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June 11, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-06-11

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Saturdoy, June 11, 1977


Page Seven

THE IC~iAN DILY age eve

make the people live with apartheid. These
little changes are coming too I:ste. All oar
people want is the seizure of power so that
they can be in a position to determine their
own destiny. That's our understanding of
self determination. We are not saying we
are going to dump the white man in the
ocean or slit their throats, but we are at
war against apartheid, we are at war
against the exploita'ion of our people, and
anyone that stands for that must face the
Q: What if any significance do you attri-
bute to the recent appointment of
Andrew Yo'ng as anbassador to the
U.N., and do you think his recent
visit to Africa had any effect on the
sitoation there?
A: Well, for us, when Andrew Young was
appointed to the position of ambassador
to the U.N. for the U.S., we already had a
clearly fhrmnlated policy. Andrew'Young of
course has been involved in the civil rights
movement in this country, and he is also
black. When yot see his entry into the U.N.,
after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you can't
help but think that the present administra-
tion is trying to undo what that clown
Moynihan did at the U.N. That is antagon-
izing the third world nations, and putting
the position of the U.S. far back so that it
became a reactionary kind of approach to
South African issues, to third world issues.
Now you have a man who is experienced in
the civil rights movement, who is black,
and who is also very ammenable, (and) is
quick to open his mouth and say what he
feels on a particular issue. I don't know
what Andrew Young has been saying up to
now, how much of it is just orchestrated
stuff, because on about three occasions
when he has made statements in relation
to South Africa, someone in the state de-
partment has come out to say something

different. That it is not really a major
policy iss'te, or an issue where there has
been confrontation. I think that in many
ways Andrew Yotng is ventilating the views
of the administration, bt what can we say
now the U.S. administration's position is
toward S,),th Africa? We don't know..
Q: The U.S. has talked about the crisis
in South Africa, and we have taken
some dilnlmatic action--sending An-
drew Young, and Vice President
Mondale. I would like to know if you
think that diplomacy in and of itself
will be snfficient to bring about the
necessary change in South Africa, or
do you think there will have to be
some form of armed struggle?
A: Clearly diplomacy alone is not going
to bring about majority rule in South Africa.
Nothing short of armed struggle is going to
bring about the desired change. It is im-
portant of course also to keep all these
options open. Diplomacy has a place, but
it can only be effective if there is armed
confrontation and the liberation movement
shows some teeth. And then they will be
forced to negotiate. Those white men and
their minority regimes are not just going
to give us our freedom and independence in
that manner, they're not going to give up
the privilege of slavery with which they've
lived for so long. So that therefore to em-
ploy only diplomatic means is to divert the
attention of the people from the major
issues in South Africa. And I don't think
now that can be an appropriate method to
bring abou't change. Vorster himself has
said that apartheid is non-negotiable, and
while these diplomatic talks are going on
you saw Smith (Rhodesian Prime Minister
Ian) committting acts of aggresison in
Mozambique a few days ago. I think at the
back of their minds they know that as long
as we still believe that we can negotiate

this, so long can they continue. They are
buying time. No, the only thing we can do
is to intensify the struggle, and then they
will be forced to come out and negotiate.
At some stage we must get to the roumd
table, but we will do that after we have
asserted our position and our strength.
Q: What level is the struggle going on
now? Are weapons available to your
A: We have weapons available and it's no
secret that it. has been the socialist coun-
-ries that have been providing these weap-
ons. Not the U.S., not Britain, not France,
not Japan, not Germany. All these have
been arming the white minority reactionary
regime in South Africa. And all this is go-
ing to lead to armed struggle in less than
five years. In fact I wouldn't be surprised
if it happened tomorrow. We are going to
get the power, and it is going to come soon.

eryone at least has decent hous-
could improve the education of
ca which was the main objective
They don't intend to do that,
heir gsul is to keep the people in
seritsd, tnid therefore they will
his eany of apartheid only to

Archeology of a iterary decade

he Auden Generation: Literature and
olitics in England in the 1930's, by
amuel Hynes, New York: Viking, 1977,
10 pages, $12.50
hristopher and His Kind 1929-1939, by
iristopher Isherwood, New York: Far-
se, Straus and Giroux, 1976, 399 pages,
same attendant risk of disappoint-
sent as does anticipating anything else.
td with literary work, like every fame-
taught occupation, a hint of promise can
'ell be the kiss of death. So it is with
amuel Hyne's The Auden Generation.
he flaws of the book (other than gratui-
0us anticipation by readers) cannot all
> laid at Mr. Hynes's feet; a stern edi-
or, a more candid production, and a
ore modest title would have contribr
ed to a more seemly volume. But the
"thr deserves some figurative lumps
00; curiously, critics roughly of his own
eneration seem loath to give them to
Karl Miller, writing in The New York
levi.w of Books (9 June 1977), is gen-
tally pleased with Hynes's perceptions
ibout the politics of the time and of the
ople involved. But he notes that
fnes's perhaps overcautious thesis al-
S him to omit those writers who are
ard to cram into his preconceived
teory (and, in my estimation, those
th are not yet dead and are thus cap-,
Of objecting from positions of au-
hor.51 Miller also identifies several
casisns when Hynes, in his concluding
hapters, rather tramples the apparent,
ensible interpretations of several of
Adet's Poems and of Evelyn Waugh's
ile Bodies in order to bring the litera-
re itto line with Hynes's conclusions
Sthe literature.
interesting near-inversion of criti-

