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November 17, 1957 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1957-11-17
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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N.:

POLISH

L. LUCAS

STUDENTS:

Literature & Psychoic

(Continued from Page 7)
discusses poetic -justice, popular
legends and romance. We often
think of poetic justiceras mani-
festing itself only in tragedy, yet
an Indian doctor who threw over
his former standards when coiing
to Vienna developed a skin rash
as self punishment. Conscience,
evidently, comes upon us unknown,
and certainly when we least ex-
pect it.
IN THE AREA of legend and
myth, Lucas points out how
Narcissus has ,passed into psy_-
choanalytic jargon,.and how fit-
ting it was that, for a mistress,
the Greeks gave him Echo-the
sound of his own voice.
Lucas decries romanticism, inl
the several chapters he devotes to
that movement, mainly on grounds
that it is an expression of primi-
tive impulses, or the id. Although
he is in general sympathy with
what Romanticism started out to
be-freedom.from the stifling reg-
ularity of the neo-Classic age-he
notes that it soon developed ten-
dencies which he is later to call
"unhealthy."
Many Romantic writers were
Victims of neurotic strain, unable
to face the responsibilities of adult
life, so they threw off the shackles
and - declared that there was no
responsibility. Drawing examples
from French and English litera-
ture, he cites Blake, Rousseau,
Chateaubriand, Wordsworth, By-
ron, Lamartine, Hugo, Vigny and
Musset. As Romanticism pro-
gressed, "writers made daisy
chains of les fleurs du mal."
There is no question of con-
demning Romantic art simply
because,like much medieval re-
ligion, it found inspiration at
timer in sadism and masochism.

These are ugly names for ugly
things, yet none of us is with-
out traces of both. The fault of
the Romantics lay in, growing
.too obsessed by them.
THERE IS A difficulty in know-
ing how far we are to go, how
we can serve what Lucas calls both
Apollo and Dionysus - self -mas-
tery and self-abandonment. Since.
we are still living in the Romantic.
world, though it is "Romanticism
in decay" of which Surrealism is
the prime example, it is impera-
tive that we quickly find a solu-
tion to the Apollo-Dionysus .con-
flict. "For the Maenads had no
atom-bomb."
In the second section, Lucas
tackles problems of judgement. It
is somewhat surprising, in view of
his earlier moralistic writing, to
find that he holds the popular
emotiiist view of aesthetics: good
means "I like it;"- all beauty is
relative. He takes great pains to
prove this point, though the case
has been stated and restated since
the pre-Socratic philosophers. Ac-
cording to this view, the critic be-
comes a kind of guide and, to
use Lucas' word, advocate; the
reader is, still the final judge.
BECAUSE HE IS mainly con-
cerned with moral values, how-
ever, Lucas cannot stop there. For
him, everything may be relative,
but not everything is permitted.

Aside from art's "pleasure-value,"
there is also "influence-value."
To demonstrate this, he launches
a perceptive discussion of the Art
for Art's Sake movement; for him,
its nineteenth century advocates
were unable to prove that art is.
unassociated with ethics.- They are
engaging neurotics, but the fas-
cination we may have for them is
an unhealthy one.
But some exponents of Art With
a Purpose are unpleasing to him
also. He is, as it is evidently fash-
ionable to be, anti-Plato, and his
discussion of that philosopher is
stimulating; if infuriating. Plato
was a "neurotic genius" whose idea
of Absolute Beauty has become "a
sort of Alabaster Lady on a cloud."
With his coming, there falls
already the first cold shadow of,-
the Middle Ages, with their sense
of sin, their Inquisitions, and
their Infernos.
And again:
Better a jungle (of Romanti-
cism) than a concentration
camp (of The Republic).
FOR THOSE who have read The
Republic's tenth book and felt
that it was one of the greatest
compliments that could be paid
literature, Lucas' view seems un-
necessarily harsh. It seems even
more so in the light of his own
statement in the chapter on value:
We have seen in the last thirty
years plenty of 'novelties,' of

'subtill games,' of 'Arts and ex-
ercise;' are we so sure that they
too did not contribute to the
rise of Hitler 'and the baseness
of English 'appeasement' and
the fall of France? When we re-
call the cynical sneerings of the
'twenties, the sadistic notalgia
for savagery in D. H. Lawrence,
the egomania of Joyce, the.
_ hankerings of 'intellectuals'
after medieval obscurantism, or
the 'tragic beauty' of bullfights,
the anarchism of Surrealists, the
calculated squalor of Celine,
even the exquisitely intelligent
decadence of Proust-is it so
hard to read here the omens of,
what was to come?
For an anti-Platonist, this comes
dangerously close to grounds for
tossing the poet out of The Re-
public. Though Lucas maintains
that he and Plato are tempera-
mentally incompatible, both men
are severely troubled about the
moral effect of art on men. Plato
shrugs and says "Get rid of the
artist;" Lucas is unable to bring;
himself to that decision. Instead,
it is the critic's function to pass
moral, as well as interpretive,
judgement on a work of art, using
ethical standards gleaned "from
the experience of the race in its
struggle to survive."

