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But Peter, let me ask you the one big question that your comments invite but
do not answer: Isn't it resonably clear, or at least reasonably likely that,
whatever *else* it may be about, and whatever it may be saying about the
subject, Prufrock is about sex in substantial part? If one accepts that,
then saying that Eliot's sex life is independent from his poetry doesn't
change the fact that sex is a legitimate aspect of trying to understand
Prufrock. Do you disagree with any of that?
Sorry Tom but I'm not willing to concede that the substance
of the poem is about sex. Were I to work in a similar inter-
pretive vein, I might just as easily conclude, given the
setting's era, that all the anxiety and preoccupation, esp.
with status and boredom, could just as easily be about
However that is not a vein which I choose to mine.
To me the poem is a mediated experience, not a coded message.
Like regular experience it works on many levels and is about
many things. Primarily it is an exercise in perception,
not in meaning, although fragments of meaning can be
gleaned from it here and there, but I doubt if in any coherent
Given Russell's influence on Eliot at the time, it is
of value to study ol' Bertie's theory of positive atomism.
"You dozed and watched the thousand sordid images of
which your soul was constituted" [quoted from memory].
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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