I guess I don't understand the problem here. How else but through the
particular can the universal be revealed?
Regarding the date of the book I recommended: it was forty years after
the publication of TWL, close to thirty after BN. Is there progress in the
arts or in their appreciation? Genuine understanding, I think, does not
depend on "progress." Most definitely the reading of BN looks to the
personal, but subordinated to the poetical. Current speculation might
change the expression, but not the form of a good appreciation of the poem.
--On Thursday, March 31, 2005 9:30 PM -0500 "Rickard A. Parker"
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The question arises: why did this poem give T.S. Eliot "the shudder"
> of genuine response that he records in this essay, a shudder that
> causes him to say, simply, "This is great poetry, economical of words,
> a universal emotion . . ."? Eliot's extravagant claims for the lines
> seem strangely remote from the passionate intensity of his highly
> personal response. We might readily agree on the universality of the
> emotion found in grief for a dead friend, but we might begin to
> question the universality of the inconsolable sense of loss as it
> becomes mixed with guilt ("like a guilty thing I creep"), and the
> sense deepening to feelings of futility and meaninglessness, as the
> poet turns back to "the noise of life"--as on "the bald street breaks
> the blank day." However great, economical, or universal Tennyson's
> lines, the particular circumstances of his grief appear unique: [brief
> description of Tennyson's and Hallam's friendship.]
> Rick Parker