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TSE  March 2003

TSE March 2003

Subject:

Re: Re : Eliot and Lawrence

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Wed, 5 Mar 2003 21:24:13 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (243 lines)

Eliot must have spent a great deal of time feeling distasteful to himself
because he wrote constantly about sex and death.  TWL is full of both,
and it could be called morbid since it's full of rapes and corpses.  And then
there's "Birth and copulation and death,"  and all that scene about doing a
girl in. And all those deaths in "Marina" and the sea and river full of death
in 4Q.  Whatever poems are you talking about?

He threw away some good stuff and kept some fairly bad also.  At least I
cannot find much in "The Rock" that matches any of the other work, and I
think there are a few poems in IMH that are just as good as published
work.

Nancy




Date sent:              Wed, 5 Mar 2003 17:46:33 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Re : Eliot and Lawrence
To:                     [log in to unmask]

A great set of quotes. Thank you.
1. I agree that Lawrence has no sense of humour.
   No big deal.
2. I also agree that Lawrence was as much an anti-intellectual
   snob, as Eliot was an intellectual snob. So much the loss
   for both of them. Therein, however, may lie the root of
   your question of the disapprobation between them. Lawrence
   is confessedly and commitedly rural and animal. Eliot the same
   but urban and intellectual. Their values and preferences are
   prone to mutual rejection, rather than cross-fertilisation.
   Perhaps a pity.
3. All agree. Lawrence was intutitive. Eliot wasn't. In fact
   I strongly believe one could make a case for Eliot's com-
   plete rejection of intuition, as a life skill and as an
   artistic support. More fertiliser for mutual alienation.
   Lawrence's intuitiveness is consistent with his ruralness
   and animal orientation.
4. Did Lawrence have a sexual morbidity in his work?
   "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" has evidence pro. THE RAINBOW
   the opposite. Obviously not to Eliot's taste. In fact
   neither sex nor death were subjects to Eliot's taste. Perhaps
   they offended his streak on New Emgland puritanism. More
   ground for disapprobation on Eliot's part.
5. A work of art.... Probably not by the 1920s standards
   of Vorticism, Cubism &c. No real exploration of the medium.
   Strict focus on content. No interest in the cutting edge
   of how to uses the senses in language.
   By the 19th century Romantic standards, Lawrence's work
   probably does qualify as art, but ELiot's every interest was
   in getting away from that.
6. Profound insights rather than ratiocinative powers... see
   #3. above.
7. That Lawrence had to struggle to get his good stuff out is a
   fair evaluation by Eliot. Eliot had a similar struggle, he
   just had the good sense to through the bad stuff away.
8. Lawrence's anti-religious attitude no doubt would not
   be comfortable in the same room with Eliot's proreligous
   attitude (which is typically patronising. My Dad also was
   an Anglican, and I see interesting resonances of a similar
   character in Eliot.) This point alone would be enough to
   alienate the two from each other, in themselves and through
   thier critics.
9. Lawrence's mother. E.'s remarks rather remind of of E. on Blake.
   E. was marvellous at slotting in others' inadequacies of
   religious trait. I am gravely tempted to attribute this
   tendency to his Anglicanism as well, for the reasons cited in #8
   above.
10. I don't remember the orignal question which generated this thread,
   Seems to me it queried the disjuncture between E. and L.
   The above seem to indicate possible reasons therefor.

Cheers,
Peter.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
[log in to unmask]
www.camosun.bc.ca/~peterm


-----Original Message-----
From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 2:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re : Eliot and Lawrence


Here are some quotes I managed to type(They are from
Leavis' book: D.H.Lawrence: novelist.  I dont have the
original source)

"Lawrence has three aspects, and it is very difficult
to do justice to all.  I do not expect to be able to
do so.  The first is the ridiculous: his lack of a
sense of humour, a certain snobbery, a lack not so
much of information as of the critical faculties which
education should give, and an incapacity for what we
ordinarily call thinking.  ...secondly there is the
extraordinarily keen sensibility and capacity for
profound intuition - intuition from which he commonly
he drew the wrong conclusion.  Third, there is a
distinct sexual morbidity". (After Strange Gods)

"He never succeeded in making a work of art"
(criterion)

"He was an impatient and impulsive man (or so I
imagine him to have been; for, like the author of the
book, I never knew him).  He was a man of fitful and
profound insights, rather than of rationcinative
powers; and therefore he was an impatient man; he
expressed some of his insights in the form least
likely to make them acceptable to most of his
contemporaries, and sometimes in a form which almost
willfully encouraged misunderstanding...Wrong as he
often was (I think) from ignorance, prejudice, or
drawing the wrong conclusions in his conscious mind
form the insights which came to him from below
consciousness: it will take time to dissociate the
superficial error from the fundamental truth.  To me,
also, he seems often to write very badly: but to be a
writer who had to write often badly in order to write
something well.  As for his religious attitude... we can
now begin to see how much was ignorance, rather than
hostility; for Lawrence was an ignorant man in the
sense that he was unaware of how much he did not
know... "

