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November 19, 1931 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1931-11-19

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rTHE~ MICHIGAN DAILY

shed every morning except Monday during the University year
oard in Control of Student Publications.
er of the Western Conference Editorial Association.
Associated Press is exclusively entitled to the use for re-
n of all news dispatches credited to it or not otherwise
in this paper and the local news published herein.
ed at the Post Office at Ann Arbor, Michigan, as second
tter. Special rate of postage granted by Third Assistant
er General.,
riptiwn, by carrier, $4.00; br mail, $4.50
a: Ann Arbor Press Building, Maynard Street, Ann Arbor,
Phones: Editorial, 4925; Business, 21214.
EDITORIAL STAFF
Telephone 4925
MANAGING EDITOR
RICHARD L. TOBIN
Director ......................... ..Beach Conger, Jr.
or .....................................Carl Forsythe
tor............ ....................David M. Nichol
titor... ....................Sheldon 0., Fullerton
Editor ..,.......................'...Margaret M. Thompson
News Editor ............. ..........Robert L. Pierce

BO OKS
MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA, by Eugene
O'Neill. Liveright. New York, 1931. $2.50. Cour-
tesy Slater's Inc.

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1B. Gilbreth
Goodman
Karl Seiffert

NIGHT EDITORS
t. Gallen Kennedy James Inglis
Jerry E. Rosenthal
George A. Stauter

Sports Assistants
J. Myers John W. Thomas

W. Ar
]". Bec
Cormel
G-. Ellia
L. FiNnk
1. asco

REPORTERS
nheim. Fred A.liuber
ker Norman Kraft
Hlli Roland -Martia
s henry Meyer
kle Arion A. Milczewskl
igne Albet 1. Newmaa
E. Jerome Pettit t
man Ceorgia Geisman
Aice Gilbert
Martha Littleton
ElizabethaLong
0 Frances Maxnchester
e Elizabeth Mann

John S~. Twsn
JOharles A. Sanford
John W. Prjtchard
.osep~h Reniban.
Brackley Shaw
Parker R. Snyder
G. Rt. Winters
Margaret Brien
Hillary IRarden
])orothy Rujidell
Hina Wadsworth
Josephine Woodhams

ste

BUSINESS STAFF
Telephone 21214
,ES T. KLINE.................Business Manager
P. JOHNSON.....................Assistant Manager
Department Managers
ing ......................................Vernon Bishop
ng Contracts. .... . .............Robert Callahan
ng Service.................Byron C. Vedder
ons ...................................William T. Brown
on .................................. Harry Rt. Begley,
s. ...................Richard .Stratemeir
sBusiness Mannger, .. .... ..........Ann W. Verner

Assistants
Aronson John Keysee
E. Bursley Arthur F. Kohn
~lark James Lowe
Fin 3ernard E. Schnacke
Becker Anne Narsa
Jane Cissel Ratharinae Jackson
ve Field D)orothy Layin
Fischgrund Virginia McComb
allmeyer Carolin Mosher
Iarriman Heien Olsen
Helen Schmeede

Grafton W. Sharp
Donald Johnson
Don Lyon
Bernard H. Good
May Seefried
Minnie Seng
Helen Spencer
Kathryn Stork
Clare Unger
Mary Elizabeth Watts

IGHT EDITOR-GEORGE,

A. STAUTER

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1931°

Plea for

mnall Colleges
ECAUSE of the fact that smaller educational
institutions are being sorely pressed in these
mes of trends toward larger units," President
over Sunday appealed to the nation for in-
ased support for the Goo small- liberal arts col-
es of the land to preserve in them some of the
ncipal sources of "high ch acter and noble
aals" without which "any purely economic sys-
rn would collapse." The President's appeal
ikes at the roots of a problem which has been
ing American educational institutions for some
ie, but which has not, as yet, become sufficiently'
ite to warrant close investigation.
Larger universities do not attempt to secure
many students as they possibly can. A process
selection has been devised by which it is hoped
it those unworthy of the chance will be elim-
ted. But it has not been entirely successful.
e smaller colleges, on the other hand, have ap-
ently been hard pressed financially, because of
ack of students. Might not a system be devised
Lich could bring about some sort of equilibrium
tween the two?
In the main, state supported institutions are to
me. They are able to accommodate more stu-
nts at a lower cost because of the source of their
ids. On the other hand, because of their nature,
ey are not able to pick and cloose as they would
e to in order to keep their reputations as educa-
nal institutions where they wish. The smaller
lleges, usually supported by municipalities, reli-
>us groups, or- in part endowed, are more suc-
;sful in eliminating those students who, they
lieve, are not interested in, or will not succeed
colleg. Yet they are, according to the Presi-
nt, facing disaster because of lack of funds.
Such institutions have as much right to state
pport as the larger ones. Yet they draw fewer
.dents because, as Mr. Hoo'ver points out, the
amatic element in education does not play a
-ge part in their activities. Their professors may
as successful, their laboratories and libraries
well equipped as those in larger shcools, yet
y fail, for obvious reasons, to attract the mass.
td perhaps, in this respect, they enjoy an ad-
atage over larger colleges. But the fact that
:tre college students exercise so little judgment
their choice of schools makes it impossible for
eir true value to be recognized until too late.
Students at universities are inclined to adopt
superior attitude towards the smaller contem-
raries. They do not have the football teams, the
-ge fraternities and sororities, things that the
idents at the former believe to be advantageous.
t they produce men and women who are able,
hold their own with their fellow citizens, and
netimes rise above them. They are not products
the mass system, but rather of a more person-
y instructive method. They do not live in the
stle and bustle of the larger campus, which at

