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Much of Eliot's poetry is religious (yes, even his poems BEFORE 'Ash
Wednesday'). When he calls certain poems "intensely serious" I start looking
for religious ideas, not perceptions. Biblical names like Rachael,
to a "host" and "someone indistinct" lead me to look at the poem in terms of
religious meaning. As I readily admit, I don't have an analysis of my own
that pulls it all together. But I truly don't think it's just a poem about
I couldn't agree more. It is definitely NOT a poem ABOUT perception, or only
incidentally so. It IS a set of perceptions. The perceptions are to be
experienced, not merely understood. If Eliot had wanted in this
instance to be understood, he would have written an essay. He was
creating an experience, parts of which are, I am sure, reducible
to concepts, or cannot work without conceptual contexts, but they
are parts, not the whole. Meet Mr. sweeney. He has an apeneck, &c, &c &c.
Some things give me the impression he might be related to Wyndham
Lewis' Tyro. He's a bit of a mystery. He has a lot of seaweed from the
past draped all over him. Who of us has ever understood anyone?
Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get to know him a bit better.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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