Might the passage you are looking for be Eliot's remarks in 'The
Frontiers of Criticism' (1956), on the notes to TWL:
'The Notes to The Waste Land! I had at first intended only to put down
all the references for my quotations, with a view toward spiking the
guns of critics of my earlier poems who accused me of plagiarism.'
(OPP, pp. 109-10)
I believe the poem in question of plagiarism was actually 'Cousin
Nancy' (the last line 'The army of unalterable law' from Meredith's
'Lucifer in Starlight'); Eliot , I think , remarks on this in 'To
Criticise the Critic' (1961) and also in interviews he gave in the late
1950s in the Yorkshire Post and perhaps elsewhere. Eliot does not say
that he 'invented the notes'; however, Southam and some others discuss
some quite strange remarks he makes in them. There is also I think
quite a bit on this in the Casebook for The Waste Land (a collection of
mainly contemporaneous reviews and criticism of the poem).
As for poems and the question of annotation, there are other annotated
poems. Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner might even be considered
annotated in a sense. Eliot remarks on Marianne Moore's notes to her
poems in OPP as cited above, and Empson also annotated some of his
poems, as well as writing a wonderful essay about annotation and poems,
'Obscurity and Annotation' (1930), collected in Argufying. I'm sure
others on the list can think of others. As for novels, I'm uncertain:
perhaps others on the list can think of some that are annotated by
their authors. I know John Barthes in The Friday Book has some fun with
annotations of annotations, but that doesn't quite count. Were there
any annotations in The Name of the Rose? I can't recall.
On Tuesday, July 26, 2005, at 03:50 PM, Peter Montgomery wrote:
> If I wrack my brain hard enough I may remember just were Eliot talked
> about that.
> He was criticised, when Pruffy came out for having so many borrowings
> in his poem.
> Check Cleanth Brooks on that. The thought occurs that the critics were
> too overwhelmed by the poem, didn't know what to make of it, and so
> they had to pick on something. It was very UNFAIR criticism, given
> that English poets
> have always used allusions galore with out citing the sources.
> As to the notes on The Waste Land, the story goes that he and the
> wanted to produce it in book form but it was just too small, so Eliot
> invented the notes, partly as a finger up at the critics of Prufrock.
> There is a lot of doubleness in the notes if one sees them as a send
> up, eg the one at the end of The Fire Sermon about the collocation
> of Eastern and Western culture at this point in the poem note being
> an accident. Of course it's not an accident, so why say so.
> Besides which, how many poems (or short stories or novels for that
> provide citational work? I can't think of any other than TWL at
> the moment.
> As to where you can find all this, well I strongly remember Eliot
> referring to it in an
> essay or prose piece. I don't remember where. If I had the time I
> would look in
> To Criticise The Critic first, and if not there, then On Poetry and
> Look for places where he is talking about his own work.
> It would take a lot of skimming, but that's the best I offer for now.
> Perhaps someone else can help. It isn't referred to a lot in Eliot
> studies, but, on the other hand, it is referred to from time to time.
> (If that makes any sense.)
> Marcia Karp wrote:
>> Peter Montgomery wrote:
>>> must remember that Eliot was deliberately having on those critics who
>>> slammed him for not having citations for Prufrock.
>> Dear Peter,
>> I don't remember this being so. Where might I learn (and then
>> remember) that TWL notes have anything to do with Prufrock? What
>> citations were readers missing for that poem? How did the notes for
>> TWL come about?
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