Would there be a contemporary, or near contemporary royal situation
to which it might apply? After all, the speaker is placed in a
contemporary, if not
particularly royal context. It is a context consistent with other
deleterious Thames scenes in the poem. Why the secretiveness? Why is he
Rickard A. Parker wrote:
>Debra San wrote:
>>I have a question about lines 191-2 of The Waste Land. I know that
>>the part about the king my father's death is adapted from what
>>Ferdinand says in The Tempest, but I don't know what to make of 'the
>>king my brother's wreck'. Any thoughts?
>This part of TWL is a stumper for me also, Debra. I have a gut
>feeling that it has something to do with Jean Verdenal but I've never
>really come up with (or read about) a connection that appeals to me.
>None-the-less, I'll pass on a few things about it.
>As you noted, one allusion here is to The Tempest's "Weeping again the
>king my father's wreck" but this section of the poem can also be seen
>as having a comparison to the Grail legend. I'll append a page from
>my website below to explain the similarities.
>Cleanth Brooks has written that the father and brother fit Wolfram von
>Eschenbach's "Parzial": 'Trevrezent, the hermit, is the brother of the
>Fisher King, Anfortas. He tells Parzival. "His name all men know as
>Anfortas, and I weep for him evermore." Their father, Frimutel, is of
>course dead."' If Eliot is using this then it appears that he has
>merged the two brothers into one.
>For a biographical angle: in the summer of 1921, when Part III to TWL
>was being composed, TSE, Vivian and TSE's brother, Henry, shared Lucy
>Thayer's flat for a number of weeks (about six) while she was away and
>TSE's mother and sister stayed in the Eliots' flat. Vivian wrote about
>Thayer's flat that they were "encamped in attic with a glass roof."
>So, at this time, Henry the father was dead and TSE was with his
>brother Henry in a humble (little, low) garret. Valerie Eliot in
>"Letters of TSE" has noted that Henry, like his father, hard of
>hearing, was the inspiration for Eliot's "infinitely suffering thing"
> Rick Parker
>Exploring The Waste Land
>A commentary page linked from The Waste Land, Part III, line 189
> Part III
> Lines 189-190
>For gashouse think Grail Castle as Cleanth Brooks did when he compared
> 189) While I was fishing in the dull canal
> 190) On a winter evening round behind the gashouse
>with these elements of the Grail myth: the Fisher King, the Grail
>Castle and the river passing by:
> The castle of the Fisher King was always located on the banks of a
> river or on the sea shore. The title 'Fisher King', Miss Weston
> shows, originates from the use of the fish as a fertility or life
> symbol. This meaning, however, was often forgotten, and so the
> title in many of the later Grail romanaces is accounted for by
> describing the king as fishing. Eliot uses the reference to fishing
> for reverse effect. The reference to fishing is part of a realistic
> detail of the scene--'while I was fishing in the dull canal'. But
> to the reader who knows the Weston references, the reference is to
> that of the Fisher King of the Grail legends. The protagonist is
> the maimed and impotent king of the legends.
>Brooks mentions Jesse Weston's ideas on the Grail castle and the
>Fisher King. Below are some excerpts from her From Ritual to Romance.
>On the Grail castle:
> We may also note the fact that the Grail castle is always situated
> in the close vicinity of water, either on or near the sea, or on
> the banks of an important river. In two cases the final home of the
> Grail is in a monastery situated upon an island. The presence of
> water, either sea, or river, is an important feature in the Adonis
> cult, the effigy of the dead god being, not buried in the earth,
> but thrown into the water.
>On the Fisher King:
> Robert de Borron is the only writer who gives a clear, and
> tolerably reasonable, account of why the guardian of the Grail
> bears the title of Fisher King; in other cases, such as the poems
> of Chrétien and Wolfram, the name is connected with his partiality
> for fishing, an obviously post hoc addition.
> The story in question is found in Borron's Joseph of Arimathea.
> Here we are told how, during the wanderings of that holy man and
> his companions in the wilderness, certain of the company fell into
> sin. By the command of God, Brons, Joseph's brother-in-law, caught
> a Fish, which, with the Grail, provided a mystic meal of which the
> unworthy cannot partake; thus the sinners were separated from the
> righteous. Henceforward Brons was known as 'The Rich Fisher.' It is
> noteworthy, however, that in the Perceval romance, ascribed to
> Borron, the title is as a rule, Roi Pescheur, not Riche Pescheur.
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.323 / Virus Database: 267.8.13/47 - Release Date: 7/12/2005