Sorry Jenny, baby,
I won't contact old Camus. They would be too ashamed.
If you can't see the echoes of Marlowe in Marlow both in
person and in the art of the stories they tell, then you
aren't ready to know. If you insist on such literal
mindedness then you are welcome to your mediocrity.
Of course the Sybil doesn't say she has forsuffered all.
All she is she wants to die. No suffering in that I suppose.
The feeling is echoed, not the words. That is what is important.
As to your taste in commentators or common 'taters,
well, there is no accounting for taste. If you think Empson
measures up to Yeats' statement as follows, long since in the
public domain, well, poor little you; you are indeed deprived:
Emotion of Multitude
by W.B. Yeats.
I HAVE BEEN THINKING a good deal about plays lately, and I have been
wondering why I dislike the clear and logical construction which seems
necessary if one is to succeed on the modern stage. It came into my head the
other day that this construction, which all the world has learnt from
France, has everything of high literature except the emotion of multitude.
The Greek drama has got the emotion of multitude from its chorus, which
called up famous sorrows, even all the gods and all heroes, to witness, as
it were, some well-ordered fable, some action separated but for this from
all but itself. The French play delights in the well-ordered fable, but
by leaving out the chorus it has created an art where poetry and
imagination, always the children of far-off multitudinous things, must of
necessity grow less important than the mere will. This is why, I said to
myself, French dramatic poetry is so often rhetorical, for what is rhetoric
but the will trying to do the work of the imagination? The Shakespearian
drama gets the emotion of multitude out of the sub-plot which copies the
main plot, much as a shadow upon the wall copies one's body in the
firelight. We think of King Lear less as the history of one man and his
sorrows than as the history of a whole evil time. Lear's shadow is in
Gloucester, who also has ungrateful children, and the mind goes on imagining
other shadows, shadow beyond shadow, till it has pictured the world. In
Hamlet, one hardly notices, so subtly is the web woven, that the Ideas of
good and evil, murder of Hamlet's father and the sorrow of Hamlet are
shadowed in the lives of Fortinbras and Ophelia and Laertes, whose fathers,
too, have been killed. It is so in all the plays, or in all but all, and
very commonly the sub-plot is the main plot working itself out in more
ordinary men and women, and so doubly calling up before us the image of
multitude. Ibsen and Maeterlinck have, on the other hand, created a new
form, for they get multitude from the wild duck in the attic, or from the
crown at the bottom of the fountain, vague symbols that set the mind
wandering from idea to idea, emotion to emotion. Indeed all the great
masters have understood that there cannot be great art without the little
limited life of the fable, which is always the better the simpler it is, and
the rich, far-wandering, many-imaged life of the half-seen world beyond it.
There are some who understand that the simple unmysterious things living as
in a clear noon light are of the nature of the sun, and that vague,
many-imaged things have in them the strength of the moon. Did not the
Egyptian carve it on emerald that all living things have the sun for father
and the moon for mother, and has it not been said that a man of genius takes
the most after his mother?
========================= end of Peter's response ====================
From: Jennifer Formichelli
Two points, no bulls. First, if an allusion is too obscure, I should
think that its resonance cannot be felt at all, for the reader is
likely to fail to recognise it. I consider an allusion to be a
metaphor, a comparison of one context with another for both
similarities and differences. How could I, pray, possibly see how the
_name_ of Conrad's character evokes Christopher Marlowe, when that
_name_does not--I repeat, does not--appear in the quotation itself?
And once again, I ask you, exactly what about Christopher Marlowe? The
man himself? Unlikely; but if so, what would his place be in the
epigraph? Can you describe the resonances you assert? If not the man
himself, then which of his works? How do they enrich the context then
in which they are placed?
Second, the Sibyl a sister to Tiresias (actually, she is a lot more
like Tithonus)? Hmm. Perhaps there is some resonance between them,
though we should keep in mind that the Sibyl does not appear in the
poem, but rather outside of it, in the epigraph (at once a part of the
poem and apart from it). Nor does the Sibyl say, in the tale Trimalchio
tells, that she 'has foresuffered all'. Tiresias says that, and that
the Tiresias in Eliot's poem. And once again, I point out that, as she
is outside the poem, properly, it would be hard for her--not, after
all, in any way the focus of the Satyricon-- to provide a 'sub plot',
the way Gloucester and his sons do in King Lear. Not only that, but the
provision of a supposed sub-plot would suggest that TWL has itself a
plot. You have asserted this, but given evidence of no such thing. I
invite you to do so.
Whatever Yeats may say, I cannot possibly see how a sub-plot could
remain utterly unconnected with a main plot. If it did, then the whole
thing, it seems to me, would make no sense whatever; nor would it be a
sub-plot, but another main plot operating on its own terms. You might
see Empson's brilliant writings (which are likely to be quite a bit
better than Yeats's, who could be a charlatan when he chose ) on Double
Plots in Some Versions of Pastoral.
If you wish to quibble with my doctoral status, please contact the
University of Cambridge, England.
On Sunday, October 24, 2004, at 06:11 PM, Peter Montgomery wrote:
> More papal bull from Jennifer.
