First post didn't seem to get through, so I'm resending - - -
In a message dated 1/13/02 7:55:17 AM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> In my view, TSE's warning of the highly praised merits of experience is not
> limited to some obscure divine truth, but to quite practical and profane
> This is one of the reasons why EC II is one of my favourite and central
> parts of the Quartets. There is this specifically didactic aspect to it,
> characteristic to many parts of the poem, a quality that can also be found
> in the first 10 lines of BN: one statement follows the other
Gunnar, I basically agree with what you say, but, without being
argumentative, let me expand on it a bit.
By calling the poems "Four Quartets", we are on notice that that there
will be several (probably four) distinct 'voices' stating and restating
certain themes (analogous to four distinct-sounding musical instruments of a
quartet playing musical themes that, together, form one coherent
composition). One of the 'voices' is the didactic voice, stating things in a
manner in which "one statement follows the other". But the things said by
this voice are woven in and out of the fabric of 4Q many times and in other
voices, so I don't want to give any special priority to this particular way
of approaching the reader.
If "The Waste Land" is a "3-dimensional" poem in which one must mentally
overlap sections to see that is going on (such as mentally thinking about Lil
at the same time one thinks of the Cleopatra woman in her opulent bedroom),
then 4Q is at least a 4-dimensional poem in which one must mentally overlap
all the voices and images of BN, EC, DS, and LG, and overlap the images over
time, in order to absorb it.
When you say "in my view, TSE's warning of the highly praised merits of
experience is not limited to some obscure divine truth, but to quite
practical and profane things", let me suggest that your points are being
stated backwards. That is, what you are calling "some obscure divine truth"
is precisely the rock-bottom core substance of 4Q, arrived at through many
paths (the first path being "basic human experience"). The poem is a journey
of the life of "Everyperson" as they gradually come to see their own life and
their own individual experiences first in the context of something slightly
larger than just their own life (namely, their family) then a bit larger
(their country) then larger still (humankind) and larger still (humankind
over all time) and finally, grasp the "obscure divine truth" that their life
is a musical note in a Universe orchestrated by the Divine.
At least, that's what I think 4Q is about.
-- Steve --