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I'd like to discuss possible connections in 'The Waste Land' between
Marie passage and the hyacinth passage.
Clearly, both passages reference a garden ('the Hofgarten' and 'the
hyacinth garden'), but I think there are other parallels as well. What
attracted my attention was a similarity in language structure that I
recently noticed. If this is all old news to everybody, I apologize.
In the Marie section there is a line in German:
"Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch."
followed by lines in English that begin with a conjunction:
"And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,"
Opening the lines with "And" implies that the reader is jumping into the
middle of a conversation already in progress. That is, the reader is not
privy to the entire conversation and must guess at what was "ellipsed
as well as guess at the significance of the prior conversation.
In parallel fashion, the hyacinth section begins with German:
"Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu.
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?"
followed by lines in English. The opening English lines do not
immediately have a conjunction; however, a conjunction ("Yet") follows
"--Yet when we came back, late, from the hyacinth garden,"
As with the "And" in the Marie lines, the "yet" alerts the reader that
something is being "ellipsed out", and again the reader is left to guess
at the significance of what is missing.
In the hyacinth passage, the lines are 'framed' with a final line in
"Oed' und leer das Meer."
Interestingly, looking at the facsimile edition shows that it was Ezra
Pound that put in the final German line from 'Tristan and Isolde' to
complete the 'frame'. In Eliot's version, the hyacinth passage OPENED with
the German lines but did not end with German. That is, in Eliot's original
version the structure was a match to the Marie structure.
A really interesting assertion, Steve, esp. if one is
willing to pay attention to the aesthetic of EFFECT,
what is the sensory/emotional effect of these garden
Given that they occur at the start, are they redolent
with echoes of Eden?
I'm not a big fan (not even a little one) of speculating
about what E?P intended. What matters is the effect the
lines have now, and therein I think you have something.
Just exactly what, is, I suppose, a matter of one's subjective
impression. There is the effect of multilingual conversa-
tion which no doubt one would hear in such a garten. That
creates its own kind of resonance. Fascinatingly the
resonances of the languages bouncing off each other, help
to create temporal disjunctions, so that the recollections
seem like first time experiences as preped for with lines
like "mixing memory and desire." Just relishing E/P's
abilities to get such spatial/temporal effects is aesthetic
miracle enough for me. I doubt that there is a biographical
subtext worthy of any attention.
I do remember my supervisor, Sheila Watson saying that on the
sinking of the Lusitania, which more or less brought the US
into WWI, the headlines in Europe read, "Oed' und leer das Meer."
to reflect what was found when the rescuers reached the site.