Anthony Hecht has written a perceptive essay
on T.S. Eliot, published this quarter in Literary
Imagination. He describes what it was like to
read Eliot in the 30s when no commentaries were
available, and when it was simply the sound of
the language and the haunting resonance of a few
images that drew people in, and kept them reading.
I find this to be a much more poignant description
of "understanding" than any set of footnotes.
--- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Even after all that, I simply do not feel I have a basic
> understanding of
> what TSE is trying to convey.
> Not meaning to be contentious, only deliberative,
> I wonder if Eliot was trying to convey anything.
> I think the search for meaning in such a work is
> a second order endeavour at best, and the result of
> such work is one's own construction, quite removed from
> Eliot's work.
> SO what do I offer as an alternative?
> I think E. was working with perception, not ideas.
> He was trying to develop new modes of perception as
> was Picasso, and as were the Quattro Cento folk way
> back when, when they developed 3D in 2D techniques.
> Imagine what realism must have done to the sensibilities
> of the time. And then there was the bomb blast of "David"
> propelling his inertia towards an overwhelming question.
> Through the womb the women come and go...
> A poem that is an instrument of perception is meant
> to be looked through, not looked at. What it conveys
> in itself is secondary(unless one is prepoccieyed with form).
> What does it help us see within our own fields of
> perception? Is Sweeney, say, a forerunner of the mindless
> cowboy set that keeps the National Ryefull Ass. in buisness?
> Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
> Dept. of English
> Camosun College
> 3100 Foul Bay Rd.
> Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
> [log in to unmask]
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