Oh my, Nancy !
I don't ever dream that I am 'qualified' more than you
or the 'hundreds (or thousands?)' of all kinds of
critics. This is a list and you express your
understanding and I, mine. That you should have
written books and I nothing (for all that you know)
should factor in our discussion is something I can't
make any sense of. You have every right to find fault
with mine, and ignore mine as well. I really don't
understand why you take it so personal to make such
comparisons even after I make related explanations.
You earlier accused me that I should read Pope, I
should read Twain to understand comedy and humor. You
know what, I didn't see it as a healthy suggestion at
all in its context. But still I don't make it a
personal issue and I am trying to only see what
appears to me to be glaring in what you are 'saying'.
Lets preserve some standards of good communication.
--- Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear Vishvesh,
> You assume you know what the "poem" is and that it
> has nothing to do
> with its historical context. You are not more
> qualified than I--or,
> indeed, hundreds (or thousands?) of cultural
> critics, new historical
> critics, poets, and scholars. This conversation is
> not premised on a
> presumption of your definition--at least not by me.
> >>> [log in to unmask] 04/05/05 7:28 AM >>>
> Dear Nancy,
> I will make one clarification for now:
> 'There is nothing whatever to infer about me from my
> statement about the
> Elizabethans since I only stated well-known
> fact. They did
> those things. That's all.'
> Yes, you did state a well-known historical fact.
> I was trying to say was that you were bringing in
> facts which more often do divert from than focus on
> the 'poem'.
> --- Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Dear Vishvesh,
> > I think whatever ability is involved in reading
> > poems must have
> > something to do with reading them and studying
> > over time. As I
> > have been doing that for decades and just
> > my third book on
> > Eliot (this one a co-edition, the others
> > I suppose I have the
> > experience at least as much as others. Whatever
> > mean by your
> > "snobbery" is, unfortunately, more than a little
> > unfounded.
> > I have not dealt with Eliot's perversity or lack
> > it. I described
> > what was in the poem. I do not write biography--I
> > just read it--so I do
> > not publish views on Eliot himself. I have never
> > said Eliot himself is
> > either mad or perverted: I SAID the poem
> > that. So does one
> > of Browning's monologues. So do many Elizabethan
> > plays. So do
> > Dostoevsky's novels. The Karamozovs are depraved
> > and "hysterical."
> > This is not the same as saying Dostoevsky was. It
> > is not abuse of Eliot
> > to point out that a poem about strangling a woman
> > a poem about
> > strangling a woman. This is not complicated.
> > But as a matter of principle (and fact) some
> > have been mad or
> > perverse. DeSade was probably both. No doubt a
> > list could be made up.
> > That is a very different issue.
> > There is nothing whatever to infer about me from
> > statement about the
> > Elizabethans since I only stated well-known
> > historical fact. They did
> > those things. That's all.
> > I am still curious about what you seem to think
> > constitutes a "poem" but
> > has nothing to do with whatever the words of the
> > poem say. In his
> > Middleton essay, Eliot praises it precisely
> > its horror is real.
> > "In reading The Changeling we may think, till
> > almost the end of the
> > play, that we have been concerned merely with a
> > fantastic Elizabethan
> > morality, and then discover that we are looking on
> > at a dispassionate
> > exposure of fundamental passions of any time and
> > place." He
> > discusses these passions and the tragedy of
> > "habituation to sin." He
> > seems to have no notion that the play is somehow
> > essence of drama
> > that is not "about" a woman who becomes "moral by
> > being damned." He
> > seems quite focused, in fact, on the words and
> > events that are in the
> > play.
> > If you cannot talk with me, I guess you cannot.
> > that is not a
> > reason to talk about me.
> > Nancy
> > >>> [log in to unmask] 04/04/05 9:22 AM >>>
> > Dear Nancy,
> > The old habit got on me unawares ! Nancy,
> > it will be...
> > I don't have an answer for your question as to
> > whether
> > I had alone acquired the "special" ability of
> > identifying the 'essential' experience. But I
> > believe
> > it is a necessary element in understanding and
> > judging
> > poetry and that the great critics can facilitate
> > towards such a maturity, if I may call it so.
> > it
> > snobbery if you want to, for you are 'entitled' to
> > your 'opinion'. But don't say that I am alone in
> > it.
> > For, it would only amount to saying something as
> > absurd as Eliot is a madman and a pervert and so
> > there
> > is no need to read and accept what he has said !
> > 'If you will not discuss the poetry, please do not
> > discuss me as if you were in a position to judge
> > ability to read.'
> > I pick on 'you' since you have been hurling a lot
> > what seems to me as abuse on a great poet. My
> > question remains this : how can I consider such
> > accusations valid if I see something entirely
> > unconvincing to me as to the person who has been
> > making it. You say that I continue to state that
> > you
> > look at a poem as an 'idea'. What can I infer
> > you make further and further statements as:
> > "The Elizabethans did, indeed, represent a great
> > deal
> > of perversity. They also engaged in burning
> > alive, drawing and quartering, political murder,
> > chopping off the heads of wives--you know--not
> > nice."
> > ?
> > How can I discuss poetry in your lines if you by
> > your
> > own words seem to me to be associating with such
> > issues that are not primary to the 'poem'? As a
> > crude
> > analogy, I am reminded of someone making a note
> > expressing his wonder as to how a poet as Keats
> > would
> > never have bothered to have alluded to any social
> > criticism in a troubled time, when a contemporary
> > Shelley was brimming with fire and so caustic
> > against
> > the establishment. See, there is a connection
> > willy-nilly you accept it or not.
> > I did try to discuss the poetry by drawing an
> > analogy
> > to 'The Changeling', but since I do not have the
> > text,
> > I cannot do it now. I can see Eliot drawing his
> > inspiration in this poem from Middleton whom he
> > admired so much. If I had his essay on Middleton
> > and
> > the text of 'The Changeling' I would be gladly
=== message truncated ===
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