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TSE  July 2005

TSE July 2005

Subject:

Re: Four Quartets and "Tradition" - a query

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Fri, 29 Jul 2005 01:40:48 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (104 lines)

FWIW, my thesis supervisor was convinced
that it is Yeats. She didn't say why. It was just her
intuition.

Cheers,
Peter

Nancy Gish wrote:

>I have to think about this division, and I'm not sure yet whether I
>fully agree or not:  I do not understand how you conflate the many
>complex experiences and attitudes into one.  But as I have argued
>elewhere, I do not think the "compound ghost" is simply literary
>forebears--or even mainly that.  It is very specifically and personally
>defined by the speaker as "knowing myself yet being someone other." 
>That is, it is an alter self:  "So I assumed a double part."  This is
>consistent with images from his earliest work.
>Cheers,
>Nancy
>
>  
>
>>>>[log in to unmask] 07/28/05 11:45 AM >>>
>>>>        
>>>>
>Dear Carrol,
>I was cleaning out my Eliot folder this morning, and noted that your
>April 8 message still had no answerers.  I submit my answer as one who
>knows 4Q fairly well and has taught the Divine Comedy to undergraduates
>twice.  I see Eliot as primarily a purgatorial poet.  He is interested
>in the relation of love and suffering, and while the Paradiso doesn't
>exclude the references to the suffering that led the inhabitants of
>heaven to their state of bliss, the focus is on the bliss, not on the
>suffering.  Dante's scheme is Hell = suffering unmitigated by love;
>Purgatory = suffering supported by love; Paradiso = Love untouched by
>suffering.  At least this is one useful way of looking at the overall
>work.    At the end of Purgatory, as the redeemed souls prepare to leave
>the Earthly Paradise for the Heavenly One, they have to first drink of
>the river Lethe, erasing all memory of sin; then, when they have
>received their final purification, they must drink of another river,
>Eunoe, (Beautiful Knowing) restoring the memory of sin and its
>accompanying and consequent suffering, but now purged of all feelings of
>shame and regret.  Eliot is more directly interested in 4Q in how
>suffering becomes Hell if it is divorced from love, but salvific if it
>is conscious of an end in Love.  He is much more interested in
>enshrining suffering, keeping it even into that state where "all will be
>well" than I believe Dante is.  The fire (suffering) will not be
>extinguished, but it will be one with the rose (love). So, in a word, I
>would say that 4Q gives no more attention to Paradiso than to the other
>two divisions of the Comedy and possibly less than it does to Purgatory.
>
>It is much more difficult to exclude any of Eliot's literary forebears
>from the Compound Ghost than it is to demonstrate that it is more
>strongly one than another.  London in the Blitz can be seen as Purgatory
>or Hell depending on the faith/hope/love of the one experiencing it.
>(Charles Williams in, I believe, "All Hallows' Eve" makes the same
>parallel between blitzed London as providing the same alternatives to
>the afterlife.)
>
>Best wishes,
>--JP
>J. P. Earls
>St. John's University
>Collegeville, MN  56321
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>Behalf Of Carrol Cox
>Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 4:18 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Four Quartets and "Tradition" - a query
>
>I tucked the following paragraph into a post on a quite different topic
>over two years ago. As far as I can remember or discover in any saved
>posts, there was no response. I think the question is more interesting
>than conducting a grilling cross-examination of a poster  on just
>exactly what did she mean in such and such a sentence. Anyhow, I'm
>interested if anyone has any ideas on the topic.
>
>****
>Query: Did Eliot intend (or to what extent did he intend) the reader
>consciously to observe a link between the 4Q and Dante's _Paradiso_? Say
>of the sort between TWL and the Canterbury Tales established by the
>first line of that poem. I would assume that the pervasive use of
>imagery echoing the four elements in 4Q links that poem -- or those
>poems - to the echo of Chaucer in TWL??*****
>
>If there is an intended link, then the tattered arras of East Coker also
>points back to Dante (in my beginning is my end) and through Dante the
>compound ghost incorporates Virgil & through Virgil Homer???????
>
>Carrol
>
>
>  
>


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