> Your obvious lack of familiarity with how allusions resonate,
> esp. in terms of the symbolists who seemed to have thought
> the more obscure the better, does make me wonder at your
> graduate status. If you cannot see how the name of Conrad's
> character evokes the name of the Elizabethan writer (spelling be
> damned) there is little hope for you.
> Again, The sybil is a sister (figureatively -- since you seem to need
> have these things spelled out) of Tiresias, who has foresuffered all.
> In effect she provides a subplot to reflect the main one in the poem.
> See Yeats' essay "Emotion of Multitude" to get the EFFECT created
> by a sub-plot, esp. when it DOES NOT connect with the main plot.
> I'm sorry you are incapable of accepting compliments.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jennifer Formichelli
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: 2004-Oct-24 1:47 PM
> Subject: Elizabethan? Marlow? : a reply to Peter; was Death by Water,
> Dear Peter,
> Surely, if you were an Elizabethan, you would know that Marlowe is
> Christopher Marlowe, whilst Conrad's Marlow is MARLOW, without the
> Nor does this name appear in the quotation Eliot chose for the
> epigraph. Can you connect, with an example, the Conrad with anything
> Marlowe, Christopher (from whom Eliot does take two other epigraphs)?
> Incidentally, how does the Petronius connect Cumae and Delphi? Cumae
> in Italy, Delphi Greece; and the Sibyl, as you know, foresees
> absolutely nothing in the quotation. She is wishing; or waxing. Nor is
> she even there; Trimalchio, the centre of that scene, recalls her
> (or makes them up, since in the Satyricon this story is a big lie
> all the company guffaw at ). I would like to write more on the
> quotation, and will do so in a reply to another post.
> As to my papal pronouncements, I'm afraid cannot accept the
> Yours, Jennifer
> On Saturday, October 23, 2004, at 11:33 PM, Peter Montgomery wrote:
>> One significant English resonance which H. of D. does have that
>> Petronius doesn't is the name MARLOWE. That helps, considerably,
>> us Elizabethans. Still, Conrad did Eliot a disservice
>> (ahead of time, albeit, but then remember Trad. & Ind. Talent.)
>> by associating Marlowe with the Buddha. The Petronius quote
>> creates a direct connection between Cumae and Delphi. The seers
>> may indeed have been enlightened but it would seem to be in their
>> I know, I know. You're going to quote me the Fire Sermon. Go ahead.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: 2004-Oct-23 9:06 AM
>> Subject: Re: Death by Water: a reply
>> It was Conrad--in the very symbolist H of D--who talked about the
>> meaning not being like a kernel in a nutshell but like an aura around
>> object (paraphrase). "The Horror! The Horror!" is filled with
>> and possibility; it is not at all simply a direct statement.
>>>>> [log in to unmask] 10/23/04 2:36 AM >>>
>> Some elements to consider:
>> Another language/another culture bring more context, more resonance.
>> There is a deeper level of irony given that the Petronius story is
>> really a joke.
>> Then there is the question of symbolist style, which Eliot got from
>> French poets, and Pound got perhaps more directly from the orient
>> (where the symbolists seem originally to have had it). It is the
>> of the very indirect allusion which opens up many creative
>> for the reader. Yeats was thinking of much the same thing with his
>> emotion of multitude.
>> The Cornrad quote limits possibilities in its directness.
>> The Petronius has a direct level, but so many other shadowy
>> eleents waiting in the shadows which the reader is forced to
>> look at if he wants to make sense of the reference. It is of
>> the essnce of the Michaelangelo lines in Prufrock. Everybody
>> wants to know what Eliot meant by it. It seems opaque and yet
>> there are very pertinent possibilites there for the taking
>> if one only lets the resonances sink in.
>> Just some possibilities.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Rickard A Parker
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: 2004-Oct-22 10:48 AM
>> Subject: Re: Death by Water: a reply
>> Jennifer Formichelli wrote:
>>> Regarding the epigraph, Eliot did not fret about it; where does he
>>> fret? Pound writes to him about it, and Eliot replies he has
>>> it with the Petronius, 'or something like it' (there's a cryptic
>>> comment for you). And you will recall that Pound almost withdrew his
>>> insinuation about the epigraph all together: 'Who I am to grudge him
>>> his laurel crown?' , telling Eliot to 'do as you like'.
>> One account of Eliot's "fret" (TWL: A Facsimile ... p. 125)
>> Pound: "I doubt if Conrad is weighty enough to stand the
>> Eliot: "Do you mean not use the Conrad quote or simply not put
>> Conrad's name to it? It is much the most appropriate I can find,
>> and somewhat elucidative."
>> Pound: "Do as you like about Conrad; who am I to grudge him his
>>> And he did: he
>>> chose the far superior, far more rich, Petronius. If you like, I
>>> at some point, when I don't have to go to work, describe exactly why
>>> think the epigraph Eliot selected is far superior to the one he
>> Jennifer, please do send this in. I lean the other way but whenever
>> I try to reason it out or write why I just can't do it.
>>> And how, most of all, could such a unity be 'constructed' by
>> Sun, moon, puppy, stars, candle
>> Rick Parker