The
irrit
a fi
in i
tatio
son
seem
reads
whic]
(SoD
real
for :
Ouch
Fo'
not c
notio
the w
sense
often
even
stimt
ume.
artist
Shak
aboul
them
life, L
for in
retre:
me,.]
servic
has t
art is
the -
ality
despe:

IN SOME RESPECTS,
and Psychology is
book. Statements like:.

Literature
a cranky

yeril n y o n v l i s ' o b o . S a e e t i e e p

, ,-~

rw '"a""'r"M

Part of the old-wall encircling the old town of Warsaw.

4~M

\

(,

By ROSE PERLBERG
Daily Activities Editor
OR most Americans the years
of childhood and adolescence
e carefree; we remember parties
d pranks, the everyday traumas
growing up that we laugh at in
trospect. But on the whole, we
n probably describe these years
relatively happy and stable.
For Alex Matejko and Maria
gorska, Polish students here on
e-year scholarships, the picture
very different. They are a part
the Polish generation who lost
d never recovered youth.
Alex is 31, slim and straight-
eked with a florid complexion
d receding brown hair. Meticu-

lous in dress and manner, he is
softspoken, shy and conscious of
the fact that he has been speak-
ing English only a few months.
When he's with Maria, he tends to
let her carry the discussion. Alone,'
he's. more eloquent, shows a keen
awareness of Polish problems.
AT 24, Maria has a medium build
with short-cropped blond hair
and a clear complexion. Snapping
brown eyes crinkle around the
edges with her ready smile. She
likes a jocular phrase and her
hearty laugh is infectious. But
when Maria talks about the past
two decades in Poland, she speaks
seriously.

What stands but in Maria's
mind about her childhood is the
fact that she spent the first 12
years of her education in 12 dif-
ferent schools. "There was never
a stable existence. We were always
running from something; not,
knowing what was coming next.".
, Nazis -- Maria makes a careful
distinction between Nazis and
Germans-bombe'd and destroyed,
one school after another or'killed
teachers.
When Nazi occupation started
in 1939, education was banned. It
went underground. Both Alex and
Maria recall "a great enthusiasm"
for learning.
"We would gather in a private

home to study Polish history," re-
members Maria, 'earry books..un-
der our blouses, draw the curtains
and speak in a whisper."
P UNISHMENT was severe when
conspirators were c a u g h t.
Maria once saw Nazi soldiers bru-
tally beat a little boy whose books
showed through his clothing.
Alex, a sociologist, tells of a
group of students who were? dis-:
covered by the Gestapo and herd-
ed with their professor to a con-
centration- camp..
But the "worst experience of
the war" for both was the two-
month period of futile Polish up-
rising against the harsh occupa-
tion.
Recalls Maria with a shudder:
"We lived in damp, musty cellars
with barely enough food to eat-
once a day. We were always hun-
gry, constantly frightened .. . It
was ,pretty - tough." Alex nods,

mouth tightening into a grim line:
"It was very bad"'
The Poles are a tough people.
They survived in the cellars.
But finally, they had to sur--
render to Nazis, who expelled the
whole population of Warsaw, cap-
ital city and a home for Maria J
and Alex, then burned it- to the
ground.
Maria and Alex describe the re-
habilitation of their ravaged
towns and cities matter-of-factly.
They say quietly: "What. had to
be done, we did."
ALL OVER the country tremen-
dous construction projects got
underway. Groups of sociologists
-of which Alex was one-teamed '
up with architects and did exten-
sive research to determine what
would be most functional struc-
tures. From the ruins of a city
sprang a new town; from forest
(Continued on Next Page)

CATULLUS

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(Montinufd from Page 6)
CRITICS of Copley's Catullus
may question the fitness of
modeling the diction of some of
the shorter poems after E. E. Cum-
.nings' language. The distortion of
word-order this style permits en-
ables Copley to bring forth Latin
features which would otherwise go
unrevealed. For example,
your speechless (and to what
end) ashes to address
for Catullus'
et mutam nequiquam adlo-
querer einerem
in poem 101, is, I think, an especi-
ally rich rendering. But Cum-
mingsesqueI sentimentality should
not have been allowed, on the
other hand,4o turn
novem continuas fututiones
(poem 32)
into a mere
nine times to feel the pulse of
love
In the group of long poems,
numbers 61 through 68, Copley
performs his pieces-de-resistance,
as in the epyllion (64) on the wed-
ding of Peleus and Thetis; here,
through four-hundred and eight
lines of blank verse, he manages to
translate the long Latin hexa-
meters with near line-per-line
parallel correspondence. There are
lines here one can remember, and
not always solely because of what
they felicitously translate: (64)
This maid at dawning light
will show her nurse
that yesterday's fillet can-
hn ot span her neck
(whirl spinning the yarns,
you spindles, whirl)
or this unusual Homeric simile
from poem 65:
You must not think that what
you said to me~
was thrown to, the winds or
slipped out of my heart
like a lover's apple, gift in
hi s secret sent,
which falls out from a virgin's

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