Of Lawrence's mother:
"Vague hymn-singing pietism...which does not seem to
have provided her with any firm principles by which to
scrutinize the conduct of her sons".(Foreword to
D.H.Lawrence and Human Existence, by Fr. William
Tiverton)



--------------------------

Peter Montgomery  wrote:I don't see anything wrong
with being provocative.All ideas need to be
challenged. My concern iswith the generalities, which
imply that Eliot had anegative attitude to Lawrence.
Fine. I agree that heprobably did. All I want is to
see some of thestatements on which your, possibly
valid, assertionis made.I haven't looked at that side
of Eliot recently, so I'mnot familiar with the
literature. How about a quote ortwo. Seems to me that
Eliot was consistent with hisoriginal assertions in
After Strange Gods that modernwriters like Lawrence,
and I think he even cited Pound,crreated characters
who lacked real will. They arepeople to whom things
happen. He got Pound flippingmad on that subject, and
as I remember they carriedon an endless correspondence
in NEW about it. Nowthe question is, to what degree
was Eliot influencedby another writer with his own
anti-semetic bonesin his closet, Percy Wyndham Lewis
and his book,MEN WITHOUT ART in which he tore into a
numberof writers (including Eliot whom he called a
PSEUDOIST)in some cases because they created
characters wholacked executive will and intelligence.
He drove Hemingwayto utter destructiveness with that
criticism. Ol' Pappytore Shakespeare and Company to
bits when he read that.Seems to me those are really
important qurestions.So there. I've put some minimal
specifics on the table,which I think are provocative
and worth serious discussionin an age of Prufrocks who
have no will, and littleintelligence. They are
consumers. Soma addicts.Unfortunately I don't have
time to look up more textsto broaden the discussion.So
lets see some of your texts which show Eliot
beingnegative about Lawrence.If I'm being critical, it
is only about the lack of specifics,not about being
provacative as such. Being provocativewithout
specifics comes across as game playing. Fine.I'm happy
to take you at your word as being serious.I just don't
see how I can answer you without specifics.And I'm
just an 'umble instructor at yer service. Noreal
prof.:)Cheers,Peter.Dr. Peter C. Montgomery Dept. of
English Camosun College 3100 Foul Bay Rd. Victoria, BC
CANADA V8P 5J2 [log in to unmask]
www.camosun.bc.ca/~peterm -----Original
Message-----From: Vishvesh Obla
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]Sent: Tuesday, March
04, 2003 9:16 AMTo: [log in to unmask]: Re :
Eliot and LawrenceDear Professor Montgomery, Let me
say that I am sorry if I had offended anyone.  No, I
didn't try to be provocative, but if I sounded so, let
me first apologize for it.  I am quite baffled by
Eliot's attitude towards Lawrence and I am only trying
to see how far I have been right in understanding it.
For, Eliot matters much  to me as Lawrence and Leavis
do.  But I feel that behind the animosity shown by
Eliot there is a key to a finer perception of both
their art, and this is worth scrutiny.  Let me repeat
again, that if I appear provocative in doing it, it is
not intentional.   Dear Nancy,Thanks for your kind
words. Nancy Gish  wrote:It is interesting that Eliot
does provoke provocation to a serious end. Thecurrent
issue of Modernism/Modernity is very provocative, but
a set of veryserious scholars all seem to think the
stakes important--on both sides ofthe anti-Semitism
issue. I appreciate the post from Vishvesh as opening
areal question about the ways Eliot spoke on
culture.Had Eliot stuck to poetry and especially
nonprovocative poetry (did hewrite any?), no doubt
these questions would not come up. But Eliotchose to
make cultural pronouncements. That is what creates the
debate.NancyDate sent: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 19:29:36
-0800Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
From: Peter Montgomery Subject: Re: Re : Eliot and
LawrenceTo: [log in to unmask]: Vishvesh Obla
[mailto:[log in to unmask] COM]I remember some
remarks made earlier that Eliot with his kind
ofeducational, Elizabethan and religious background
couldn't have foundLawrence to his liking. But when
you read Eliot's comments on Lawrence,they appear much
more than that ; nor can they be considered
passingremarks or minor judgements, which could be
flawed and hence not viewedseriously. There is a
cynical force behind them which makes them all themore
to be
analysed.===================================================You
have some interesting generalisations here that make
onethink that Eliot's view on Middleton might be
brought into play,but without specifics, it's not
really worth the effort. It's a wholelot easier just
to think you are just being provocative to no good
end.Dr. Peter C. MontgomeryDept. of EnglishCamosun
College3100 Foul Bay Rd.Victoria, BC CANADA V8P
[log in to unmask]
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