Eliot did not go back for his Ph.D. because it was 1915 and German
U-boats were sinking ships. It was not safe to go--he was not being
petulantly resistant. He also did not want to be a philosopher or
professor and did not need it for what he was doing.
In Cassandra's and my book, out in the next couple of weeks, I have a
long article tracing the "dissociation of sensibility" from very
different sources, mainly readings in pre-Freudian psychology he studied
at Harvard. His application to poetry is both intellectual and
>>> [log in to unmask] 10/26/04 12:15:08 AM >>>
I'm not up on this particlar area, but I find it difficult to believe
Eliot did anything his teachers told him, given his independence of
Keep in mind he didn't bother to convocate for his phd. His conversion
to Chrisitaity also stirred up some of his mentors -- if I remember
I'm under the impression that it was his very thorough review of the
Elizabethans, that he came to his conclusion about the dissociation
of sensibility and so became less and less enthusiastic about
the writers after Dryden and Pope, to the point where he advocated
students not be taught Milton. The Romantics were fine for the
side in their poetry, but the intellectual dimension was/is distinctly
missing. The Eliot/Pound alliance to purify the dialect of the tribe,
ala Malarme, was an attempt to reverse the process of dissociation.
That's a crass summary done in a hurry, and from memory.
I'm sure it is weak in some details. Still I believe Eliot's
position there was very considered, not simply mimetic or
Perhaps others can improve on this. Anyone riding a papal
bull these days?
From: William Gray
In general, though, it has been my understanding that Eliot
the Romantics, and was taught to do so by his professors at Harvard.
I wrong about this? Sorry, I'm not familiar with the quotation you're
looking for. But hope these other bits help.
>>> [log in to unmask] 10/24/04 12:00AM >>>
Does the list still exist? :-)
This has nothing to do with Eliot, but perhaps it will trigger
something. I've been reading the (1805) _Prelude_. It's been 40 years
so since I last read it (1850 version); I got into it because I wanted
to see if the book "Books" was relevant to something I was thinking
about, and I had for reasons I don't remember purchased the Norton
edition of the poem a couple years ago. I have no memory of how I
responded to the poem years ago; it certainly did not capture any
But this time I'm enthralled. I've reached Book XI (of 13 in the
Anyone else on this list a Wordsworth reader? (I have never been
particularly.) I don't remember Eliot saying anything either positive
negative about him. Someone -- Kenner? Eliot himself? -- remarked of
initial response some of Wordsworth's poems that they found them
difficult but called them ______(?).
Large sections of the poem have the same sort of marvelous control of
syntax that I love in Milton's _Paradise Regained_.