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The following speech was delivered by THE PUBLIC ORATOR in a Congregation held on Saturday, 21 October 1995, in presenting for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters


Graeci poetas tragicos cum fabulas suas in scaenam mitterent <didaskein>, id est docere, dicebant; hic quem produco summum inter tragicos locum diu adeptus, nam aequalem fere videmus Sophoclis illius qui Athenienses suos mollissima sed eadem ferocissima illa fabula delectavit qua Oedipus lucum Coloneum revisit, ita tragoedias suas disponit ut auditores cum fortissimum misericordiae timorisque adfectum sentiant, tum aliquid cogitatione dignum de hominum natura deque civitatis indole discant. nempe quod dicit Horatius poeta meminimus omnes, cum de optimo carminum genere verba faciebat:
omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci. [1]
hic est qui mercatoris vitam necemque cothurno tragico non indignam esse arbitratus hominis volgaris curas cum Agamemnonis Pentheique aerumnis quodam modo aequavit; hic, qui istam quaestionem de veneficis sagisque summa cum crudelitate olim habitam, in qua miseras mulieres circumstrepebat undique sartago flagitiosorum facinorum, [2] ita ante spectantium oculos posuit ut ne stulti quidem ignorarent suam rem agi, suorum temporum clades repraesentari. nec deerat huic occasio inquisitorum qui tum grassabant minas et adrogantiam experiendi; in qua demonstravit quam vere dixerit poeta
est et fideli tuta silentio merces. [3]
cordi sunt huic spinosae illae de officiis quaestiones, quibus inretatos et laborantes ostendit homines nostri haud dissimiles, quos dum spectamus ita de nobis fabulam narrari sentimus ut de genere humano haudquaquam desperandum esse credamus, in pessimo quoque aliquid inesse rationis mentisque bonae quo afficimur ipsi; et quidem nobis ostendit senem intelligere et confiteri coactum non alienos esse eos quibus commodi sui causa nocuerit sed universos tam liberorum suorum loco esse quam eos quos genuerat ipse. nuperrime in Vitrearia ad propositum quod semper in deliciis habuit reversus cives depinxit dum nil agunt nimis facile publicis sceleribus et tyrannide oppressos. illis se ducem et signiferum professus qui ab omni importuna dominatione, omni inepta aut superba librorum veritatisque repressione historiam et studia nostra vindicant, diu consilio praefuit ab ipsa penna cognominato quod libertatem sentiendi scribendique tutatur. nostrum nuper factum esse gaudemus, qui hic tenuerit cathedram, praeclaras habuerit lectiones, litterarum vere humanarum praebuerit exemplum.

Praesento nostrorum temporum Sophoclem, libertatis propugnatorem acerrimum, mentis humanae scrutatorem perspicacissimum, Arturum Miller, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris.


[1] Horace, Ars Poetica 343.
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[2] Cf. St Augustine, Confessions, iii. 1: `To Carthage then I came . . . What a crucible (sartago) of unholy loves crackled round my ears . . .'
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[3] Horace, Odes iii. 2. 25.
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Among the ancient Greeks it was said of a tragic poet, when he put on a play, that he `taught' it; and our guest today has had much to teach us about human nature and human society in his writings for the stage. He has long been in the first rank of serious playwrights, being now at the age at which Sophocles produced that beautiful but terrible tragedy, Oedipus at Colonus. His plays do not only give the audience, in the most intense form, the emotions of pity and fear: they also give them material for serious thought. He has fulfilled the well known demand of the poet Horace, that the truly successful poet should combine instruction with delight. Mr Miller is the man who considered the Death of a Salesman to be a subject no less fit for tragic treatment than that of King Agamemnon or King Lear. He brought on to the stage those fearful trials for witchcraft in which the unhappy victims were surrounded by a hissing Crucible of denunciation and hysteria, and he did it in a way that sho wed the spectator the immediacy and relevance of those events to their own lives. He was not spared the experience of a menacing and over-mighty inquisition; on that occasion he demonstrated the truth of the poet, that `Loyalty and silence have their reward'. What he likes to deal with are the spiky questions of morality, in which he shows us people like ourselves entangled and struggling. As we watch them, we feel that the story is applicable to us, too; but that we should be wrong to despair of humanity, and even the worst characters can be humanly understood. We share the experience of the father who is forced to realise and to admit that the young men he injured for the sake of his own interest were not indifferent strangers but in truth All My Sons. In his recent play Broken Glass he has returned to a favourite theme; the paralysis of private citizens in the face of public evil. A champion of freedom against every form of oppression, censorship, and falsehood, he has been President of PEN and active in its defence of freedom of thought and expression. We are proud that he has recently become one of us, ho lding the Cameron Mackintosh Chair and giving a set of splendid lectures, an example of true humanity in literature. I present the Sophocles of our generation, a fearless fighter for freedom, a matchless observer of the human heart, Arthur Miller, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

