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TSE  September 2002

TSE September 2002

Subject:

Re: Michaelangelo

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 23 Sep 2002 22:30:20 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (99 lines)

My thanks to all. In general I agree or find plausible
most of the remarks. Please pardon the portfolio
response, but time is precious at the moment.

I remember McLuhan in 3rd year lit. saying the LO sound
is a downer, it brings the intensity down, and so, as Nancy
has suggested, is playing a musical role (perhaps a variation
on the kind of thing that produced Shakespeare's rag).

As for the homosexuality, Steve. No disrespect intended but
I come from a time when Freud and homosexuality were used
to explain just about everything. Jung's archetypes play
a similar role today, but they seem to bear the weight better.
It's not hard to see tension between the anima and animus
characteristics at play in the poem, but are they Prufrock's?

One of the reasons I asked, was because conceivably some critic
somewhere had made a definitive determination and I didn't
want to fly in the face of that.

Somewhere, I'm not sure but I'm working on it, Eliot
said that he spent 3 hours a day practicing verse so he
would be ready for the good stuff when it came along.
I find it impossible to believe that he wasn't as meticulous
as Prufrock, but about words rather than personal style.
In effect I find it impossible to think that the choice
of such a strong icon was just convenient for musical
purposes, although they matter very much.

Well, it just so happens I caught an item on the TV
Euronews braodcast. The statue of David is being refurbished.
It does stand out rather blatantly. If airhead, pretentious,
society vultures were giggling amongst themselves, being
every bit as good at sexual self-titilation as men, in
a time when sexual mores were very strict, where else would
they go for respectable self-excitement?

And isn't that equivalent to Prufrock's Love Song on the male side?

He's not Prince Hamlet, and certainly not David.
There are of course further ironies to consider if David is
the answer.

Far fetched? Aren't Eliot's allusions defined by what they
leave out, for ther reader to bring to the context?

Cheers,
Peter


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2002 8:09 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Michaelangelo


Eliot once said that his poems often began in a rhythm rather than an idea
(do not recall source).  "Michelangelo" fits the sound needed there as
other names would not:  it produces a feminine rhyme with "come and go."
That said, we need not establish a conscious (and always profound)
intention to Eliot's words.  No human being could possibly have all or a
small part of the intentions attributed to him.  What matters more is how
the language works.  In that sense the whole poem can be read as Steve
does because of the fear of women and and anxiety about one woman
possibly humiliating him and his awareness of lonely men and the later
repeated image of drowning and sirens.  I think the date of the poem
makes that a bit less likely, given that Eliot was at the time having all
kinds of difficulties with his own virginity and erotic uncertainties with
women. But this may be part of his concerns also.
Nancy

Date sent:              Mon, 23 Sep 2002 16:21:56 +0200
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
<[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Sara Trevisan <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Michaelangelo
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Steve wrote:
> Still, my conclusion is that TSE had homosexual desires which both
> attracted
and repelled him and, additionally, he was very concerned that these
desires would offend God.

Well, you then agree with the old saying about the Bloomsbury group --
that "they were couples, having triangular relationships, but living in
squares".

That's an interesting point you made, Steve. But is the whole poem to be
interpreted in the light of his hidden homosexuality?

About the "shall I say", Donoghue wrote that it's like a sort of
confession. Nobody truly cared of where Prufrock would go at night or what
he would do -- that "shall I say" is a confession that nobody asked for,
and the reader gets to pity Prufrock for his situation.

See you,
Sara

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