It isn't just a matter of thought and feeling.
It also very much includes the senses. It is
perception which is also feeling which is also thought
all in one immediate package. You can see examples
of it in striking ways in the poetry of Yeats
here approximated from "The Second Coming":"The Second Coming...hardly are
those words out when out of the desert
I see a shape...". Also in "Prayer for my Daughter"
there is a transformation of a storm into a thought
at the beginning.
Some of the idea can be discovered in the educational
theory of the time. You might want to study Thomas Nash.
It is not a subject studied so well in an academic way. One gets a much
better sense of it by working on an Elizabethan
production, where the language really comes alive and takes
on meanings and shapes much richer than those of the text.
It is important to keep in mind that while Eliot had an
academic background, he was NOT an academic. One could
even say in some ways he rejected academia. Mere analysis
doesn't get to the core. The voice resonates in ways the
printed word never can. That is why the auditory
imagination was so important to him.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2003 9:03 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: "Unified Sensibility'"
I have always been fascinated by the phrase "Unified
Sensibility" that Eliot found in the Elizabethans and
the Metaphysical poets. I used to think what Eliot
meant by that phrase was a natural association of
'thought' and 'feeling', something spontaneous which
was not achievable by the later poets. I made a note
of an earlier posting by Prof.Peter Montgomery,
wherein he associates Eliot's Elizabethan sensibility
and his roots to medieval England. A question comes
to my mind :
Was the "unified sensibility" possible to the
Elizabethans and the metaphysicals because they were
much closer to the English tradition which had its
roots in the Medieval mystics?
I apologize if it appears to be a crude question, but
I am just trying to sort out my understanding of
PS : Prof.Peter Montgomery's earlier note:
"I'm convinced that Eliot's devouring of the
Elizabethans was part of his need to find his roots
(as in East Coker). Elizabethan English was a
significant connection to the medieval mystics of
England (Ferrar et al. [good old al.]). He noted a
general loss of connection with that Eliz. sensibility
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