Given that Eliot and the symbolists paid good attention to Eddie Poe,
to whom the whirlpoolas maelstrum was very important, oblivion
is the right word.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Gray" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 8:05 AM
Subject: Re: Fearing death by water
> Considering the death of Phlebas and a a possible
> redemptive quality.
> The poem describes him as:
> Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
> And the profit and loss.
> A current under sea
> Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
> He passed the stages of his age and youth
> Entering the whirlpool.
> I don't see any redemption here. Far from redemption I
> see oblivion. Far from finding redemption for his past
> life, his past life has come to nothing.
> In answer to the general question about the
> relationship of this image of Phlebas to a general use
> of water as an image, this image is very specific.
> Death by water is a life in which every thing is lost
> and nothing is gained. It is somthing to be greatly
> --- Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Gunnar, Tom and Rick: Doesn't the discussion below
> indicate that the Eliot's use of "water" as a symbol
> in TWL is so equivocal that it cannot be connected to
> any consistent signified? This would not be a flaw in
> Finnegans Wake or Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons
> (water is water is water) or any text that takes
> semantic shifts as a subject, but in a poem that is
> otherwise symbolic it seems a misstep. Diana
> From: Gunnar Jauch <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Fearing death by water
> Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2007 20:26:28 +0200
> Am 08.08.2007 um 17:40 schrieb Rickard A. Parker:
> >I wrote to Diana (in part and on Fri, 3 Aug 2007):
> >>Somewhere in this long thread I believe you asked
> >>something like "Why fear death by water?"
> >Tom Gray quoted this in a reply and added (on Fri, 3
> Aug 2007):
> >>Doesn't Eliot provide and answer to that question?
> >>"Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as
> >I'm reading your reply as Eliot setting up the
> comparison "Phlebas
> >died and you will too." While certainly true, I
> don't see that as a
> >reason to fear death. Diana and CR were discussing
> the redemptive
> >quality of Phlebas' drowning. I'm not going to go
> that far myself
> >but it doesn't appear to be a death to be feared.
> Nor did the
> >drowning of the fishermen in the draft of the poem.
> Nor the
> >to The Tempest scattered within the poem (Those are
> potatoes that
> >eyes.) Other Eliot poems that have death by water
> also don't seem
> >me to be fearful of a death by water.
> > Rick Parker
> did you consider the last line of Prufrock:
> "Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
> They seem to imply redemption by seaweed wreathed
> sea-girls as well as fear.
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