Tiresias in The Waste Land reminds me of the choragos of Greek Drama --
an onlooker who does not participate in the action. Perhaps, since Eliot
seemed to like the characterization (pun) of TWL as a drama, what he meant
by character in that note was simply a participant in the action. That would
suggest a rather ironic possibility that if all characters meld into
him, that there
is really no action ala The Hollow Men, and no character. A neat joke
quite characterisic (pun) of Eliot, and also a trap for those (esp. critics)
not careful as to the kind of artistic entity being referred to. It
would be easy
to make a slip, so to speak, that would be quite forgiveable. One
must remember that Eliot was deliberately having on those critics who
slammed him for not having citations for Prufrock. If the notes are
a kind of game Eliot was playing, Tiresias was, perhaps, his [E's] most
significant play in the game, esp. given his [T's] sexually violent past.
Jennifer Formichelli wrote:
> Hi Nancy,
> Please let me correct your statement below. I did not call you wrong,
> as the quotations (inverted commas?) around the word imply below. I
> merely stated that you shifted your terms (hic et ubique?) , which you
> did; and that I disagreed with your so doing for the reasons stated in
> my post.
> None of that implies that I think of you as a freshman, as you
> suggested (although since I don't think deprecatorily of young people
> in general, and have admired a good many, it wouldn't be
> automatically depreciating if I did). On the contrary, I am grateful
> to your post for giving me something to argue with.
> On Sunday, July 24, 2005, at 05:19 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
>> More ado and completely false--I did not confuse anything or use any
>> terms not totally common and in common ways. I think this announcement
>> of my "wrong" understanding rather astonishing as it seems to assume a
>> single (and idiosyncratic since it is contrary to constant standard
>> usage) meaning quite personal to Jennifer as somehow uniquely correct.
>> See prior post.
>>>>> [log in to unmask] 07/24/05 8:06 PM >>>
>> Part of my point here, though, is that we cannot have a serious
>> discussion of character on such slippery terms. This post confuses
>> character, "character", personality, persona, and figure; and in doing
>> so, it wrongly understands caricature as character and vice-versa, and
>> fails to distinguish between drama, poetic drama, dramatic monologue,
>> poetic verse, verse drama, and dramatic poems properly. I argue the
>> case because these distinctions were crucial to Eliot, in both his
>> poems and his criticism.
>> I am reminded of AFTER STRANGE GODS (42-43) and Eliot's criticism
>> of whom Pound has condemned to hell -- all types rather than
>> individual. E. suggests that the less these artisitic creations engage
>> in moral struggle, the less real they are.
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