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TSE  March 2001

TSE March 2001

Subject:

Re: Dans le Restaurant and the Commedia'm not saying that Steve's

From:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 18 Mar 2001 14:49:55 EST

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In a message dated 3/18/01 1:49:04 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:


> The connections are arbitrary.  There are woods all over 2 millennia of 
> Western poetry.  

As I understood it, from Steve's description, the commentator was noticing 
that in Dan le Restaurant, the waiter is frightened by an animal (dog). And 
in the opening of the Commedia Dante is frightened by three animals (lion,. 
leopard, wolf). 

Also you'll recall that Eliot spoke about the portion of La Vita Nuova where 
Dante tells of falling in love with Beatrice at age 9. Eliot says the number 
9 might have been chosen for symbolic reasons, as we should understand that 
sexual awareness first occurs at an earlier age (Mr. Eliot as the good little 
Freudian!). And now we have Eliot writing his own poem about a person's 
earliest awareness of sexuality. So there's a lot of detail to sort out 
before one can answer Steve's question, and I'd really like to see the entire 
article.

The "mid-way" of life is not like the "mid-way" of some child's sexual 
fantasy interrupted by a big dog.  None of it is LIKE Dante.  

The animals that accost Dante are usually interpreted by the annotators of 
the Commedia as symbols of the lusts of the flesh, so it's not out of the 
question, in my opinion, that Steve's author might have noticed something of 
interest. Also it's typical of Eliot to make precisely the kind of jumps you 
want to brush aside in this case--mid-way of one thing becomes mid-way of 
something else. To take a word Dante used in one sense and use it in another 
sense is one way of achieving repetition with variation, that good old 
"Classical" value. Poets make these kinds of jumps all the time, maybe Eliot 
far more often than you're allowing. Again, how is one supposed to decide 
without reading the whole article?

The poem ends in the Phlebas episode, which does not fit into any of this 
unless you want to claim it is a kind of Dantesque punishment or you want 
to stick on a divine salvation of purification by water.  

I don't like to discuss Dans le Resatuarant without Dirge, and I've taken the 
position that all three of Eliot's drowned men are the same drowned man--that 
we're being offered multiple views of a single corpse, not multiple corpses. 
And that it's all the drowning of Dante's Ulysses, filtered through Joyce's 
Ulysses. Notice that Phlebas first appears as a Phoenician, and Joyce rightly 
or wrongly believed that Homer's Odyssey (where Ulysses is the main 
character) was based on an earlier  Phoenician story. So drowning is in fact 
a Dantesque punishment, at least for Ulysses. On the waiter's need for a 
bath, Dante is told to wash himself in Purgatory. So there's some intimation 
that he needed to do so, that he wasn't clean when he entered the "dark 
woods." On origins, my sense is that Eliot's drowning episodes were intended 
at least in part as actualizations of Prufrock's anticipatory drowning 
("human voices wake us and we drown"). I'm surprised that those who want an 
autobiographical slant haven't addressed the question of what drowning--that 
persistent image!--might have meant to Eliot. Here one can haul out Freud and 
Jung and really make sense.

Again, I'm not saying I agree with Steve's author--I too want to see more 
connectors, as well as the entire article. Maybe he'll just send it to me, if 
nobody else wants to read it.

pat sloane





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<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT  SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>In a message dated 3/18/01 1:49:04 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
<BR>[log in to unmask] writes:
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">The connections are arbitrary. &nbsp;There are woods all over 2 millennia of 
<BR>Western poetry. &nbsp;</FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>
<BR>As I understood it, from Steve's description, the commentator was noticing 
<BR>that in Dan le Restaurant, the waiter is frightened by an animal (dog). And 
<BR>in the opening of the Commedia Dante is frightened by three animals (lion,. 
<BR>leopard, wolf). 
<BR>
<BR>Also you'll recall that Eliot spoke about the portion of La Vita Nuova where 
<BR>Dante tells of falling in love with Beatrice at age 9. Eliot says the number 
<BR>9 might have been chosen for symbolic reasons, as we should understand that 
<BR>sexual awareness first occurs at an earlier age (Mr. Eliot as the good little 
<BR>Freudian!). And now we have Eliot writing his own poem about a person's 
<BR>earliest awareness of sexuality. So there's a lot of detail to sort out 
<BR>before one can answer Steve's question, and I'd really like to see the entire 
<BR>article.
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>The "mid-way" of life is not like the "mid-way" of some child's sexual 
<BR>fantasy interrupted by a big dog. &nbsp;None of it is LIKE Dante. &nbsp;
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>The animals that accost Dante are usually interpreted by the annotators of 
<BR>the Commedia as symbols of the lusts of the flesh, so it's not out of the 
<BR>question, in my opinion, that Steve's author might have noticed something of 
<BR>interest. Also it's typical of Eliot to make precisely the kind of jumps you 
<BR>want to brush aside in this case--mid-way of one thing becomes mid-way of 
<BR>something else. To take a word Dante used in one sense and use it in another 
<BR>sense is one way of achieving repetition with variation, that good old 
<BR>"Classical" value. Poets make these kinds of jumps all the time, maybe Eliot 
<BR>far more often than you're allowing. Again, how is one supposed to decide 
<BR>without reading the whole article?
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"></B>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0">The poem ends in the Phlebas episode, which does not fit into any of this 
<BR>unless you want to claim it is a kind of Dantesque punishment or you want 
<BR>to stick on a divine salvation of purification by water. &nbsp;
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>I don't like to discuss Dans le Resatuarant without Dirge, and I've taken the 
<BR>position that all three of Eliot's drowned men are the same drowned man--that 
<BR>we're being offered multiple views of a single corpse, not multiple corpses. 
<BR>And that it's all the drowning of Dante's Ulysses, filtered through Joyce's 
<BR>Ulysses. Notice that Phlebas first appears as a Phoenician, and Joyce rightly 
<BR>or wrongly believed that Homer's Odyssey (where Ulysses is the main 
<BR>character) was based on an earlier &nbsp;Phoenician story. So drowning is in fact 
<BR>a Dantesque punishment, at least for Ulysses. On the waiter's need for a 
<BR>bath, Dante is told to wash himself in Purgatory. So there's some intimation 
<BR>that he needed to do so, that he wasn't clean when he entered the "dark 
<BR>woods." On origins, my sense is that Eliot's drowning episodes were intended 
<BR>at least in part as actualizations of Prufrock's anticipatory drowning 
<BR>("human voices wake us and we drown"). I'm surprised that those who want an 
<BR>autobiographical slant haven't addressed the question of what drowning--that 
<BR>persistent image!--might have meant to Eliot. Here one can haul out Freud and 
<BR>Jung and really make sense.
<BR>
<BR>Again, I'm not saying I agree with Steve's author--I too want to see more 
<BR>connectors, as well as the entire article. Maybe he'll just send it to me, if 
<BR>nobody else wants to read it.
<BR>
<BR>pat sloane
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>
<BR></FONT></HTML>

--part1_79.11b66e78.27e66b63_boundary--

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