Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 7. Tuesday, June 18, 1963
Letters to the Editor. . .
Letters to the Editor. . . .
Sir,—Your correspondent Mr. Geard spent almost a column of the last Salient trying to convince us that art is divorced from life. Now I can just imagine Mr. Geard throwing up his hands in righteous indignation at the misconstruction I have placed on his words.
Is it really though? Mr. Geard is at pains to divorce art from protest by delivering us again with that huge generalisation, "the beat" to prove that this species consists or all those in whom art and protest are indissolubly linked. Like Mr. RGL., if he advocates this, he is either blinded by extreme conservatism or indulging in an intellectual sophism. Once the initial founding stone of Geard's edifice is knocked away his arguments are as absurd as RGL.'s.
Jane Austin (a more neat and outwardly conformist figure in comparison with our "beat" generation it is hard to imagine) in the space of the restrictive area she was to limit herself to, was still yet able to voice strong protest at the posturing she found in her world. All good art is a type of criticism, we are not interested if it is not. Chekhov lived as a doctor for the larger part of his life yet his works, written in his spare time, are just as damning an indictment on pre-Revolutionary Russia as are Tolstoy's. But Chekhov was at pains to dissociate himself from political activity.
Geard misinterprets my remarks about the "pretty boys" in the university. By pretty, if we must descend into the field of aesthetics, I mean that these people shape themselves after one part of the romantic image and live as much in its shadow as do some of the beats, their American counterparts. This art is art in a vacuum, of Johnson, a minor Georgian poet, shutting himself in a cupboard to achieve just this effect. The result is a shadow of reality, a type of neo-platonic dream.
But the initial posture means nothing, it is the end result we must judge; whether the dissociation from the actual world is successful in producing good art. In Geard's terms Johnson is a crank to a far greater degree than is the beat, but Kermode and other critics are now more or less agreed the influence of Johnson on the greatest poet of the century, Yeats, was fairly profound.
These men, types of pseuds (there I have used it against my will) to our eyes, had a great influence in shaping Yeats' great art. They were in Cary's terms, artists in their own right, even though some members of this group in London at the turn of the century did not right themselves.
Which brings me to Mr. Geard's last remark. "90 per cent of these explosions which are nothing more than effusions of pretentious and effete poseurs." What Mr. Geard says in fact is "I am not big enough to live with you . . . my cosmos is not big enough to accommodate you . . . I have studied you in my own world and your reactions to it are not the type I associate with artists."
I do not deal with a world of intellectual snobbery and journalistic classifications. I would suggest RGL. and Mr. Geard stop doing so.
M. C. Rowlands.
Sir,—As a publisher's representative (W. Heinemann Ltd.) and a student of Auckland University I am naturally interested in text-book prices. In reference to your article last issue, I can only say that Peter Blizard has grossly exaggerated any profit a bookshop makes on the text-books he quoted. Apart from the fact that his percentages are a "little" inaccurate, the very fact that he "takes no account of shipping, freight, overheads and student discounts of 10 per cent" shows his research was nothing if not cursory. These charges are what takes the profit out of educational books, Ask any bookseller and he will say that only a big firm can handle this type of book as it is only by ordering large quantities any profit can be made at all. Educational books mean a lot of work for little return per copy.
In setting up a university bookshop, which I think personally is a very good idea, be sure you have noted all angles—including the overheads; these are huge.
These are my own opinions and not necessarily those of my company, but I feel they ought to be expressed.
Pen - Friend Wanted
Sir,—In this country we know so little about New Zealand. I suppose the same applies to you folk in New Zealand knowing very little about South Africa.
I would like to correspond with someone who would care to write to me. We could exchange magazines, postcards and views and ideas about the two countries.
I am 28 years of age.
—I am, etc.,
David Watson.4 Stromberg Street, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Dear Sir,—I am intending to go on a world trip round about the end of the year and am at present looking for a suitable travelling companion. I wonder if you would know of anybody amongst the students of your university who might be interested in joining me. I am particularly interested in visiting Australia. Japan and the American continent. As far as means of transport is concerned I am thinking of going partly by car, bus boat as well as hitchhiking.
—I am, etc.,
Rolf Gladow.31 Clifford Ave., Fendalton, Christchurch