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TSE  November 2002

TSE November 2002

Subject:

Re: Love at first? sight

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sat, 9 Nov 2002 23:07:09 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (185 lines)

I don't know the date of this McLuhan text, but it must be prior to current
knowledge of the composition of the poem.  Eliot did not set it up to be in
any set form unless it is "the police in different voices."  He had many
many fragments.  He wrote sections I and II probably in the first part of
1921 according to Gordon on the evidence of paper and allusions among
other things.  He did III at Margate and IV and V at Lausanne.  But some
parts were written around 1914 and many between 1916 and 1919.  They
got made into something mainly in 1921, but it was Eliot who wrote V as a
single piece at Lausanne; it was not Pound who did that.  And I am at a
loss to understand what you mean by "pastoral" parts.  What was cut was
largely narratives of a drunken night out in Boston, a ship's journey toward
being wrecked, long pieces about London and versions of drowning poems.

I do not see either anything one could call an external frame, strong or
weak, in the many fragments pre-Pound.

Given that we now know the main outline of the poem's composition, I do
not see how one can theorize about any "intentions" without examining it.
Nancy


Date sent:              Sat, 9 Nov 2002 14:36:39 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Love at first? sight
To:                     [log in to unmask]

McLuhan's take in THE POSSUM AND THE MID-WIFE
is that Eliot in the tradition of the grammarian
had set the poem up as a four part personal meditation,
hence the involvement of the pastoral elements. Pound,
being a traditional rhetorician and quite anti-religious
took out the pastoral parts and rearranged it into
a five part presentation or dramatic piece, a publicly
oriented work rather than a private one. There seems
to be some evidence that Eliot tried with Gerontion
as an intro, and in other ways to recover the
grammarian's approach, but Pound just wouldn't go for
it. Even the much debated (on this list anyway)
epigraph was changed from the private subjective
report on Kurtz to the public display of the Sybil.

Although there is a distinct put-on element to the
poem, a sort of up-yours to the 19th century bastian
of late romanticism, if one looks at it from the
point of view of Eliot's discussions with Russell
at the time on the nature of consciousness, it
appears to have a pretty serious element of exploration
of sensory operations, sequences of probes into
how the senses work and how they relate to or
generate consciousness. The desparate social search
for ways to submerge consciousness leading to
a passage through the unconscious to a new search
for genuine consciousness provides a kind of counterpoint
in the content to what is happening in the formal
elements which are exploring and manipulating
perception.

Unlike a traditional poem which is the object of one's
consciousness, this poem is a kind of filter. The reader
is not on the outside looking in. Rather the reverse.

If Pound hadn't done his bit, then the poem would have
had a strong external frame that would be the object
of the reader's consciousness in the traditional sense.

I know Eliot was open to improvement and refinement of
his work, particularly by Pound, but the exceptional
scale of this reworking with such weak resistence by
Eliot is out of character. Perhaps his breakown was
the factor.

Cheers,
Peter
-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 11/8/02 9:13 PM
Subject: Re: Love at first? sight

Well he gives a reason:  "il miglior fabbro."  There were probably
others--it
cut out most of the really scary personal stuff; it made it into what
seemed a "unified" poem; he wanted to get it published because he wanted
to be a major figure on the literary scene; Pound had helped him in the
past and no doubt seemed to know what he was doing; Eliot was having a
breakdown and was very vulnerable and insecure--not the best time to be
sure of your ideas.  Take your pick.

One thing he did on purpose was write it.  A second was to decide to
accept most of Pound's cuts and revisions.
Nancy


Date sent:              Wed, 6 Nov 2002 17:45:50 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
<[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Love at first? sight
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Fine. That makes more sense to me, but then
why did he let Pound whack the living daylights
out of it, and having done that, can he be said to
have done anythng on purpose to it?

Cheers,
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 5:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Love at first? sight


Actually, this is pretty inaccurate historically.  He wrote many
sections
at different times, and he wrote drafts of the last version before he
showed them to Pound.  The appendix to Lyndall Gordon's last bio gives the
specific order of composition, dates, places, etc., based on evidence from
paper, Valerie, letters, and so on. Nancy



Date sent:              Wed, 6 Nov 2002 16:57:35 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
<[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Love at first? sight
To:                     [log in to unmask]

As I remember it, E. suffered from writer's block,
went into a state of breakdown, spewed out a massive
vomit from his soul, dumped it all on Pound and
left town. So I'm not sure we can say he did much
deliberately until it came to the editing process
in which there was the influence of Viv, but
really it is Pound isolating his favourite bits
and dumping the rest. So can one say E. did anything
on purpose in TWL?

P.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rickard A. Parker [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 2:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Love at first? sight


Marcia Karp wrote:

> Why do you say Dido and Aeneas fall instantly in love?  He doesn't.

Yes I know (and knew).  I didn't feel like writing a paragraph on each
case. And we don't really know if the hyacinth girl fell in love either.


> And she doesn't love him until Cupid takes the place of Ascanius.
> While this is soon after they meet, remember that time is compressed
in
> the Aeneid and other epics.  In any event, it is not instant love.

I believe it is instant after the the magic.  Again, I really wanted to
point out places where instant love can be thought to be happening and to
leave the details for others to search for if they had the interest.


I also threw in Acteon/Diana as a POSSIBLE case of being smitten by
love.
That would only have been on Acteon's part of course and maybe he was
smitten with lust or a sense of sublime beauty.  It depends on how
nit-picky you want to get in examining the poem.


Do you think that (a) the instant love angle may have been put into TWL on
purpose?  (b) that it is circumstantial--pick enough myths and they will
have something in common?  (c) That I'm seeing things that aren't there?
(d) None of the above  (e) all of the above  (f) more than one of the
above (but excluding d and e except on the first Tuesday following the
first Monday in November)?

Regards,
    Rick Parker

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