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TSE  July 2001

TSE July 2001

Subject:

Re: Dante in the hyacinth garden

From:

[log in to unmask][log in to unmask], 19 Jul 2001 16:17:57 -0400404_- At 01:48 PM 07/19/2001 -0400, Rickard Parker wrote:

>So Eliot could have used a different word, "Thames" perhaps, and he
>would have still called up a biblical context. By using "Leman" he
>still retains that context but adds the possiblities of mutiple
>meanings on top of that.

OK, I may be all wet also, and I am definitely struggling.... [...]40_19Jul200116:17:[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sat, 7 Jul 2001 11:52:11 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

Rick Seddon wrote (7/6/01):

> First off as I think is obvious there are subtle
> difference between all the translations and Saha's
> claim to have an "exact equivalent" cannot therefore
> just be accepted.  I have no Italian myself and must
> rely upon multiple translations for a average sense.

Let me readily admit that I also do not know any Italian. 

These are the translations you gave from your various sources:
"I did not die and did not remain alive".
"I did not die and yet I had lost life's breath".
"I neither died,  nor kept alive".
"This was not life, and yet it was not death".
"I did not die and did not remain alive".

I do not think it is fruitful to focus on the "subtle differences". How about 
focusing instead on the not-so-subtle SIMILARITIES among ALL the translations 
you cited and Eliot's hyacinth scene line:
"I was neither living nor dead."

Sure looks like a Dante allusion to me. Do you not think so?

Furthermore, Saha's discussion of the other hyacinth scene lines, such as:
  the luminous vision at the end of Paradiso: ". . . ficcar lo viso
  per la Luce eterna, / tanto che la veduta vi 
  consunsi!" (Paradiso, XXXIII, 83-84). ["I fixed 
  my gaze on the eternal light so deeply that my
  entire vision was consumed in it."]  
  "I knew nothing, Looking into the heart of light" is the
  equivalent of Dante's vision being consumed
  in the eternal light, and the overall notion
  of suspended being in "I could not / Speak, 
  and my eyes failed" is the counterpart of "Cosi la
  mente mia tutta sospesa, / mirava fissa, 
  immobile ed attenta . . . " (Paradiso, XXXIII,
  97-98) ["Thus with wholly suspended mind, 1 stared 
  fixedly, motionless and intent . . . "]

also seem to me to be a Dante allusion. Again, do you not think so?

You said you found Saha's essay confusing and his conclusions forced. OK. So 
forget Saha's conclusion, and let me pose this to you instead: If the 
hyacinth scene is (as it appears to be) a "conflation" of lines from the 
Commedia, then what is TSE getting at? Why should the hyacinth scene draw 
elements from Hell and Heaven, or, more specifically, from the climactic 
cantos of Inferno (a vision of Lucifer) and Paradiso (a vision of God)? Of 
course, if you DON'T think the hyacinth lines are Dante allusions, then my 
question is meaningless.

-- Steve --

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