Thanks for responding Nancy....as for what I found valuable in the book:
it's portrayal of the day to day life a Nobel prize winning poet of the
era; it gave a personal glimpse of the professional rivalries with other
writers, and groups of writers of the time; it gave a vivid picture of a
very sad, pitiable marriage and at the same time, revealed the extent to
which Vivienne was not only TSE's muse for his greatest works but that
she was an extremely clever writer herself; it also gave a glimpse of
the mores of the time vis a vis marriage and the social cost of
separating; it showed the avant garde nature of open marriage and its
effects on those that participated in it; it gave insight into TSE's
need to write when it said that he wrote out of pain (I forget the exact
expression that was used, it's Friday afternoon and my brain is tired),
and I found it interesting that he never wrote another thing after his
second marriage, or at least nothing really important. This begs the old
question: does the artist have to suffer in order to write? Or to
create? If he had been wiser about his marriage choice, would TSE still
have been the great poet he became, or was his bad marriage just a bad
itch that needed a lot of scratching? Would he have messed up any other
marriage just as badly and still ended up a Nobel Prize Winning Poet?
I also liked the honesty with which it was written, mentioning a lot of
not so flattering traits both TSE and Vivienne had. I found it
interesting that it mentioned TSE got married very quickly so as not to
take time to do otherwise, perhaps some insight into a weak person's
soul, hard to say.
Also, I had a dictionary in hand, and found the book incredibly
enteraining, their lives were intense as well as utterly disturbing.
All for now,
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Nancy Gish
Sent: July 8, 2005 12:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Painted Shadow
You're right that mid-summer tends to be a down time. I think Painted
Shadow is fascinating, but you will find many readers will attack it
because Seymour-Jones does make mistakes. She often simply identifies
poetic voices with Eliot himself (and may be right but does not
demonstrate that she is), and assumes things she cannot or does not
On the other hand, she found masses of new material, and when she cites
it, it is important and illuminating. I'd be interested in what
especially you found valuable and interesting.
>>> [log in to unmask] 07/08/05 10:23 AM >>>
I am new to this list and was sort of hoping for some lively discussion
on TSE and his works but so far I've only received two emails in two
days! Maybe everyone is on vacation.
What got me interested in subscribing was the book, the bio of TSE's
first wife Vivienne, which I am sure many of you have read. I found it
just astonishing! The detailed research, the personal anecdotes and
inside information, albeit gossip, was an impressive bit of work. I
thoroughly enjoyed it in all its intensity. And it inspired me to read
the Waste Land.
Ok, I've said enough for now, and look forward to hearing comments from
others who have read The Painted Shadow.
Calla (Ottawa, Canada)
Calla H. Fireman
Assistant to the Director, SRM
Foreign Affairs Canada
219 Laurier Ave., 11th floor, Room 1166
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6