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HARRY BARKUS GRAY (BS Western Kentucky, PH.D. North Western), Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology, has been appointed to the professorship for the academic year 1997–8.

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The examiners for the M.Sc. in Forestry and its Relation to Land Use have awarded the Prize to CATHERINE GRAHAM, Green College.

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Mr Vice-Chancellor will on 31 October declare carried Statute (1) which was promulgated on 10 October, concerning procedures in Congregation (see `University Agenda' above). Para. 15 of the guide to those procedures (Statutes, 1995, p. 23; Examination Decrees, 1995, p. 1066) is accordingly amended by the deletion of the existing second sentence and the substitution of `If such a resolution is published in the Gazette at least nineteen days in advance (e.g. on the Thursday of First Week), Council may require that any member of Congregation who proposes to oppose the resolution should notify the Registrar in writing by noon on the eighth day before the meeting (e.g. on the Monday of Third Week); if so, and in the absence of such notification from at least two members, the resolution shall be declared carried without question put unless the matter is adjourned (see para. 24 below). In such circumstances the meeting of Congregation may be cancelled. If on the other hand the resolution is not published at least nineteen days in advance (or if Council does not require advance notice of opposition), then at the meeting twelve (or more) members of Congregation may, by rising in their places, prevent the moving of the resolution, and the procedures which were to have been suspended accordingly remain in force.'

The first sentence of para. 24 (p. 26 and p. 1068 respectively) is amended by the deletion of `category (a), (b), or (g)' and the substitution of `category (b) or (g), or category (a) if advance notice of opposition has not been required (see para. 15 above)'.

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The composition of the electoral boards to the posts below, proceedings to fill which are currently in progress, is as follows.
                                     Appointed by

White's Professorship of Moral Philosophy

Warden of Rhodes House (Chairman) Mr Vice-Chancellor[1] President of Corpus Christi ex officio Professor R.W. Hepburn Council Professor T.M. Scanlon General Board Professor J. Raz, FBA General Board Professor C.A.B. Peacocke, FBA Literae Humaniores Board Dr S.M. Lovibond Literae Humaniores Board Professor D.R.P. Wiggins Sub-faculty of Philosophy Mr C.C.W. Taylor Corpus Christi College

Readership in Experimental Pathology

Principal of St Hilda's (Chairman) Mr Vice-Chancellor[1] Rector of Exeter ex officio Regius Professor of Medicine ex officio Professor of Pathology ex officio Professor A. Balmain Council Professor C.J. Marshall, FRS General Board Professor S. Gordon Physiological Sciences Board Dr P.R. Cook Physiological Sciences Board Dr R.J. Vaughan-Jones Exeter College [1]Appointed by Mr Vice-Chancellor under the provisions of Tit. IX, Sect. III, cl. 2 (Statutes, 1995, p. 63).

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The Educational Technology Resources Centre (or ETRC) provides various audiovisual and television services for all institutions within the University as well as for individual members of the University. The major services available are:

Other services available include conference support, advice on the choice of audiovisual or video equipment, and assistance in the creation of multimedia software.

