I'm not sure to which post you are replying here, Rickard.
My remarks are based partly on Eliot's own observations about
having started around 1910 to read Dante in the original Italian and
having been very inspired by it. Obviously he was thinking seriously
about the poetic importamnce of Dante in his article on Dante
published circa 1917-20 and then collected in THE SACRED WOOD
It's not that the influence necessarily shows up in his poetry
in terms of specific, obvious allusions, but unless he was wrong in
his own observations, we have his word for the importance of the influence.
Given that he took to memorizing whole passages of the COMMEDIA
in the original, it is hard to think that his poetic sensibilities and
his own world were not conditioned by such an exercise.
The SACRED WOOD essay has an interesting passage
to consider vis-a-vis Preludes and TWL and the other slum poems:
"To have lost all recollected delight would have been, for Francesca, either
of humanity or relief from damnation. The ecstasy, with the present thrill
remembrance of it, is a part of the torture. Francesca is neither stupefied
reformed; she is merely damned; and it is a part of damnation to experience
desires that we can no longer gratify. For in Dante's Hell souls are not
as they mostly are in life; they are actually in the greatest torment of
'E il modo ancor m'offende'"
"Dante" THE SACRED WOOD [NY: Barnes & Noble, 1960:165-166].
TSW originally published 4 Nov. 1920 and reprinted 8 times. My edition has
the1928 preface [2nd printing], which identifies the essays as having been
separately published between 1917 and 1920.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rickard Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: Frequency of Dante references on this list. [was Interview with
Robert Harrison ....]
It's been awhile since you brought up the subject so I may be missing a
finer point but I think you were stating a case for an early influence
of Dante on Eliot. I don't really have that feeling. I believe it was
Pound who really put TSE onto Dante and so that really wouldn't be
happening until 1915. I can see an influence from about 1920 on but I
think you meant even earlier. You ended up rewording the subject line
to include the words "Frequency of Dante references" just after I
started to to do the same, that is I looked up Christopher Ricks' notes
on Dante in "Inventions of the March Hare (if a TSE line could
conceivably be connected to anyone else Ricks would annotate it.) I only
got half-way though and then the weather turned spring-like so the topic
will be dead before I get indoors to finish the research. Anyway, I
answer now only half sure. The Dante that I've seen so far are in
epigraghs and echoes. I just can't see where you see something strong.