To the extent any of us can know Eliot's personality, I thoroughly dislike him.
If the man presented in the biographies is anything like the real person, he and I
are exact opposites in politics, temperament, and belief. However, I do have a
passion for his poetry, and I appreciate some of his writings on aesthetics--
I find his essays on the metaphysical poets to be very insightful, and I have
Eliot to thank for helping me to appreciate their work. I'm sorry if that doesn't
fit with your theory; I don't have any explanation for how or why I dislike
Eliot the man but love Eliot's poetry, but I assure you it's true! I think I would
have probably wound up killing people like Van Gogh or Rimbaud if I had
to put up with the worst of their personalities for five minutes and find myself
getting annoyed at their lesser flaws, but again I love each person's work.
I don't think to much about the persons behind the works, unless the specific
history of that person is needed for specific reasons in my understanding--
for example, if a line from Eliot resembles something from a Buddhist text
or is a Buddhist notion, did Eliot know that work or that notion and how do
we know that he knew it...etc. Perhaps I am unusual in my reader responses,
but I often find something beautiful or interesting in an artist's work, and find
little I like in the person.
Temur Kobakhidze wrote:
> Dear Nancy,
> Did I really say that? Personality does matter, but not so
> overwhelmingly:)) And when one dislikes both the poet and his personality,
> you just say one dislikes both. As simple as that.
> It seems, TSE's way of life was part of his poetical perception of the
> world. You won't be able to write Four Quartets unless you are a highbrow
> intellectual and a conservative, at least to an extent:-). And to the same
> extent disliking the personality does mean disliking the potry. Although
> the personality and the poetry are by no means interchangeable.
> To say we are impersonal is just a curious way of asserting that our
> personality is more deeply involved: the thought is Cleanth Brooks's if my
> memory serves me right.
> On Sep 26 2002, Nancy Gish - Women's Studies wrote:
> > Dear Temur,
> > Quite apart from the issue of what Kate said, why does one need
> > to like Eliot's personality to have a passionate interest in his
> > poetry?
> > Nancy
> > On 26 Sep 2002, at 6:10, Temur Kobakhidze <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > On Sep 26 2002, Kate Troy wrote:
> > >
> > > > In reality, Tom is mourning the dying class system. Those terrible
> > > > middle class persons, especially the American middle class, owning
> > > > nice houses and cars and the latest technology, with no respect for
> > > > the aristocracy, and the governments of Britain and America now
> > > > catering to them in their speeches. And everyone waits in line. He
> > > > probably became a British citizen because the class system in Britain
> > > > lasted longer and had more influence than in America.
> > > >
> > > > Poor Tom; he would positive loathe computers, cell phones, rock
> > > > music. He would think the Boston Symphony absolutely corrupt for
> > > > backing up the Moody Blues in concert; we won't even mention the
> > > > Colorado symphony backing up Metallica; however, if he was gay, he
> > > > may have happily adjusted in the long run.
> > >
> > > Dear Kate,
> > >
> > > I am not quite sure you are fond of TSE's personality, much less of his
> > > poetry. What makes you read all these messages, I wonder :-))))))
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > TK