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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

Re: East Coker

From:

João Vergílio Gallerani Cuter <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 6 Jan 2002 16:37:26 -0200

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text/plain

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This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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Dear Marcia,

Thanks for your comments. I like your reading. Among other things, it =
gives a good meaning to the "transitional verse" (which I couldn't =
understand before):
  It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
Eliot is remaking without circumlocutions the opening question ("What is =
the late November doing / With the disturbance of the spring?"). Now, =
the same question is directly put: What is to be the value of getting =
old? Now that we facing it, old age is not what one had expected... It =
is decrepitude, suffering, death and nothing else. Eliot begins to speak =
about aging without paraphrases:
  The serenity only a deliberate hebetude
  The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
  Useless in the darkness into which they (i.e., old people) peered
  Or from which they turned their eyes.
It is interesting that "autumnal serenity"=20
  (What was to be the value of...
                           ...the autumnal serenity,
  and the wisdom of age?)
has a perfect correspondence with "late November" and "disturbance"
  (What was the late November doing
  With the disturbance of the spring
  And...
  Late roses filled with early snow?)
The early (autumnal) snow of November is described as something that is =
putting an end in the "disturbance of the spring". We would call =
"disturbance" the interruption of calm, order, silence or peace. Tell me =
if I am wrong, but I think "disturbance" has a slightly negative =
connotation in English. In normal circunstances, a "disturbance" is not =
something to be "looked forward to", to be "hoped for". It is rather =
something to be avoided. "Political disturbances shook the city" =
(Webster Dict.) would be uttered by a regreting conservative mouth, =
wouldn't it? If the early snow of November is destroying the =
"disturbance of the spring", it is destroying something that was seen as =
potentialy negative. In a sense, the snow should be thought of as =
something bringing back the "disturbed" calm, order, silence, peace. In =
this sense, the beginning of old age (autumnal snow) would be something =
to be looked forward to. It would bring the "history of our calamities" =
to a wise and placid end. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. =
Old age is made of sickness, pain and decadence. There is no redemption =
admixed in the intravenous medicine. The beautiful image of that =
hollyhock trying to survive, projecting its red flowers against the grey =
sky of November, and being finally defeated, forced to realize that it =
had "aimed too high", forced to see its "late roses" being buried in the =
snow, this beautiful image can be seen as a "periphrastic way" of saying =
what Eliot will begin to say directly, "starting again" some lines =
below:
  The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, etc.
It makes perfect sense, and I thank you for the keys. As for the =
"poetical fashion", and so on, I think there is something that we didn't =
grab as yet. What is the sense of this "criticism"? You have the same =
"old-fashioned pattern" in the beginning of each "second section" of the =
Quartets. I am trying to think about "styles" blooming and becoming =
"worn-out", like flowers, houses, cities and human beings, but I am not =
sure if this is a good track.
It was a pleasure.
Cheers.

Jo=E3o

P.S.: Would you call the flower of the hollyhock a "rose"? In =
Portuguese, we do. We call it "malva-rosa".


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<HTML><HEAD>
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<BODY>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Dear Marcia,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Thanks for your comments. I like your =
reading.=20
Among other things, it gives a good meaning to the "transitional verse" =
(which I=20
couldn't understand before):</FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>It was not (to start again) what one =
had=20
  expected.</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Eliot is remaking without =
circumlocutions the=20
opening question ("What is the late November doing / With the =
disturbance of the=20
spring?"). Now, the same question is directly put: What is to be the =
value=20
of&nbsp;getting old? Now that we facing it, old age is not what one had=20
expected... It is decrepitude, suffering, death and nothing=20
else.&nbsp;</FONT><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Eliot begins to speak =
about aging=20
without paraphrases:</FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>The serenity only a deliberate=20
  hebetude</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>The wisdom only the knowledge of dead =

  secrets</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Useless in the darkness into which =
they=20
  (<EM>i.e.</EM>, old people) peered</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Or from which they turned their=20
eyes.</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>It is interesting that "autumnal =
serenity"=20
</FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>(What was to be=20
  the value of...</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial=20
  =
size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbs=
p;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp=
;&nbsp;=20
  ...the autumnal serenity,</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>and the wisdom=20
  of age?)</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>has a perfect=20
correspondence with "late November" and "disturbance"</FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>(What was the=20
  late November doing</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>With the=20
  disturbance of the spring</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial=20
  size=3D2>And...</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>Late roses=20
  filled with early snow?)</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>The early=20
(autumnal) snow of November is described as something that is putting an =
end in=20
the "disturbance of the spring". We would call "disturbance" the =
interruption of=20
calm, order, silence or peace.&nbsp;Tell me if I am wrong, but I=20
think&nbsp;"disturbance" has a slightly negative connotation in English. =
In=20
normal circunstances, a "disturbance" is not something to be "looked =
forward=20
to", to be "hoped for". It is rather something to be avoided. "Political =

disturbances shook the city" (Webster Dict.) would be uttered by a =
regreting=20
conservative mouth, wouldn't it? If the early snow of November is =
destroying the=20
"disturbance of the spring", it is destroying something that was seen as =

potentialy negative. In a sense, the snow should be thought of as =
something=20
bringing back the "disturbed" calm, order, silence, peace. In this =
sense, the=20
beginning of old age (autumnal snow) would be something to be looked =
forward to.=20
It would bring the "history of our calamities" to a wise and placid end. =

Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. Old age is made of =
sickness, pain=20
and decadence. There is no redemption&nbsp;admixed in the intravenous =
medicine.=20
The beautiful image of that hollyhock trying to survive, projecting its =
red=20
flowers against the grey sky of November, and being finally defeated, =
forced to=20
realize that it had "aimed too high", forced to see its&nbsp;"late=20
roses"&nbsp;being buried in the snow, this beautiful image can be seen =
as a=20
"periphrastic way" of saying what Eliot will begin to say directly, =
"starting=20
again"&nbsp;some lines below:</FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>The serenity=20
  only a deliberate hebetude, etc.</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2>It makes perfect=20
sense, and I thank you for the keys. As for the "poetical fashion", and =
so on, I=20
think there is something that we didn't grab as yet.&nbsp;What is the =
sense of=20
this "criticism"? You have the same "old-fashioned pattern" in the =
beginning=20
of&nbsp;each "second section" of the Quartets. I am trying to think =
about=20
"styles" blooming and becoming "worn-out", like flowers, houses, cities =
and=20
human beings, but I am not sure if this is a good track.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>It was a pleasure.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Cheers.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Jo=E3o</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>P.S.: Would you call the flower of the =
hollyhock a=20
"rose"? In Portuguese, we do. We call it "malva-rosa".</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>

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