Eugene O'Neill's recent magnum opus has been
seemingly looked upon as a gift from the gds which
it is presumtion to question. The play has been a
sort of literary cynosure during the past few weeks,
accorded extravagant praise, seldom unfavorably
criticized. It is with some compunction one subjects
this extraordinary play to the ordinary critical view-
point. - However, disregarding the author's ambitious
aim, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA can be sanely,
if not superlatively, evaluated in the light of con-
temporary standards.
Grounded in classic formalism, MOURNING BE-
COMES ELECTRA is an attempt to personalize and
psychologize the characters of the Aeschylus trilogy
in a modern setting; for it is essentially modern
despite its arbitrary dating in the 1880's. This form
sets immediate limitations of which the reader is
constantly aware, for the Mannons seem to be im-
pelled into the melee of hatred and jealousy and
lust by a perverse fate in spite of their struggle to
escape.
O'Neill fails to be entirely convincig in his ex-
planation of this doom inherent in the Mannon
blood. In the past generation both Abe and David
had loved Marie Brantome. Abe's wife loved David.
David took Marie, for which his brother drove him
out of the house and ultimately to suicide in a fit of
jealous fury. The passions of these two, allowed un-
hampered sway after they once exploded the austere
Mannon reserve, pass into the ,family character.
These brothers, through their pasisons, inculcate into
the family a doom which is to fasten upon and
destroy future generations.
This fate is a psychological abstraction which a
scientific minded people are not inclined to believe
in. It is acceptable only if the environment of the
Mannon house is thought of as a deterministic force
molding the Mannon character. Even so the reader
must still strain his credulity to conceive of the Man-
nons as human beings. While General Ezra is fight-
ing in the Civil War, his wife, Christine, has taken
a lover who is, ironically enough, also a Mannon,
illegitimate son of Marie Brantome. In a mood of
fiendish hatred Christine poisons Ezra on his return.
Lavinia, who has an unnatural love for her father,
wrings a confession from Christine and henceforth
torments her with unspoken accusation. The son,
Orin, who loves his mother, allows Lavinia to per-
suade him of his Mother's guilt, so shoots her lover.
In a jealous passion cloaked by Puritan morality,
he gloats over his deed to Christine and drives her
to suicide. Orin's imagined guilt becomes a maniacal
obsession and finally so infuriates Lavinia, who has
now become like her Mother rather than the Man-
nons, that she goads her brother to suicide.
There is an insidious quality accentuating their
evil about this family who, uder a stern mask-like
exterior are seething with jealous hatreds and inces-
tuous imaginings. 'They are so subtly evil they seem
inhuman. One reason for this is the author's scien-
tific attitude in regard to his characters. The psy-
chologists microscope hovers over them so constantly1
that what we see'are abstractions rather than human
beings.
A single abnormal characteristic of this family
would be comprehensible, but it is difficult to ima-
gine, much less sympathize with personalities guilty
of every blood crime on record either in thought or
deed. One becomes so hysterically sated with emo-
tion the situation is ludicrous.
Thus MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA suffers
from a diseas.e common to modern writing. Modern
authors are interested onl'y in one of two extremes
in character, the typical and the abnormal, both of
which are interesting as psychological specimens, but
as literary material are merely sersatinal. O'Neill's
play is sensational in intellectual content as well as
from the standpoint of the theatre.
However, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA is an
almost perfect play from the point of view of the
stage. O'Neill is undoubtedly the greatest contem-
porary master of stage technique. Witness his superb
handling of the very difficult situation,in STRANGE
INTERLUDE. Witness the intense theatricality of
MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA which can hold
the attention of a sophisticated audience for six
hours! The foreboding of the tragedy in the first
play of the triology, HOMECOMING, is followed by
scene after scene in which emotional intensity rises
crescendo like, breaking in violent action. The most
highly dramatized scene of the whole occurs ap-
propriately in Act III of the second play, HUNTED,
when Lavinia places the box of poison on her dead
father's breast to test Christine's guilt. The latter
enters unsuspecting and fixes her eyes as if horror

