In a message dated 10/28/2003 10:50:34 AM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
> Does anybody know if the limerick pre-dated> Waste land (or another version of it maybe> pre-dated it...) or if it was written after it ...> Was Eliot refering to it?> and What is the most probable meaning> behind these 3 lines ...> > Sorry about showing that limerick, I do not like it,> but I am very interested by possible connections> and my question is not a bad joke.> > Regards,> Rolland.
I would like to refer you to an article called "Stetson in The Waste Land" by Donald Childs that was published in the April 1988 issue of "Essays in Criticism". In that article, Childs argues that there is a relationship among the characters of Stetson, Mr. Eugenides, and Mrs. Porter, and that the relationship revolves around the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. That battle involved Turkey, Greece, and other WW1 participants, such as Australia.
As Child’s notes, the Australian solders at Gallipoli were known as ANZACS, an abbreviation for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corp”.
As you know, TSE’s notes to the Mrs. Porter line are “I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia”. As the Childs article points out, Australian solders played a role in the battle of Gallipoli (the area in the Dardanelles), a battle at which TSE’s friend Jean Verdenal was killed (TSE’s book “Prufrock and other observations” is dedicated to Jean Verdenal: “For Jean Verdenal, 1889-1915 / mort aux Dardenelles”).
Below are a few brief excerpts from Childs' article, which will make much more sense to you once you've seen the whole work:============================================================"I suggest that the Stetson addressed in 'The Burial of the Dead' in an Anzac soldier -- the reference to Stetson being a reference to the famous felt hat worn by Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the First World War."
Why should Eliot reference Australian soldiers? "Because the [Australian soldiers are a reference to Gallipoli] and a reference to Gallipoli is Eliot's way of referring to Jean Verdenal".
"In the end, I explain the reference to Stetson as follows: the Smyrna issue debated at the Near East Conference in London in 1921 prompted Eliot, at the very time he was composing the first draft's of The Waste Land, to recall the disastrous invasion of Gallipoli in 1915 and death in that campaign of his friend Jean Verdenal. With memories of Gallipoli and London's Anzac Day parades active in his imagination, he wove Gallipoli and Australia into the dense fabric of the poem's allusions -- first by indirect reference to the famous Australian Stetson, and then by direct quotation of the bawdy song the Australian soldiers sang ["Mrs. Porter"] as they charged the beaches of Gallipoli. The name Stetson thus gives rise to a cluster of personal and public images, evoking at the conclusion of 'The Burial of the Dead' images of Australians, of mud at Gallipoli, of Verdenal's corpse, and of a course in Egypt, and evoking in 'The Fire Sermon' the image of Mrs. Porter in Cairo and the image of a Greek merchant from Smyrna."==================================================
-- Steve --