Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Eliot created a world. It is for us to recreate it.
The first part of this is, I think, a tautology. Any old ensemble of
words by anyone, however competent or incompetent, "creates a world."
And the second part should, perhaps, be seen as what happens
willy-nilly. BUT that recreation is apt, on the whole, be more
satisfying, and certainly more sharable, if the person ('common' reader,
critic, scholar, historian, what-have-you) makes a more or less
persuasive case that the world she/he 'creates' is at least homologous
to if not identical with the world created in the text. In one famous
(or infamous) passage Milton in effect splits the reader from the text,
which becomes merely an occasion for reproducing what the reader already
However many books
Wise men have said are wearisom; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek)
Uncertain and unsettl'd still remains,
Deep verst in books and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys,
And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge;
As Children gathering pibles on the shore.
(PR 4. 322-31)
To reject this radical antinomianism one has to insist that the
interpreter/reader is to some extent a passive recipient of what the
writer has created for him/her.