I believe Jennifer and I were the only listers
(that we're aware of) who were at the meeting. Looking
back over what I just wrote below, I guess mine is a
more casual report.
*As far as I know, a record number of papers and
presentation for the society in one weekend (17, if I
*There were a large number of new members this year,
or people who had never been to the society meeting
before, including speakers from South Korea, Russia,
Spain, and France.
*The society tried out the peer seminar again. I was
on it two years ago when they tried it the first time,
and this go around, they decided to make it a closed
forum. So the only attendees were those on the
seminar. The topic: Eliot and Cultural Conflict. I
spoke to someone on the seminar and he told me that
since paper topics were so vastly different than one
another, the seminar was simply getting one another
acquainted with different Eliot-culture connections.
*The poems of the year were evidently "Ash-Wednesday"
and "Portrait of a Lady." Both turned up in several
*Two papers discussed Eliot's debt to the Victorians
Tennyson & Browning. The Browning one was quite
interesting, I thought, especially in its connection
between "dramatic monologue" (not Browning's term) and
Eliot's early poetry.
*Frances Dickey discussed an obscure Eliot sonnet on a
Manet portrait as well as the parrot references in the
*Roger Craik, first-time presenter at the society, had
us in stitches during his very brief paper on
"Portrait of a Lady" in which he proposed Artur
Rubinstein as "the Pole" and then dismissed his
*Jennifer's paper was of course quite good, on
confession scene contexts in three of Eliot's
epigraphs. There was some spirited q&a afterward.
*Robert Crawford (U of St Andrews) was the keynote
speaker, and gave the finest keynote presentation that
I've heard at the society (over the last 4 years). It
was entitled "More Distant than Stars and Nearer than
the Eye" and discussed "Marina" and Eliot's regrets on
not having children. Beautiful stuff.
*Ian Probstein (read: Prufrock) engaged Bakhtin's
dialogic and use Eliot as a case to disprove B's
notion that poetry is monologic.
*Leon Surette gave an excellent paper, one of the
better in the conference, on Russell's inadvertent
contribution to Eliot's conversion through his essay
"The Free Man's Worship."
*David Huisman (Grand Valley State) gave a special
presentation following Saturday's lunch of several of
the musical settings of Eliot's work.
*Craig Benjamin, composer, and several music students
and faculty from Grand Valley State U performed 3
scenes from Benjamin's "The Waste Land: A Musical
Drama." Benjamin was given a grant many years ago to
write the work for the Australian Arts Commission and
this was the world premiere of these sections. They
were remarkable and quite good. A standing ovation
lasted several minutes afterward.
I'm sure there's much more to mention, which Jennifer
can take up. The rest of my memories are personal, and
probably wouldn't interest the list. Hope to see more
of you there next year!
Oh, and by the way, if it will encourage any of you to
come, there is the possibility that the society will
be meeting in Paris a couple years from now.
--- Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Some on the list are members of the Eliot Society.
> The annual meeting
> starts tomorrow. I hope those who are going will
> provide some sort of
> report, casual or pedantic. Jennifer is exempt,
> since she is presenting
> a paper and will probably be on the edge of
> confessing that she's
> spending her time remembering to breath. Good luck,
> Ms and Dr JLF.
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