I rather wonder if we are being had on this one, my friend.
It is a thought that pesters me. Another one is, that given
that literary commentary is a creative act, involving much
testing of self-created hypotheses, that indeed the commen-
tator on perverse works produces perverse commentary pre-
cisely as comentator, and is therefore, as commetator,
perverse. The latter is no reflection on the commentator's life.
I think it is quite clear that Eliot had the usual collection
of perverse prompts that most people do, and he used them as
grist for his powerfully creative mill.
Hmm. Is "La Fleur du Mal" perverse, or a portrait of and
confrontation with perversity? 'T would seem to me that
there is a difference.
From: Ken Armstrong
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2005-Apr-07 12:19 PM
Subject: Re: "Perverse"--definition
I don't get why a poem about or presenting or revealing or exposing the
perverse should itself be called perverse unless, by definition, it
presents a false picture of the perverse, i.e. unless it perversely
presents the perverse. Ditto the poet. It doesn't make sense to me to
say that "Eliot--as poet--is perverse" because some of his poems deal
with the perverse (not, however and BTW, Sweeney Erect). I think Peter
is getting at the problem in saying what Eliot is doing when he notes
how the symbol for grace is turned into weapons in FQ. But I don't think
this is perverse.
At 06:54 PM 4/6/2005 -0400, you wrote:
You're right that the way I have written these appears inconsistent. I
do mean that the poems are perverse and that Eliot--as poet--is
perverse. That does not mean that Eliot--as person--was perverse; I am
not commenting on him as a person.
I mean that the poems I listed are "perverse" by virtue of the fact that
they depict events and feelings and experiences that fit the dictionary
definitions of the term.
I mean that Eliot--as poet--is "perverse" by virtue of the fact that he
writes on these subjects and exposes/reveals events, experiences, and
feelings that fit the dictionary definition. This is part of what makes
his poetry so powerful: he is, in fact, plunged into the most perverse
as well as the most idealized. He engages an extreme range of
experience--though I would say it is deep and narrow compared to a
writer like Shakespeare or Chaucer. But then, so is Dante. I am NOT
doing what Eliot called for in his discussion of comparison and
analysis--this is not an evaluative claim.