Peter Montgomery wrote (2/9/03)
> Fascinatingly the resonances of the languages
> bouncing off each other, help to create temporal
I think this is an aspect of TWL that we have largely neglected discussing
in depth. I've been noticing that the use of non-English lines seems
patterned. For example, lines in German appear only in 'Burial of the Dead';
a French line ends 'Burial of the Dead' and is the grand finale of the
languages used in the "fragments" shored against the narrator's ruins (Of
course, the very last language of the poem is Hindu, so that God can have the
last word after mere mortal concerns have been worked out). I don't think the
physical placement of the French lines is a coincidence -- it ties passages
together in a certain way.
While we're on the subject, a few thoughts about the German and French:
given that the poem was written right after WW1, it is interesting that the
second set of German lines are from an opera about love, not about German
militarism in WW1 as we may expect. To give an example of what I mean,
consider an American poet today including passages (in an English poem) that
contain lines from an Iraqi writer -- and the lines turn out to be from an
opera about love. It may not be what the reader expected, and there may be
meaning for TWL in that very fact.
As another example, the German lines, (which I think point to Gallipoli in
the Hofgarten and to Jean Verdenal in the hyacinth garden) give way to French
at the end of section one ("'You! hypocrite lecteur!--mon semblable,--mon
frère!' "). The use of French is thus 'attached' to "that corpse" (Verdenal),
and is used consistently as a 'pointer' to Verdenal after that, through these
a) -mon semblable,--mon frère!
b) Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!
c) Mr. Eugenides. . . Asked me in demotic French
d) Only a cock stood on the rooftree / Co co rico co co rico
e) Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie
But that's another post.
-- Steve --