I agree with all but one point. I think the lack of a birth canal is part of
Pound's conceit, as in "nuptials thus doubly difficult." It is all a joke I think--
that there is a difficulty in begetting and a difficulty in birthing between
males, so the physical basis of the metaphor is consistent. The physical
difficulty IS the literal basis of the metaphor; there is no womb or vagina or
egg in a male either. So like most if not all conceits, this has a literalism
as its first imagery.
Date sent: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 11:32:52 -0500 (EST)
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From: Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: Poundian jocularity
<< The entire verse makes a very coherent
single image. It is not a serious poem; it is a joke between the two of
them, and there is not, in my view, any reason to import any speculative,
ambiguous, symbolic meaning in such a text.
Nancy in another post wrote:
<<Indeed, I cannot see any other way to read it grammatically unless
Pound is both Urania and a midwife performing both acts. It is quite exact
syntactically that a male Urania begat TWL on Eliot and that this being a
difficult pregnancy to get out, Pound performed the caesarean section to
remove it--there being, one presumes, no birth canal in a male mother.>>
I think true enlightenment is contained in "it is a joke between the two
of them," and I agree that importing extra meaning is uncalled for, and
that would certainly include an inapplicable literalism such as "there
being, one presumes, no birth canal in the male mother," an admixture to
the conceit that is unnecessary. Meaning, there is no "birth canal" in
biological males and there are no biological mothers among biological
males, so why try to make the conceit match up with biology?
It "is not a serious poem." Once all the tweezers are applied, the life
has already departed. Eliot has created a poem, likened to a mother
creating a baby. From what I gather lately about Urania, it seems she
would be inadequate, on her own, to produce the full-grown "creature"
called The Waste Land. Let Pound have his joke.
Ken A. --