Out of curiousity, what "plot"?
Date sent: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 19:59:37 -0500
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Greek myths and TWL (was Re: Fisher King)
To: [log in to unmask]
First, thank you Greg for both your German and Callimachus (Hymn 5:
The Bath of Pallas) posts. I've found a few translations of the
Callimachus story on the web. The URLs are below.
I'm switching subjects from "Fisher King" since I'm heading away from that
into Greek myths.
I should have mentioned the similarity of the Tiresias-Athena story
with that of Acteon-Diana in one of my earlier posts but Callimachus
already did that. That story is told within the Tiresias telling.
I see two interesting aspects about the myths but first I want to do
a quick recap of some prior posts.
Steve sent in some posts where, using P.K. Saha's suggestion that
Eliot was conjoining heaven and hell in the Hyacinth garden, he said
that the narrator experienced something glorious and loathsome (or
guilt-inducing) at the same time. Steve said that it was a homosexual
incident but I think it could just be something that could be construed as
such (but what WAS "awful daring of a moment's surrender?") Peter came in
with a suggestion that, in essence, "looking into the heart of light"
Tiresias was blinded (Tiresias often seen as the narrator/central
One thing that I find interesting about the two bathing myths is that the
female deities Athena and Diana are rather masculine in their dress and
interests. Diana is goddess of the HUNT and Athena is usually shown armed
and armored. Another merging of the sexes in TWL?
The other thing is that in one myth we have long life given to
Tiresias while Acteon's life is ripped away. Does this life and death
pairing match Steve's double "awful" (awe-inspiring and terrible) and his
take on P.K. Saha's conjoining of heaven and hell?
Remember that Eliot's allusion to the reverse aspect of
Tiresias-Athena was RELATIVELY easy to add to TWL though his note and not
having to work it into the plot.
Of course much of this may depend on whether we should see the light
in the garden blinding Tiresias (or a Tiresias-like character) as at
least SUGGESTED by Peter as a possible reading.
The Bath of Pallas in Greek:
Two translations (one from the greek-myth.com site above):
Expensive book all about Callimachus' Hymn Five: