Why is the fog/smoke yellow? Mustard gas? I read in a New Yorker article (by Louis Menand) last fall that a group of scholars -- on somewhat thin evidence -- believe that Eliot was gay and had a lover while in Paris: Jean Verdenal. The Prufrock collection was apparently dedicated to Verdenal in 1917, after his death at Gallipoli. According to these scholars, Eliot thought he had died of drowning. Other scholars have read Verdenal into the Phoeban sailor of _The Waste Land_. But it seems to me that the publish date, 1922, of The Waste Land would have been far too late to nurse a wounded heart in public, published form -- am I naive in thinkin this? I have to wonder if all the water imagery, and the yellow smoke, and the eternal Footman, etc were not all musings and memorials to the death of his friend and/or lover Jean. Prufrock's publish date of 1917 would seem to support my private little theory, but this (http://www.camdenfamily.com/thunder/timeline.html) website's timeline claims a completion date in 1912. Did he spend the five year balance completing the remaining poems, refining the eponymous poem, or just involved with other pursuits? Besides, do we have hard evidence that he did not completely rewrite the poem in 1917 anyways? Any Eliot scholars out there care to respond?