struck on the small box, the symbol of her crime.
This is the peak scene of the trilogy after which the
crisis are arranged in descending order.
As pointed out, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
is a tremendously effective play, but it is never de-
graded to melodrama. For the characters, though
they are unnatural, are exquisitely drawn with a
great deal of feeling and finesse on the part of the
author. The fact that they are not human is rela-
tively unimportant during the play.
Undoubtedly a great play, this is probably the
most noteworthy theatrical piece from the pen of
O'Neill or any other modern playwright. But grant-
ing ita foremost place in the contemporary field,
both because of its almost perfect theatrical tech-
nique and its experimental character, still it does
not rank with the world's great drama. Its very de-
generacy is part of its appeal today, but this quality
will be a definite limitation in another period less
transitional in nature than the present. O'Neill is
eminently deserving of the generous applause this
play has brought him, but it should not be without
reservation. B. W.
WH AT'S GOING ON
THURSDAY

Music
A NOTE ON OSSIP
GABRILOWITSCH
In his more familiar role as con-
ductor, Mr. Gabrilowitsch has per-
sistently confined his attention to
nineteenth century music. Since,
his was the only orchestra consist-
ently available, one was irritated
by his quiet savouring of the past,
seeming as it did to stifle Music's
right to be in some sense at least
an integral aspect of contempor-
aneity: helping us with its all-
powerful medium of expression to
emotional orientation to and intel-
lectual apprehension of contem-
porary problems of living (assum-
ing that we are not so sterile as to
be without them and think of mus-
ic as more than h luxury.)
One of the nice things about
Gabrilowitsch's infrequent piano
recitals (I heard him for the first
time last year)i is that they reveal
that his program-making as a con-
ductor should not be irritating.
For from them on sees (and ad-
mits, as I did a year ago) that his
program-making represents t h e
honesty of a, mature artist, who
has become aware of what music
his sensibility allows him to inter-
pret best; that in persisting in a
certain type of program he is
showing his itegrity as an Inter-
preter and an entirely admirable
self-evaluation. Concerts and reci-
tals the world over would probably
be as wholes more sane, if all in-
terpreters would be thus honest
with _themselves, would examine
themselves for indications of what
music they can best project, and
would act accordingly.
Mr. Gabrilowitsch believes in the
nineteenth century. He responds
to its typical composers in a way
(the nineteenth century way,'shall
we say) not wholly possible perhaps
to a good many other contempor-
ary pianists who as sentient beings
are more involved in the emotional
and intellectual peculiarities of,
loosely, "the contemporary scene"
(whatever its degree off stability.)
At the keyboard-much better
than at the podium-he is able to
articulate his responses vividly and
clearly. Being mature, his style is
formed,. Certain things are persist-
ent in it Which are indexes to the
way he responds to the music he
choses to play( which choice is, in
turn, an index to the way he feels
and thinks when he is not con-
cerned with music at all). Predom-
inantly, it is a -lyrical style: his
tones are predominantly vocal
(which is the reason why he can
play the Schubert Improptus so
well since they consist of a luxur-
iant string of more or less unrelat-
ed melodic intutions set in simple,
very naive, perhaps very boring ac-
companimental style). There is a
persistent elasticity of tempo-a
dangerous feature beause, unless
handled with Gabrilowitsch's sub-
tlety, it gives a sense of starting
over and over again fatal to the
projection of any kind of music. In
his phrasing there is the utmost
care to get as much expressive
nuance as possible into the single
note (with. a ravishing range of
dynamics, particularly from 11 to
ppp) and as muchmeaning as pos-
sible into the passage to notes (by
the constant use of an exquisitely
subtle rubato). The peculiarities of
this phrasing are 'hst noticeable
in the Beethoven Largo (played in
exactly the same style as the Largo

I of Bethoven Sonata, Op. 10, No. 1
played in last year's recital). Both
these largos were so marvellously
eloquent and affecting as to seem
perhaps unbalanced (that is, their
melancholy passed by over-indul-
gence- into something too luscious).
Gabrilowitsch does this by taking
the phrases with a tremulous slow-
ness: which permits him to exqui-
sitely "color" each note and to use
a lingering, oh-so-tender, hating-
to-leave-the-note legato style. This
tremulous slowness is an exploita-
tion of the tensions established in
the mind by the fact that a melody
is a temporal pattern.
All these elements of style (which
might be grouped under a New
York critic's phrase "the caressive
concept of pianistic style") reveal
Gabrilowitsch as a "romanticist."
Which implies exactly what? It im-
plies that he holds a certain view
as to the nature of music's ex-
pressiveness.and possesses a certain
kind of sensibility (which gave rise
to and is then affected by that
view). When one states one's feel-
ing that Gabrilowitsch is not a real
contemporary, one does not therbye
deny that he plays certain -music
of the past as it should be played
or deny that one has enjoyed his
recital. What one is saying is: what
"Gabrilowitsch" (his views and his
sensibility) means is different from

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