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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?--and what agenda?

From:

"Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Jan 2002 14:14:18 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (493 lines)

To commit much of one's life to study and then do it for trivial reasons and 
a private agenda would be quite silly, and not that many Eliot scholars are, 
I think, just silly.  They have pursued this because it so intensely 
permeates Eliot's work that to ignore it is simply not scholarship.  One 
follows where the texts lead, and in Eliot's case every new bit of material 
that comes out seems to lead to things that contradict traditional readings 
of him and traditional ideas of what he was like.  The material is there.  I 
think it unfair to attribute such motives to people who, in fact, deeply care 
and spend their lives in study of just this material.  


It is true, of course, that research may be initiated and driven by one's own 
experience or feeling, but that means that one has found something--
because one recognizes it--that rings true and has been overlooked.  I think 
there are undoubtedly gay scholars who find Eliot's work reveals something 
they recognize, but that leads others like myself to see what I had not 
seen.  What matters is to be open to ideas and willing to hear what others 
say without needing to deny that it could be the case.


For example, I once used Clarence Thomas's speech about his life history 
in a class on OTHELLO.  It is uncannily parallel to Othello's explanation of 
his life and move from slavery to high military achievement.  A colleague 
said that when he taught OTHELLO he taught it as a great drama with the 
form of tragedy, and he repeated the formal elements he addressed.   He 
did not, he said, teach it as about race and gender.  I responded that it was 
not I but Shakespeare who gave Iago the lines,  "An old black ram is 
tupping your white ewe," and gave him all those speeches about bestiality 
as black, or who had Othello wonder if it was his age and color that made 
Desdemona want Cassio (not that she did).  My point is that in my own 
university study, no one ever even noted that OTHELLO is about, among 
other things, race, gender, and misogyny and that his self image is self 
deceptive.  So I learned a great deal from critical theory that addressed 
those issues.  And it was because women and Black theorists started 
rethinking literature as they read it--because they recognized what had 
been ignored--that we have these insights.  It is a great tribute to 
Shakespeare that he did also, not a diminution of his aesthetic brilliance.  
In the case of Eliot, he saw much that was deeply ugly and much that he 
apparently found difficult to bear or address, and unlike Shakespeare's, his 
life is increasingly available to help us understand what he saw and what in 
his life may have led him to see it.


Nancy


Date sent:      	<color><param>0000,0000,8000</param>Thu, 10 Jan 2002 09:03:07 -0800 (PST)

</color>Send reply to:  	<color><param>0000,0000,8000</param>[log in to unmask]

</color>From:           	<color><param>0000,0000,8000</param>Tom Gray <<[log in to unmask]>

</color>To:             	<color><param>0000,0000,8000</param>[log in to unmask]

<bold></color>Subject:        	<color><param>0000,0000,8000</param>Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?



</bold></color>--- Nancy Gish <<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

<color><param>7F00,0000,0000</param>> Dear Ron,

> 

> Well, you did not say you did not wish to; you said

> it should not be done.  

> And the reason Eliot scholars do is to understand

> the poems.  What other 

> reason would there be?


</color>Well some people bring up issues to pursue a private

agenda and not to adress the ostensible question. This

is not a comment on the issue of whether or not a

discussion of Eliot being gay is useful but only a

comment on the issue of why topics are introduced to

research snd  discussions in general.




<color><param>7F00,0000,0000</param>> Nancy

> 

> 

> 

> Date sent:      	Thu, 10 Jan 2002 00:12:56 -0800

> Send reply to:  	[log in to unmask]

> From:           	"Ron Houssaye" <<[log in to unmask]>

> To:             	<<[log in to unmask]>

> Subject:        	Re: TSE gay? Should this be

> discussed?

> 

> Nancy,

> 

>    Yes, clearly Eliot scholars have investigated

> this and will.  My reason

> for not desiring to is because for me it distracts

> from discussion of the

> poems.

> 

> Ron Houssaye

> 

> ----- Original Message -----

> From: Nancy Gish <<[log in to unmask]>

> To: <<[log in to unmask]>

> Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 8:36 AM

> Subject: Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?

> 

> 

> > In a few words, "Why not, since it has been a

> topic for serious scholars

> for

> > a very long time, including James Miller, Wayne

> Koestenbaum, Collen

> > Lamos, and Tim Dean?"  Or, more important, why

> should any topic treated

> > seriously be excluded from discussion and debate?

