It's the conclusion from the para quoted by TSE:
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
Cf. Dante, Inferno, xxxiii. 46:
......ed io sentii chiavar l'uscio di sotto all'orribile torre.
......and in horror I heard below the door of the tower being locked.
Cf. F H Bradley, Appearance and Reality, p406:
My external sensations are no less private to myself than are my
thoughts or my feelings. In either case my experience falls within my
own circle, a circle closed on the outside; and, with all its elements
alike, every sphere is opaque to the others which surround it. . . . In
brief, regarded as an existence which appears in a soul, the whole world
for each is peculiar and private to that soul.
This extract seems to confirm Bradley as an epistemic solipsist but
actually Bradley is attacking the epistemic privilege of interiority
which he begins by saying:
But there is a natural mistake which, perhaps, I should briefly notice.
Our inner worlds, I may be told, are divided from each other, but the
outer world of experience is common to all; and it is by standing on
that basis that we are able to communicate. Such a statement would be
In the next para he shows that identity entails and requires difference
and vice versa and then says:
That things to be the same must always be different, and to be different
must be, therefore, the same - this is not a paradox, until it is
paradoxically stated. It does not seem absurd, unless, wrongly, it is
taken to imply that difference and sameness themselves are actually not
Dayadhvam: only when we have recognised / ackowledged our epistemic
isolation can we sympathise: when we realise that we are all "ones" and
not, as for the solipsist, a one contra the many, as was Coriolanus who
could never therefore breach the ontological gap between the One and the
Many and is trapped therefore, like Ugolino in hell, forever in the
If we think there is something called consciousness, there is. But in
reality it's only a word conjured up by philosophers and, as William
James demonstrated, there is no such thing, except that: thinking of the
key, each confirms a prison.
The Dante allusion is to the bodily side but in its demonic parody form
i.e. betrayal; the Bradley allusion is to the intellectual side which as
quoted seems to confirm the demonic parody of a solipsistic hell but
actually if we follow up the reference shows that the "prison" of
epistemic isolation is the basis of communication just as the biological
"cell" works by isolation.
So TWL is a poem that TSE wrote having read the Commedia via his
(intellectual) knowledge and (bodily) experience which are outside of
the poem like their symbolic notes.
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Dunja Seselja
Sent: 30 April 2006 21:32
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' was Re: OT: USk
I like your post, Jonathan! Where is that quote from?
--- Jonathan Crowther <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This has to be right but I think through the
> dialectical circuits of (1)
> intellectual criticism and (2) the feeling body:
> "...if on the other hand, you are considering
> identity of content, and,
> on that basis, are transcending such particular
> existences, then there
> is at once, in principle no difference between inner
> and outer. No
> experience can lie open to inspection from the
> outside; no direct
> guarantee of identity is possible. But our
> knowledge of sameness, and
> our ways of communication, are indirect and
> inferential. They must make
> the circuit, and must use the symbol, of bodily
> change. If a common
> ruler of souls could give to any one a message from
> the inside, such a
> message could never be handed on but by alteration
> of bodies. The real
> identity of ideal content, by which all souls live
> and move, cannot work
> in common save by the path of external appearance."
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around