Your excerpt makes pre-eminent sense to me, Ken.
I have indeed read and know well the article that it references.
It is one of those Eliot pieces, writtten somewhat off the cuff
to keep ££ in the pocket, that nonetheless approaches the marmoreal,
because Eliot's cuffs were always so stiffly starched. The piece
is even a foreshadowing of JOURNEY OF THE MAGI, which is also a trip,
and through the kind of terrain where glaciers that start rivers are
to be found.
In fact, to reject your idea of the sermon paradigm in 4Q DS,
one would have to do the same in that part of The Waste Land
entitled The Fire Sermon, (NBB the word SERMON in that title).
The idea of going down a river, and facing one's self is central.
That one's identity is tied up with that river historically
as well as personally is central. So, as Eliot could find his root
identity in the Thames, he could also find his historical/
personal identity in Ol' Miss. (I am reminded of a certain
song by Paul Simon from Graceland).
A peremptory no to your idea would be thoughtless and silly,
and perhaps make one wonder what such a writer might be
afraid to face about him or her self. Perhaps your idea
threatens such a writer because it presents a better, deeper
and more valid take than his or her own.
As to the question on the unconscious in the quote, don't
forget the etherised patient on a table, which is an
important allusion. I am reminded of Auden's "As I went
out one evening". The river is brimming AND deep.
I still think Eliot's Thames in TWL is a shadowing of ol. Miss.
Nice one Ken. I love it.
As to the question of consciousness
From: Ken Armstrong
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2004-Aug-20 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: The brown river
At 06:34 PM 6/25/2004 -0700, you wrote:
What then are the implications of the image of
a "strong, brown god"?
Ah, the list is in its usual summer doldrums while professors prepare or
begin to profess, lawyers get back from vacation, bureaucrats (ahem)
hold up the cause of inertia, and god knows what architects do. In the
meantime, being admittedly twenty or so years behind the curve on
putting things on the web, I thought I'd renew my thought on FQ, DS in
particular, regarding the controlling metaphor of the poem(s), which was
that there is an underlying metaphor in each of the Quartets which is a
guide to the dramatic action in each, and that we shouldn't be saying
that in BN Eliot says this or that as if it were a philosophic
dissertation, when the meaning is to be found in the unfolding drama of
each poem. There was one or two dissenters to this thought, which is not
original with me, so at long last I've (probably temporarily) figured
out how to put up on the Web an excerpt from the originator that makes
this argument. I put it up not as proof, but only as illustration and
hermeneutical help for those interested. It is about the role of the
poet in DS with a short concluding remark about Little Gidding.
The link is <http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~armstron/ETonTSE.htm>
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