> Nancy

> >

> >

> > Date sent:      Wed, 9 Jan 2002 00:07:15 -0800

> > Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]

> > From:           "Ron Houssaye"

> <<[log in to unmask]>

> > To:             <<[log in to unmask]>

> > Subject:        Re: TSE gay? Should this be

> discussed?

> >

> > Ah, in a word, no.

> >

> > Ron Houssaye

> >

> >

> > ----- Original Message -----

> > From: <<[log in to unmask]>

> > To: <<[log in to unmask]>

> > Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 11:18 PM

> > Subject: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?

> >

> >

> > > Rick Seddon wrote (1/8/2002):

> > >

> > > >  Steve and Rick P are both convinced that TSE

> > > >  was gay (just joking, just joking).

> > >

> > >    Well, Rick P has already spoken for himself,

> so let me say that,

> > >    yes, I

> > > think that TSE was gay, or had gay desires,

> whether or not he acted on

> > them.

> > > Why does this matter?? It only matters if you

> conclude, as I have

> > concluded,

> > > that a powerful force behind TSE's poetry is his

> guilt over these

> > > desires

> > and

> > > how God would judge a man with such desires.

> > >

> > >    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the

> only one. Carole

> > Seymour-Jones,

> > > the author of "PAINTED SHADOW: A LIFE OF

> VIVIENNE ELIOT" also clearly

> > > indicates (repeatedly) in her book that she

> thinks TSE was gay,

> > > although

> > she

> > > presents scant direct evidence. For the curious,

> here's a few excerpts

> > from

> > > "Painted Shadow" that will show you what I mean.

> The excerpts are

> > > scanned

> > in,

> > > so please forgive any typos from the scanning

> process.

> > >

> > >   And, yes, the 600 page book is centered on

> **Vivienne**, despite the

> > > impression these excerpts may give that the book

> is only about TSE's

> > "secret

> > > sex life".

> > >

> > > -- Steve --

> > >

> > > ==================================

> > >

> > > >From "Painted Shadow":

> > >

> > > P211

> > > In his twenties, it seemed, Eliot struggled with

> contradictory urges,

> > > to confess and yet to repress his homosexual

> feelings: it was a kind

> > > of

> > torture,

> > > but one which explains to some extent the

> obscurity of poetry in which

> > > so many secrets demanded concealment.

> > >     Among those secrets was his grief for Jean

> Verdenal...

> > >

> > > P 348

> > > The flat Tom rented in early 1923 was to be the

> hub of his secret

> > > life, a place where he could throw off

> conventionality. Burleigh

> > > Mansions, a block

> > of

> > > portered flats on Charing Cross Road, looked out

> on St Martin's Lane,

> > > and

> > was

> > > favoured by actors. Ellen Terry and Donald

> Wolfit both at times lived

> > there.

> > > Eliot rented number 38, thus securing for

> himself a pied a terre in

> > > the

> > heart

> > > of theatreland. At Burleigh Mansions he

> underwent a metamorphosis:

> > > here he was no longer 'Mr. Eliot', banker and

> dutiful husband, but

> > > 'Captain

> > Eliot',

> > > hero of the Colombo verses, captain of his crew.

> Among that crew was

> > > in

> > all

> > > probability Leonide Massine, who danced the

> French sailor in Les

> > > Matelots,

> > a

> > > 'light-hearted romp' which he choreographed for

> Diaghilev after

> > > divorcing

> > his

> > > wife Vera in 1924 and returning to the bosom of

> the Ballets Russes and

> > > a bed-sitting room in Bloomsbury .

> > >    Osbert Sitwell noticed, when he visited Eliot

> in the 'bizarre'

> > atmosphere

> > > of the Charing Cross Road flat, that 'Visitors

> on arrival had to

> > > enquire

> > at

> > > the porter's lodge for "The Captain", which

> somehow invested the whole

> > > establishment with a nautical - for I cannot say

> why, I took the title

> > > to

> > be

> > > naval rather than military -a gay, a gallant

> feeling.'

> > >

> > >   The room in which Osbert and Sacheverell dined

> was high up at the

> > >   back

> > of

> > > the block, looking down on the revolving glass

> ball lantern of the

> > Coliseum

> > > music hall, where the Russian ballet performed.

> Osbert sat next to Tom

> > > on

> > one

> > > side, Sachie on the other:

> > >

> > > "Noticing how tired my host looked, I regarded

> him more closely, and

> 

<underline></color>=== message truncated ===



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