This is close to my take. I think the poem guided Eliot
in writing the notes. McLuhan reported (in class) what
Pound told him. (M. saw P. in St. E's several times) The
notes were meant as a spoof. Partly the poem wasn't long
enough for separate publication, so E produced the notes.
Also, E, wanted to (as I think he himself said) spike the
guns of those who faulted him for his borrowings in Prufrock.
I believe E. confirmed those points elsewhere.
Surely one can't read the note on Tiresias or the one on
"burning, burning, burning"&c. while keeping a straight
If one looks at the poem with a Lewisian eye as a piece of
satire, then the notes become double-edged.
From: Ken Armstrong [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 6:11 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Three white leopards
Well, TWL notes are an attempt to direct something, but they may be as good
an argument against notes as for. TWL notes may be an indicator that TWL is
Eliot's Hamlet. My point is that the poem IS the help, and it is unfair to
expect Eliot to think the way he must to make poetry and then the way we
should to interpret poetry. It is like asking him to be two people, and it
really subverts everyone's legitimate standing in relation to the poetry,
his and ours as well as the poetry itself.
At 03:41 PM 2/19/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>Aren't the notes to "The Waste Land" or any other poetry an attempt by the
>poet to direct, or perhaps focus, a reading?