First, Eliot says "Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a
'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting
all the rest." He does not say anything at all that implies, let alone
states, that all the other speakers are NOT "characters"; in fact, the
contrast implies that they are. Moreover, a "personage" is "a
representation or figure of a person" or, simply, a person of
distinction, consideration, or importance." (See OED) So it may or may
not refer to any or all of the speakers in TWL. There is nothing about
it that essentially or necessarily distinguishes it from a "character"
except that Eliot separates Tiresias from the others who, presumably,
are therefore "characters" or at least are in no way precluded from
My quotation marks are simply to note the word as word and so referred
to the term as others had used it. It is not a separate category, nor
does my text imply that. (See the Chicago Manual of Style.)
Third, I am surprised that Jennifer does not seem familiar with the
distinction of "round" and "flat" characters, since the terms are
neither American nor unusual but defined by E. M. Forster. (See any
standard handbook of literary terms.)
Fourth, I use all the terms in my prior post in quite the same way as
any standard discussion and as defined in Handbooks. They are differing
angles for perceiving a "character" and are used in combination and are
not in any way mine or unusual or contradictory.
I'll send a quotation later to demonstrate this, but it is too long for
me to do right now.
In other words, this strange challenge to my totally conventional use
of terminology as if I were either a freshman or utterly confused is
much ado about nothing.
>>> [log in to unmask] 07/24/05 7:22 PM >>>
From: Jennifer Formichelli
I do think, by the way, that
Eliot's use in his Notes of the word 'personages' in TWL is evidence of
his making a crucial distinction between character and something else
that is not quite character.
I agree! I did query thispoint to the list earlier,
but without response. Thanks for your understanding of it.
What is the significance of this interpenetration of thinly