Marcian, one correction (or the point of
It is clear that Heideggerian approach is entirely
anti-Cartesian, since the world is set prior to the
subject - so if this is what you meant, then I
completely agree with that. What I'm not sure is that
such a Heideggerian epistemological position can be
found in Preludes, as the question of the
epistemological status of the subject doesn't clearly
appear in it... Unless we take the part III as
containing it, but such a reading would require some
--- Dunja Seselja <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear Marcin,
> I've been thinking of the questions you rose at the
> List and here are some ideas (and further questions)
> I've come up to.
> The subject appearing in Eliot's Preludes seems to
> undetermined, and in so far, I guess it could be
> see as the generic one. In any case, the main
> characteristic of the subject (when I say the
> I don't mean the subject of the speaker, but the
> subject the poem speaks of, but in how far they
> be distinguished at all, I'll say something a bit
> later) is his/her passivity. While in the part I the
> subject is set against the world (being subjected to
> its course), in the part II (s)he is set against the
> time (being "condemned" to it) . (I think the second
> verse of the part II shares some of the ideas
> appearing in Prufrock, and I'd be glad to discuss
> issue as well).
> In the part III, we finally see the subject *doing*
> something, but even that ("you tossed a blanket") is
> the action of removing = replying to what has
> been there. But what this part seems to bring is the
> (only?) action left to the subject - to have a
> (in solitude). Now, in the part IV, the subject of
> speaker finally appears, but almost equivalent to
> subject (s)he is talking about - it is again a
> passive subject (i am moved... I cling...). The
> verse reveals a sort of "catharsic" discovery of the
> subject (both the speaker and the one (s)he is
> speaking of), similar to the relation of the ancient
> Greeks towards the destiny: as the destiny is
> uncontrollable even by gods themselves, why making
> much fuss about it?
> It seems to me that the status of the subject in the
> poem could be compared with Heidegger's notion of
> "being thrown into the world" (excuse my
> I'm not sure how this expression is to be translated
> in English), as well as with the "eigentlich" and
> "uneigentlich" modes of "Dasein".
> However, I don't see why the poem would stand in the
> opposition to the classical subject-object relation,
> and how would that be related to the "ontological
> shock" you mentioned. If by "ontological shock" you
> consider the realization of the finiteness of human
> being, then this idea is definitely present in both
> Preludes and the Love Song of A.J. Prufrock, but I
> don't see how that could be connected with an
> anti-Cartesian approach. Could you develop a bit
> on that?
> --- marcin ostrouch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > I would like to raise the issue of identity of the
> > speaker in /Preludes.
> > /
> > Please forgive me if you find it an open secret,
> > being a non-native
> > speaker of English, and rather a novice at
> > systematic criticism, I find
> > the question problematic.
> > At present I am attempting a reading of a couple
> > poems by TSE in the
> > light of Heideggerian concept of authentic
> > existence. Therefore, I tend
> > to shun the structuralist approach which pervades
> > the grey volumes of my
> > institute's library...
> > It does seem that throughout the poem the identity
> > of the speaker
> > remains indeterminate.
> > Would you agree that the inflected pronoun "you"
> > the first stanza,
> > and the same pronoun in the third, are generic
> > [as I am not quite
> > informed in the use of those]
> > What is more, the generic character of the speaker
> > seems to be
> > deliberately strengthened by references to both
> > sexes.
> > The governing consciousness, or if you like, the
> > voice speaking in the
> > poem, (if there is ONE), seems to comply with the
> > notion of Hindu /tat
> > vam asi /("Thou art That"), or at any rate, as D.
> > Moody observes
> > "[speaker's] ordinary, egoistical self is
> > suspended".
> > Therefore the epistemic situation of the speaker
> > seems to differ from
> > the traditonal Cartisian (subject-object) model.
> > The poem read in this way would come up to one of
> > the modernist
> > expressions of the epistemic trauma, or of what
> > Tillich calls
> > "ontological shock".
> > Could you please comment on those intuitions of
> > mine?
> > Is any one of you interested in hermeneutic
> > of TSE? Could you
> > possibly recommend some articles or sources?
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