> Dear Steve,
> reading Donoghue's "Words Alone" I also objected to his comment on that
> specific passage.
> "As the mind deserts the body it has used" seems to me a powerful
> intensification indeed. I'd venture that the two lines convey the same
> meaning, but the second one is elevated onto a higher, spiritual level.
> As to your speculation on this line (the user meaning the male (ab)using
> female body) I'm not so sure. Could it be that your interpretation might be
> rooted in some kind of Freudian projection of guilt ;-)?
> I found Donoghue's interpretation of 4Q quite remarkable. His derogatory
> remarks on The Dry Salvages in general and specifically on such neologisms
> as devotionless", "oceanless" or "erosionless" are perhaps too harsh, to
> point of being irreverant.
> Dear Gunnar,
I think that the person who wrote the interpretation of the Dry Salvages the
way you decribed it was Donald Davie and not Donoghue.
I happened to read that essay. The title is: T. S. Eliot: The End of an Era
and it can be found in a compilation of essays on Eliot edited by H. Kenner (
1962). In the preface Mr Kenner writes: "Donald Davie's valedictory essay may
perhaps not be prophetic in the way he intends, but it is likely to prove
prophetic none the less." Mr Davie's intentions concerning his essay are
unknown to me. Also, I have no idea what prophecy Hugh Kenner refers to. And,
most importantly, since the essay was written in the 50s--has the prophecy
I am loathe to pass any kind of judgment on Eliot's critics since I am well
aware of the fact that I am still unable to disburden myself of the
sycophantic attitude toward Eliot's poetry but the contradictory commentaries
some of his poems receive are a source of my utter bafflement.
I have a few more questions. Am I right in thinking that, according to Davie,
Eliot in his later poetry insouciantly parodies himself--his poetry being " the
essential gesture" of the Triumphal Arch? Did Eliot react to the essay in
question in any way? And, since I am not conversant with Mr Davie's critical
output, is it possible to categorize him as a critic? If so, what is the
critical theory he alligns himself with?