>Tom>Is this the one time in his published poetry when he
>Tom>couldn't control himself and blurted out, un-artfully, a blatant
>What about the Jewish landlord in "Gerontion"?
>"And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
>Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
>Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London."
Again, maybe. There's more than one interpretation of those Gerontion lines.
At the risk of sounding like a starry-eyed teenaged William Arrowsmith fan,
let me quote a paragraph from another of his Eliot essays, this one
published posthumously, namely:
by William Arrowsmith
Volume 2.2 (2000), pages 153-170.
The paragraph below appears on pages 155-156. Arrowsmith is discussing
critics, such as F.W. Bateson, who have claimed that Eliot's "apparent"
scholarly learning is, in fact, only "skin-deep". Arrowsmith is _not_ amused
and proceeds to expose the flaws in the critics' arguments:
"Like others, Bateson would prefer to solve matters by reducing Eliot's
learning to slapdash and sciolism. Thus, he regards the word _juvescence_ in
Eliot's lines "In the juvescence of the year / Came Christ the tiger"
["Gerontion" ii. 19-20] as a "slip," albeit a happy one, since the proper
form is _juvenescence_. Technically, Bateson is right; but nobody familiar
with Eliot's fierce exactitude in matters of diction and his effort to make
every word realize the maximum meaning, will find the objection convincing.
On the contrary, _juvescence_ is an obvious and deliberate conflation, a
punning neologism akin to such symboliste coinages as _bibliopole_,
_stagnance_, _navrance_, etc. Its purpose is surely to galvanize the crucial
syllable _ju_ (Jew) of "juvescence of the year" - that cruellest of months,
the season that transforms the Jew into "Christ the tiger." In short, the
same Jew who, as Christ-to-be, squats like a slum landlord at the threshold
of his ruined "house," the liminal, looming presence waiting to _repossess_
and evict his unworthy tenants."
Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE!