From: Jennifer Formichelli [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
JF: I agree with the first part of this assessment. I fail to understand the
last comment, 'like a virus even', however. I dissent however from the idea
that epigraphs insert themselves into the poem; first because epigraphs
don't insert themselves, second because I maintain the autonomy of poem and
epigraph, and 'in' does not seem to me the correct preposition to describe
the relation. I agree however that the relation is one that both takes and
gives back (in Eliot's case anyhow). As I result, I cannot quite agree with
PM: "er "Prufrock" be without the Danté epigraph?
They are joined at the hip."
JF: Joined yes, but not embedded. (Incidentally, there is no accent in
I wonder what your response would be if you
read the poem without the epigraph, and then learned
that it had had one.
If the epigraph afects the reading of the poem,
then as far as I'm concerned it INFECTS the reading,
in such a way that the poem cannot be read outside
that context. Just as, if one reads the INFERNO,
it is impossible not to be influenced by Prufrock
in that passage, and so to see a dimension of Dante's
work that to some extent transcends its own era.
I don't see how it is possible to do a meaningful
reading of the poem without the influence to
the epigraph. To me that influence is an
insertion into the poem. It's not unlike the
resonance that the lines of a haiku or
a small Pound poem have, even though they may
not be grammatically connected. The resonance ties them
together and makes them inseparable.