On Mon, 16 Jul 2001, Jennifer Formichelli wrote:
I think it's deceitful and unhelpful to create stories about the lives of
those who flit through these poems, about whom we know almost nothing and
yet something. For part of Eliot's point is to teach you the borderline
between suspicions and the deception that what you suspect is true, is a
piece of knowledge.
This is thought-provoking. I won't comment on Eliot in particular, but
believe, as Jennifer does (though not in her words), that it violates a
contract with the poem to go outside its bounds -- whether or not a poem
has lessons to teach about suspicion and deception. Perhaps we all agree
and are just struggling at the most dangerous places, that is at the
boundaries, in an attempt to see them clearly.
Glad you haven't left the list, Jennifer.