSTRATION and WORKSHOP: Poetry readings at
1 :00 (bring your own poems!) and a Quilting Bee at 2:00.
8:00-11:00 IN THE MICHIGAN UNION BALLROOM-
COFFEE HOUSE: Poetry Readings by Ken Fifer, Larry Ross, and
Terry Patten. Folksinger Sue Geiger. Bring your own instruments
and JAM.
FREE REFRESHMENTS
SUNDAY, March 26;12-6 p.m., Michigan Union Ballroom

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