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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

Re: Bad manners

From:

"Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 Jan 2002 13:00:59 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (48 lines)

Frank:

I would like to know more of your dissertation. How far along are you. I
notice a non US email address. Will your dissertation be in English?

I am glad that you pointed to "Mauberley". I think section IV and section V
of part 1 of "Mauberley" one of the very best war poems.

TSE's attitude towards enlisting strikes me as one of : "There, I tried it.
God I'm glad they didn't want me". Hemingway managed to overcome his
aversions and serve peacefully and pacifically as an ambulance driver. TSE
had two wars in which he could have served. During WW I, at a very late
date, he specified that he would serve 1) as an Officer 2) in intelligence
3) as an interpreter 4) in England. His conditions resulted in lengthy
negotiations that eventually ended in his honorable non-service. Rupert
Brooke and Owen didn't seek negotiation. During WW II he did serve but not
on active war service and only under his own terms.

TSE and Ezra Pound both make interesting studies in war aversion and
avoidance. Pound hated war, saw it as a result of bad economics and tried
actively to produce the changes in society and economics that he thought
would avoid war. TSE just seemed to avoid it.

I don't think TSE necessarily was a pacifist. There were to many ways for a
pacifist to serve. I don't think he was a moral objector necessarily.
There were to many ways for an objector to serve. I think it disgusted him
down deep where his soul was. Disgusted him like looking at what the cat
just left in the middle of the floor. It appalled him. Any association
would have been much to abusive. I can understand this and also appreciate
his inability to explain it to all the hairy chest thumpers running around.

War fighters are into breaking and destroying real things, people and
material things and generally making a mess. Tradition breaking, when one
can claim to be creating new tradition in the process, doesn't count.

Nancy pointed to the "Lil and Al" scene in TWL as possibly war poetry. I
would respectfully disagree. Al's pending demobilization is merely a fact
in the history of these people. It is a reason for his absence and loss of
supervision over the money he mailed Lil. Al could as easily have been
serving hard time in the Lockup or been a merchant sailor in peaceful times.

I think it hard to look at TWL as War Poetry because I find no direct
statement about war but yet I hear war in TWL as one of the consequences of
a wasted society. With Pound as an editor perhaps this is only natural.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA

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