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TSE  March 2001

TSE March 2001

Subject:

Re: The Uranian confusion

From:

"Rickard Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 3 Mar 2001 23:42:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (102 lines)

> So why, finally, didn't Eliot include Pound's ditty as a part of TWL?
Maybe
> he had second thoughts on the word "Uranian," which could be taken in more
> than one way.

Check Eliot's letter to Pound (Jan. 1922, Letters, p. 504).  It is not clear
whether Eliot meant the whole "Sage Homme" poem or just one line. "Wish to
use Caesarean operation in italics in front"  appears to me though that
Eliot just wanted to use the one line.


> The last book from which Rick quoted, for example, seems to be going a bit
> overboard to portray Eliot as an explosive, stereotype closet queen,
hissing
> with malice and real tetchy about anything he thought might possibly out
him.
> When Jean Verdenal was mentioned, Eliot supposedly went "white with rage,"
> had "cold fury," etc.

Again Pat seems to be making pretty broad statements about a book in which I
just quoted a few lines.

And you are incorrect about this - in the book that I quoted from, no
statement was made about Verdenal being mentioned by either Aiken or
Addington.  Aiken commented on TWL's melancholy.  Addington made more than
one comment that APPARENTLY made Eliot uneasy.


> So far as I know, these emotional tizzies never
> happened, in the sense that there isn't any independent corroboration.

This may not be independent, but Aiken wrote about one "tizzies" of these in
"An Anatomy of Melancholy," Sewanee Review Jan-Mar, 1966)  It dealt with an
incident about the two of them (Eliot/Aiken).  Yeah, Eliot was dead so he
couldn't call Aiken a liar (but would he have anyway?)


> In any
> case, why would Eliot's London friends be mentioning Jean Verdenal, a
person
> they didn't know and whose name they apparently didn't know?

Where did you get that Eliot's friends were mentioning Verdenal at all in
this context?  Not from my post and not from the book  I quoted from ( Fred
D. Crawford, "Mixing Memory and Desire," see mainly p. 10)

Verdenal was the person to whom Eliot dedicated his 1917 "Prufrock and other
Observations."  They may have known of him from that.


> For the sake of argument, let's go along with this "Eliot is a closet
queen"
> stuff: he's a loose cannon who's going to fly into a hysterical rage if
> there's any mention of anything that might tie him, even remotely, to
> homosexuality. So how come he lets Pound subject him to some pretty rough
> kidding about Uranian muses if, as is claimed, Pound was actually kidding
him
> about being homosexual?

I'm not claiming anything about closet queen but someone else (Pat?) has
recently mentioned that poets that Pound took under his wing had a few good
reasons to put up with a lot the stuff he handed out.


> I'm not wild about argumentation that goes, "he denied it and therefore it
> must be true."  But, as above, I'm still not sure what I think in this
area.
> Certainly there's a sense in which all characters in his poems are aspects
of
> Eliot himself--otherwise he wouldn't have been able to imagine them.

Much may be Eliot but not all need be.  I grant TSE the imagination to
create fictional characters like the Thames Daughters.


> To me, the
> conflict that's coming through in the poems is a hell of a lot deeper than
> "should a gay man come out of the closet or should a gay man not come out
> of the closet?"  And I think one misses too much by boiling it down to
that, if
> it's actually that in any sense.

And to me, if you think that all Eliot did was play off Dante you are
missing much of the meaning.  I think that Pat sees that there is much more
than that in TSE's poetry and I know that there is more than the personal
meaning to TWL.  We each place emphasis to the parts that mean the most to
us.  One leans mostly for TWL being a way to overcome despair, one sees TWL
as a comedy of sorts (another working out of despair?)  I give Pat credit
for seeing beyond the send-up of the Commedia and Pat ... (well, never
mind.)

By the way, I'm not saying that the closet stuff is being made out to be my
reading but I do want it to be clear that it is not.  I'm sure that Steve
goes beyond this simple reading too.  It seems mainly to be forced upon the
list by someone putting words into other's mouths.

Regards,
   Rick Parker



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