cal-publication roles, Diana Trilling's
commentary on The Auden Generation
in The New York Times Book Review
(22 May 1977) calls Hyne's textual ex-
plications ". . . helpful . . . empathetic,
normally trustworthy, sometimes com-
monsensically illuminating." Then she
rips him to confetti for his enormous
obtuseness about all political questions,
and accurately attributes many of the
book's deficiencies to Hynes's hidden
It is not strange that both these critics
found problems with the book: the prob-
lems are unavoidable. It is not even very
perplexing that their diagnoses of the
problems are almost diametrical oppo-
sites: each reader brings different knowl-
edge and quirky prejudices to a book,
and can be satisfied by different ele-
tments of the same material. What is
puzzling is that after paragraphs of rich-
ly-deserved and well-written complaints,
both Miller and Trilling commend The
Auden Generation to other readers (back-
handedly, in Trilling's case), and then
go on to list further objections to the
book. It is as if Hynes's raw material is
innately so interesting that neither Mil-
ler nor Trilling can quite bear to reject
his book. And, in candor, I share their
The Auden Generation is full of fascin-
ating anecdotal bits. Accounts of the In-
ternational Surrealist Exhibition opening,
and the -Mtass-Observation project are
both helplessly comic in themselves and
immensely informative about the literary
and social milieu. Hynes has rescued
significant letters and articles from the
press of that day and made them avail-
able to readers who would otherwise
have missed important issues and
nuances in a socio-poetical colloquy which
involved nearly every writer, of what-
ever stature, of that decade. lut these
functions fall more to library-stocking
and bibligraphy than they do to literary
history and criticism. Perhaps Hynes has
mistaken his calling.

Part of the failure of The Auden Gen-
eration is methodological. The author
sorts his material into chapters accord-
ing to the year of the event or publica-
tion. On one hand, although no critic
or theorist I can think of would argue
that chronology is completely irrelevent,
neither, on the other hand, can I think
of any serious analytic work, literary
or historical, which is successfully or-
ganized or argued in a simply calendri-
cal sequence. The main conclusion which
can grow out of this kind of framework
is that the years went by, and we al-
ready know that. Perhaps Hynes's aware-
ness of the limitation of his structure is
the cause of his increasingly frantic
tone toward the end of the book.
Another basic flaw is less mechanical.
Hynes is so self-consciously Writing for
The Ages that he repeatedly parades
conclusions which, if they are not im-
mediately obvious, are at least clear
enough that any reader with a sufficient
vocabulary to read the book would sure-
ly catch on after the first explanation.
(Two conclusions for free: Auden and
his peers were hugely and unfavorably
impressed by the war that was past and
the war that was coming, and youth of
the thirties yearned for leaders.) Un-
like Trilling, I find Hynes's literary
analyses plot-limited and far too reduc-
tive. Unlike Miller, I find that Hynes's
political sensibilities are of the either/or
variety, and that he tries to jam art,
letters, history, and science into a col-
umn-a-and-column-b paradigm. The Au-
den Generation is not an unenjoyable
book, but neither is it a good book.
BACK AT THE RANCH, Christopher
and His Kind is both good and fun.
Isherwood has taken on a chore very
similar to Hynes's, the reconstruction
of a decade of a literary subculture
largely from its written artifacts. Be-
cause Isherwood's reconstruction is cen-
tered around well-realized characters,
and because it avoids pretensions to
grandeur, it is an illuminating and often

poignant document.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect
of Christopher and His kind is the deft-
ness with which the older Christopher
(the "I" of the book) untangles himself
from his own earlier avatar (the "Chris-
topher" of the book). "Christopher" re-
mains as young, awkward, and less- than-
omniscient as he might reasonably have
been, and "I" is free to evalupte the
younger man's unintentional folly and
inadvertent wisdom. This differentiation
of character is especially important in
those passages which comment on the
fascism and communism of the thirties,
and is at least partially responsible for
the unlabored, profound candor of Isher-
wood's self-analysis. He wears his fail-
ures and successes rather gracefully.
Isherwood manages, for the most part,
to let the members of his coterie move
through his account as recognizable per-
sonalities, without lampoon or eulogy.
His lapses into spite and sentiment are
controlled and nearly always reflexively
satiric. And he has a healthy respect
for the vagaries of human circumstance
and volition.
His treatment of Heinz's return to Ger-
many, their cabalistic attempts to find
sanctuary, and Heinz's misfortune at
the hands of the Nazis, maintains a cl-u-
cial ambiguity. It would indeed be un-
reasonable to imagine that all the mach-
inations of weather, disease, and govern-
ment conspired merely to punish one
young German homosexual draft-dodger
and his friend. On the other hand, un-
reason always has a hand in politics,
and malevloent unreason was the strong'
suit of the Third Reich. Without strong
evidence, Isherwood refuses either to pos-
tulate or discount a conspiracy against
them, and that is perhaps the wisest
course: to acknowledge the pain and
hold the blame in reserve; It is a situ-
ation which American dissidents of the
Vietnam era will probably find familiar.
Mtrtnie Jdnu is a graduate suden in

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