M. McLuhan noted that when he described the effects of the book in its
descent from power during the ascendency of electronic media, people
assumed that he _felt_ negatively about books and literacy, when in fact
his personal preference would have been to turn all the electrics off and
cleave to print. He was simply describing (he said) the then current
effects of the book. I think you make a good point when you say that this
medium is like a conversation. Note that all Jacek did was to ask the
question "it effects you?" and the assumption is that he was "bitching." I
thought sure Peter would respond that it certainly did effect him, as in
putting on the poem in order to understand it it must. He didn't.
It seems to me that if we are going to honestly explore a poem, we can't
assume what its effects are and aren't without trying on whatever comes to
mind while pursuing our understanding of the poem. That is why I disagree
with Marcia's line of attack on paraphrasing. It makes an unnecessary
assumption and isn't really fair to the necessity of exploring in our own
words whatever the poem is doing. (I guess that was a sneak attack,
Marcia). It's natural to discuss, to converse. Paraphrasing would be an
on-going activity, not something that is done once and the poem is
discarded (quickly followed by the paraphrase); what's more, it does not at
all need to deny the technique of the poem, but, I would think, needs to
take technique and ultimately all effects into account.
So it seems to me, also, that the reason we are so hung up on early Eliot
is that that is where we should be. The later into Eliot we get, the less
we have to say about him (his poetry), because we really haven't wrestled
the early Eliot to the ground yet, most of us. Which, please, is not to say
we shouldn't be grappling with the later E---just that we are closer to our
means in the early stuff.
So that about does it for me in May.
>And besides, I hardly see that we should follow Eliot as a role model for
>all things. To do so would seem.. a bit obtuse.
All things? Argument by extension? ; ) On the other writing hand,
perhaps if we mimed him.....