Jennifer Formichelli wrote:
> Since Pound did not himself eliminate anything from
> TWL, this is quite exaggerated. He acted as editor,
> giving Eliot suggestions and advice; Eliot himself
> decided what to expunge, retain or alter.
Maybe. I'm not an "Eliot scholar," and have only a browsing acquaintance
with the facsimile edition of TWL.
Nevertheless, Pound _seems_ almost to have seen a poem that Eliot had
not really, himself, seen. Your description would apply to the editing
that Pound proposed on pages 45 & 47 of the facsimile, beginning with
"The typist home at teatime." But the wholesale elision of the passages
Nancy quotes reveals a _substance_ that (at least arguably) was simply
not there until Pound discovered it.
E.N. Hooker a half century ago pointed out that Pope's Essay emerged in
part from his experiences with Wycherley, who first asked the young Pope
to correct his verses, then reacted viciously when Pope tried to bring
some order to them. "One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit" seems to me
to describe the original typescript of TWL as well as it describes
Wycherley's verses. It took quite an act of midwifery to discover the
poem hidden in the heap.
> Regarding your other remark,
> > Has any critic ever speculated why Eliot chose "such
> > stuff" for his first
> > effort at producing heroic couplets?
> TWL is not Eliot's first or only attempt at couplets.
> 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' has quite a few
> heroic--or rather, unheroic--couplets.
Writing individual couplets (or two successive lines that rhyme) is one
thing, writing verse paragraphs consisting of heroic couplets is, I
think, qualitatively different. There is one fine couplet in the lines
deleted from TWL:
Not quite an adult, and still less a child,
By fate misbred, by flattering friends beguiled . . .
He just can't keep it up. The first line of this couplet is a bit limp,
but the rhyme (noun/verb) and the balance around the caesura of the
second line is almost of Popean caliber, and the alliteration in that
line is quite powerful.
Obviously, Eliot was able to see at once (as Wycherley was not) the
power of the suggested changes -- but that is what co-authors do with
each other's contributions and suggestions.
> Yours, Jennifer