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TSE  March 2003

TSE March 2003

Subject:

Re: Re : Eliot and Lawrence

From:

Vishvesh Obla <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Fri, 7 Mar 2003 06:14:30 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (171 lines)

Dear Sir,

“Eliot believed in a primitive power coming from the
unconscious, but increasingly relied on the intellect
to make the inspirations socially acceptable.
Gradually it is not art that has the final word for
Eliot but Dogma--written pronouncements of Truth…”

I am struck by your response since you have touched on
‘what seems to me too’ (just to imitate the tone of
Eliot :)) an apparent difference between the two.  But
then, I am not sure if I have the capacity to make a
generalization of that sort.  I am only convinced now
that there are others who think like that.  That Eliot
was interested in primitive drawings comes as a
surprise to me, and I would have loved to read how he
reacted (by the bye, has he made any comments on
them?), if he found any traces of a different life
like the ‘free-breasted life’, that Lawrence found in
the Etruscan paintings.  That could, I believe, give
another clue to an understanding of both writers as
related to each other.

“His critique of the modern world is that the warning
signals that were set up in the intellect when
Christianity was in flower functioned well to moderate
the course of the individual because it fit with the
inspiration that was coming up from the Soul.  As
Europe became less and less Christian, it did not
modify the programming in the Intellect to correspond
with the new energies that were coming up out of the
Soul.  Rather, it demanded that actions be initiated
from the Intellect (that was sound and Christian) and
not from the soul (which was increasingly pagan).  As
a result, the energy coming from the soul has become
more and more attenuated…”

I am struck by this passage too.  Would you please
explain what you mean by ‘the warning signals’?  This
being a forum for Eliot, I am not sure if I would be
excused to talk of Lawrence in isolation, but the
subject in question demands it and I hope it would be
tolerated.  Lawrence, as I understand, believed that
man has certain primary impulses (like, the sense of
‘wonder’) which Christianity seldom accounted for (I
may be treading dangerous grounds here, but it is only
my understanding of Lawrence).  He was struck very
much by the “Grand Inquisitor” episode of “Brothers
Karamazov”, though he hated Dostoevsky for his satanic
and angelic pose all at once and hence not being
genuine in his works.  He found in it a criticism of
the two thousand years of Christianity and certain
unanswerable questions posed by Ivan which Christ
himself bows down to (I think Lawrence’s response to
Dostoevsky is found in “Phoenix”).  I am not so sure
if Lawrence was very critical of Europe becoming ‘less
and less Christian’ ; that would only lessen the vigor
of  his critique of modern European civilization.  In
his work “Fantasia…”, he deals elaborately with the
upper mode of response alone of our modern
civilization that he could identify even in the
paintings of Boticelli (he is so sarcastic of being
'Boticelli pure').  I would appreciate if you have the
time to elaborate more on that passage.

Thank You.

vishvesh

--- "Earls, JP" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Vishvesh Obla makes takes an intelligent and
> informed view of Eliot vs.
> Lawrence.  I would like to focus on one passage
>
>  Lawrence in his "Fantasia of the Unconscious" makes
> a detailed study of
> all the modes of consciousness in their essential
> interaction with each
> other and the related perception that shapes human
> relations and
> 'intelligence'.  Neither Lawrence nor Leavis were
> Freudians, though
> Lawrence was thankful to Freud for pulling down the
> idealists to the
> earth.
>
> Lawrence envisions a tripartite psychology (the
> Trinity lives on!): the
> soul, the psyche, and the intellect.  The soul is
> the source of power,
> and, when the psychical apparatus has not been
> damaged, initiates human
> action.  The psyche is the traditional element, and
> channels the power
> coming from the soul in directions that make for a
> happy life.  The
> intellect is the critical element, sounding a
> warning if things are
> getting out of hand.  Lawrence uses a the bicycle as
> an analogy: the
> soul is the pedals, the psyche the handlebars, and
> the intellect the
> brakes.
>
> His critique of the modern world is that the warning
> signals that were
> set up in the intellect when Christianity was in
> flower functioned well
> to moderate the course of the individual because it
> fit with the
> inspiration that was coming up from the Soul.  As
> Europe became less and
> less Christian, it did not modify the programming in
> the Intellect to
> correspond with the new energies that were coming up
> out of the Soul.
> Rather, it demanded that actions be initiated from
> the Intellect (that
> was sound and Christian) and not from the soul
> (which was increasingly
> pagan).  As a result, the energy coming from the
> soul has become more
> and more attenuated.
>
> Eliot apparently did not see or did not deem worth
> critiquing this
> analysis.  I think the Psyche of Lawrence could have
> been equated with
> Eliot's Tradition.  The Eliot who crawled down in
> the those caves at
> Lascaux with Pound to see the primitive drawings
> seems much on the same
> track as Lawrence investigating the Etruscan tombs.
> Eliot believed in a
> primitive power coming from the unconscious, but
> increasingly relied on
> the intellect to make the inspirations socially
> acceptable.  Gradually
> it is not art that has the final word for Eliot but
> Dogma--written
> pronouncements of Truth.  Prufrock's problem (if one
> might dare to say
> there is only one) is not being able to harness and
> ride  the movements
> of his Soul (in Lawrentian terms).  By After Strange
> Gods Eliot  is
> demonizing them and Lawrence.
>
> J. P. Earls, OSB
> Department of English
> St. John's University
> Collegeville, MN  56321
> Ph. (320) 363-2705
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


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