>RAC> Personally, I think close reading of TSE is the only way to go. So if he
>RAC> says, "Rachael nee Rabinovich" we shouldn't just say "some kind of
>RAC> Anti-Semitic slur". We should say things like: "Rabinovich" -- "Rabbi's
>RAC> daughter", why is that there? And "Rachael nee Rabinovich" -- Gee, I
>RAC> know Rachael's married name, only her maiden name. Why is he doing
>RAC> IS her married name?
>OK, dear Robot, just try to stick to this thing. TSE says, most
>clearly, that you _are dead_. How would you approach this problem
>general and in particular? Does this relate to your private
Do dead people relate poetry to their private experience? This is an
esoteric concept that perhaps should not be expected of poetry readers in
general (or in specific).
> Or how, otherwise, would you read a poem?
He'd ask, "What is the meaning of this 'Rabinovich' denomination?"
It's right there in his post. Did you not see it? Is it difficult to
In a relatively recent tome on Eliot, the fruit brought in by the waiter
-- "oranges/Bananas figs and hothouse grapes" -- are referred to as
"assorted fruit." Do you think that when Eliot composed those two lines, he
said to himself, "Now I'll have the waiter, not previously introduced,
bring in some assorted fruit." I don't think so, either. Not that I figured
out on my own hook what the fruit bespeaks, but for God's sake, I sure as
hell figured it meant something. Now, I don't think you have to know
exactly what every word and phrase means to get into the drift of the poem,
i.e. to start taking the meaning; but you have to do a lot better than to
think "assorted fruit" or "it doesn't matter" is sufficient. And if you
want to make the poem yours, you have to assent that the fruit, like the
waiter, like all of the charcters, are there for a very good "reason" and
that the poet -- this poet of all poets -- took some care in putting them
there. If you don't, Eliot is just not your poetic cup.