There's a lot to deal with there Carrol.
I don't see the relapse dimension of which you speak, not
in Eliot's work, nor in the Chrisitan Church which was his context.
Turmoil, change, development, searching, transformation ...
a whole vortex of elements mixing, resonating and conflicting,
yes. Certainly the condition is one of high flux not unlike
that portrayed in Wyndham Lewis' version of the Divine Comedy
called THE HUMAN AGE.
Solidarity in spirituality is distinctly presented in
"the fire and the rose are one."
Finding new terms or frames of reference in which to discuss the matter
is extremely difficult. It is precisely that search which is a driving
element in 4Q. The communal element is persued in the plays.
Given Eliot's searching use of the theatre, it is hard to agree that he
refused to move beyond a dramatisation of anything in his work. His
great passion in the later part of his career was for the theatre, and it
isn't hard at all to make a case for his seing himself more as a poetic
dramatist than as a poet.
Ironically against the way you have made that case (deliberately and
conspicuously), Eliot's refusal to turn in ASH WEDNESDAY stands as
an ascertion to live in a new world, a new garden, and no longer to turn
again into some further search. The new world, the new condition is
endearingly, simply and clearly presented in "The Journey of the Magi"
once the difficult passage through the mountains has been accomplished.
Endless possibilities to pursue here come to mind.
I will it as is for the moment and let others pitch in.
Thanks for the prompt.
From: Carrol Cox
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 6/14/03 11:44 AM
Subject: Re: Herman Hesse quote
Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Perhaps my mentionng of the spiritual dimension might embolden
> a lurker or two to get involved. I hope so. I mean, one really
> shouldn't avoid the fact that Eliot did, consciously and
> deliberately, move beyond the waste land.
Notice the political, social, and metaphysical premises hidden and/or
revealed in that phrase, "move _beyond_." One could make the same remark
about Eliot and _also_ make other social, political, metaphysical
judgments, but one would also have to make those judgments more
explicit: "Eliot conspicuously and deliberately refused to move beyond
the dramatization in the Wasteland of a world made sterile by the
absence of solidarity to an articulation of the possible grounds of
solidarity, instead relapsing into a dessicated spirituality."
That is ugly prose. It is difficult to avoid stereotyped expectations in
smoother prose. I assume that spirituality is a lame substitute for
solidarity -- perhaps one should say, in fact, _ersatz_ solidarity.