I want to praise your pugnacious willingness to pursue an Eliot lead as
far as possible, but I feel a need also to demur against several lines of
inquiry you pursue, especially those which have surfaced recently on the
list. At the beginning of the "La Figlia" thread, for example, you
speculate about the (sub)conscious flows operating in Eliot's early poems,
> On the five Eliot poems I'm writing about, I'm
> fairly sure that just about every image leads back to the Commedia. Or, to
> put it the other way, he could have started with some image in Commedia,
> free-associated on that image, and come up with a corresponding image in one
> of the five poems. I'm not sure if he does that with most or all of his
> early poems, although to a lesser extent.
yet this description seems to apply more to your own method rather than
Eliot's, despite the garbled syntax of the last sentence (or what would
seem garbled to those unfamiliar with an abbreviated American idiom).
Most of the time I enjoy the aggressive bullishness you exhibit, but far
too often you seem stuck in a rut with thick blinders on--for example,
> I'm especially not sure about
> La Figlia, though it's having an Italian title does make one wonder if it's
> some image or other from Dante.
I may be speaking for other list lurkers when I say sometimes this
Dantesque obsession distorts your view of TSE's productions in their own
realm. Could you clarify the following statement, particularly its
so-called "apocryphal" or Tennysonian gestures, at least for those of us
who have not yet had time to consult your book?
> I said we needed this assumption to understand the Ulysses
> episode (which is also supposed to be apocryphal), or what Eliot did with the
> Ulysses episode.
I will need canto and line numbers too from _Purgatorio_ (whether from
TSE's beloved Temple Classics edition or some other) before I can feel
comfortable absorbing the effect of your contention that
> Manto is the legendary founder of Mantua, the city where Virgil was born. In
> the Commedia, Virgil stays with Dante until they come to Mantua, and then
> can't go any further. I took this to be a fancy way of saying that we're all
> limited by the conditions of our birth. This in turn leads back to Dante's
> compassionate treatment of Virgil. Although Virgil is irredeemable, this
> isn't because he's a bad person. It was just his destiny to be born in the
> wrong time and place.
Since when is Mantua on Mount Purgatory? We can all appreciate the
superficial largesse of your PC conclusions, even in spite of the
judgmental suppositions they preserve a precarious balance on, but you'll
have to speak more persuasively to convince us that Dante is _the_ major
influence on TSE, especially in the early poems. Do you really believe
that the crysalis of _He Do the Police in Different Voices_ eventually
metamorphosed into a simple extended dialogue between the Fisher King and
his Queen? I trust you'll take my queries in the proper spirit and reply
in due time. Until then, I remain