For further details of these services, or advice on any other aspect of audiovisual or television facilities, please contact the ETRC by telephone on (2)70526, or by e-mail on

Additional information about the ETRC and the services it provides can also be found in the ETRC's World Wide Web pages which are accessible either via the University's main information server or directly at

Workshops and demonstrations

The following workshops and demonstrations are being organised by the ETRC during Michaelmas Term.

1 November: using a camcorder

This workshop is intended for those who wish to use a video camera (camcorder) to prepare video material for use in their teaching or research. Participants will all use a camera to make a short recording, and attention will be paid to the common faults exhibited by inexperienced users, and how best to avoid them.

15 November: making audio recordings

This workshop is intended for those needing to make good quality sound recordings, and will include topics such as the choice and use of microphones and the choice of working environment.

22 November: presenting computer displays in lectures

This session will take the form of a demonstration rather than a hands-on workshop, and will utilise the ETRC's loanable video projector, as well as other display systems, to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of displaying computer output to audiences of various sizes.

29 November: editing videotapes

This workshop is intended primarily for those who wish to select sequences from one or more video recordings and copy them in sequence to a second tape for use in lectures or tutorials, but will also be of interest to those with more creative aims. Those attending will also learn how to use the self-access VHS and Hi 8 edit suites installed for general use within the ETRC.

All workshops and demonstrations will take place in the ETRC, 37 Wellington Square, starting at 5 p.m. on lasting for about one hour.

In order to allow each workshop to be tailored to the needs of the participants, all those attending are asked to complete a short questionnaire a few days before the workshop outlining their previous experience in this field, if any, and any particular interests or problems that they may have. In certain situations, if the questionnaires indicate too wide a range of experience, it may be desirable to split the group into two parts and to arrange a new date for one of these sub-groups. For this reason, all those wishing to attend should register in advance, no later than the Monday preceding the workshop.

Places may be booked on any course either by telephone on (2)70526, or by e-mail to

More information about the workshops and demonstrations can be found in the ETRC's WWW pages: see information above.

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Notwithstanding previous notices, but in accordance with decisions of the Sub-faculty of Philosophy and the Board of the Faculty of Literae Humaniores, the John Locke Prize will be examined by two (not four) papers:

1 Philosophical Questions, including questions on logic, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology.

2 Essay.

Any candidate who finds himself or herself aggrieved by this change from the provisions made in the University Gazette supplement of 10 October 1994 should write as soon as possible, and before the examination, to the Chairman of Examiners, Professor David Wiggins, at 10 Merton Street.

The entry deadline has been extended to Friday, 27 October. The examination will take place in the Examination Schools at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 31 October.

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The Gerald Averay Wainwright Prizes for Near Eastern Archaeology aim to stimulate and reward interest in the Ancient Near East (including Egypt) in young people of secondary school age. They take their name from the Egyptologist and archaeologist Gerald Wainwright (1879–1964).

Prizes are offered for essays or projects on aspects of the history, archaeology, society, or art, or any country or countries from Morocco to Afghanistan (including Cyprus, Israel, and Anatolia) in the ancient (but not Classical, i.e. dealing with the Greeks or Romans) period. The entries should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length and include relevant illustrations and bibliography. Candidates should be attending a recognised British school, although those taking a year out between school and higher education are also eligible.

Further details may be obtained from Ms S.L. Byrch, the Gerald Averay Wainwright Near Eastern Archaeological Fund, the Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE, to whom entries may be sent at any time during the academic year 1995–6, but by 23 September 1996 at the latest.

This is an annual competition.

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The University Gazette is circulated on request to retired resident members of Congregation until they reach the age of seventy-five. However, it has been decided that any former member of Congregation over the age of seventy-five may continue to receive the Gazette, if he or she so wishes, on application in writing to the Information Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD. Such applications must be renewed at the beginning of each academic year.