I think I disagree here. Somewhere Eliot said he did not ever have mystical
experience (though he seemed to have idealized it). I do not think he ever
got past an intellectual understanding of John of the Cross or of Julian of
Norwich--he knew what the words meant but never knew it as experience. I
think that not only because he said it but because I do not think his work
reveals that kind of experience. The BN Rose Garden scene may come
nearest to such a "moment," but even that is truncated and leads into
nostalgia for recalled temporal desire.
Date sent: Wed, 22 May 2002 14:50:57 -0500
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From: "Earls, JP" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: RE: Milton, FQ (why OT?)
BN II attempts to distinguish between two mystical experiences, one of
light (erhebung) and one of darkness. Eliot attempts to demonstrate in
the course of FQ how both the tormenting and the exalting experiences can
be brought together into the eternity of the same individual. This
individual is Eliot, and the experiences are his, not those of some
depersonalized humanity. His loves have put him into touch with both
torment and exaltation, as have his career and family relationships. At
the end of LG, both the "rose" and the "tongues of flame" are brought
together in the "crowned knot of fire."
I know that associating each of these flowers with a particular individual
is a radical departure from FQ scholarship, but I think it's a fruitful
avenue to explore.
J. P. Earls, OSB
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN 56321
From: Marcia Karp [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 12:08 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Milton, FQ (why OT?)
> > If it is possible to see the correspondences "faded song" = Vivienne;
> > Royal Rose = Emily Hale; spray of lilacs = Verdenal; then the personal
> > element here adds even more to its stature.
> Well, I see the possibilties for "faded song" and "lavender spray" but
> other than coming up with another name for "Royal Rose" how do you get
> Emily Hale for the rose?
> It seems now accepted that the rose-garden scene in BN was inspired by
> the visit Eliot and Emily made to the garden at Burnt Norton estate
> during her visit to England (it was late August-early September '34 that
> Gordon places the visit to BN). Why it is "royal" and capitalized I'm
> not guessing. A similar passage occurs in _The Family Reunion_.
I'm lost. Where does the poem point to the poet's private impulses?