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TSE  December 2002

TSE December 2002

Subject:

Re: TWL and JJ's Ulysses

From:

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Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sun, 1 Dec 2002 15:36:00 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

Sorry for the slow response -- I was away from my computer most of the
weekend.

Steve>> "Those are pearls that were his eyes, yes!"
Steve>>
Steve>> When Pound crossed out the "yes!" and
Steve>> wrote "Penelope/J.J." he seemed to be
Steve>> cautioning TSE that Eliot's readers would
Steve>> think that the "yes!" was supposed to be an
Steve>> allusion to 'Penelope'.

RaphaŽl>> Which readers? Pound, and perhaps half
RaphaŽl>> a dozen others? Ulysses wasn't in
RaphaŽl>> print, would later be banned,
RaphaŽl>> and as far a I know 'Penelope' hadn't
RaphaŽl>> appeared separately in any periodical.
RaphaŽl>> I'd say the point of allusions in TWL
RaphaŽl>> is that they are all fairly
RaphaŽl>> recognisable, or at least traceable

From what I understand, 'Ulysses' was recognized as a great Modernist work
well before its full publication (from its serialization in the periodicals
prior to its 1922 publication as a book). So there's no reason to assume that
TSE would think a reference to 'Penelope' would be unrecognizable (or stay
that way for long, even if the allusion would not be immediately recognizable
when TWL was first printed).

RaphaŽl>> TWL sometimes echoes Ulysses, but at
RaphaŽl>> no point does Eliot provide a note
RaphaŽl>> referring to Joyce.

Not all allusions in TWL were footnoted by TSE (as I'm sure you already
know), so this doesn't establish whether or not "yes!" is a Ulysses allusion.
Do you have any suggestions as to what other work could be alluded to, or why
TSE put a rather odd "yes!" at the end of a quote from the Tempest, where it
certainly didn't come from?

Steve>> The ending of Ulysses has such an unusual use
Steve>> and repetition of "yes" that I
Steve>> don't think TSE 'accidentally' ended the line
Steve>> that way. Ending the line with
Steve>> "yes!" sounds odd and forced
Steve>> until one recognizes the 'Penelope' allusion.

RaphaŽl>> why think of 'Penelope' in particular?
RaphaŽl>> Obviously Pound did, but was his
RaphaŽl>> conjecture right?

I think Peter's comments are useful to consider here:

Peter>> Given the fulsomeness of life in
Peter>> Penelope/Molly, would an allusion to her
Peter>> have weakened the sense of lifelessness
Peter>> of the Queen in the game of chess?
Peter>> After all, she is the Queen of a King
Peter>> who cannot move, so she also
Peter>> is in stalemate. Pun definitely intended.

My conjecture is that the allusion to Penelope is put in precisely for the
contrast between 'lifelessness' and 'liveliness' that Peter points out,
although he points it out to question the allusion in the first place.

What I mean is this: The tone of "A Game of Chess" is fairly lifeless,
anxious, and somber, both for the 'Cleopatra' woman and the male narrator.
But then the male narrator recalls the hyacinth garden and thinks:

------------------
I remember
The hyacinth garden. Those are pearls that were his eyes, yes!
----------------------

I have argued before on-list that the hyacinth scene represents a moment of
ecstasy (a point also made by Valerie Eliot in the TWL facsimile notes).
Adding "yes!" at the end of the memory of the hyacinth scene associates the
narrator, if just for an instant, with the liveliness of Molly Bloom and
recalls the narrator's fleeting moment of ecstasy in the hyacinth garden.
This is why I think TSE put it in.

As to why he accepted Pound's suggestion and took it out in the final form, I
can think of several reasons. One reason might be that TSE deliberately
wanted the tone of the hyacinth scene to remain ambiguous (no 'big clues'
like "yes!"). Another reason could be that he felt that the scene in "A Game
of Chess" was better played out like the Francesca and Paulo passage in
Inferno ('the wind under the door') in which Francesca says "There is no
greater pain than to recall a happy time in wretchedness" (Inferno V, l21).

-- Steve --

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