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TSE  September 2006

TSE September 2006

Subject:

Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 12 Sep 2006 00:18:18 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (270 lines)

Certainly a way of reading the poem very different from my own.
For me the poem is a set of perceptions which resonate with
or effect each other by their proximity, thereby generating
an experience in the reader. Whatever meaning or intent they may
have is that which the reader brings to them as he imagines the 
experiences of the poem. In effect the poem is a kind of spectral stone.

P.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dunja Seselja" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 4:25 AM
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'


Dear Marcin,

Here is finally my reply to your mail...

I like how you put it - that "both passivity and
routine stem from the speaker's existential condition,
which on the epistemic level is expressed, I'd venture
to say, by the sense of his/her dislocation." Could we
maybe again refer here to the Heideggerian concept of
"dislocation", i.e. the point when a Dasein looses its
ground in the world of "man", turning back to itself?

As for my "composition" consisting of the three poems,
they seem to me more interconnected (seen from the
perspective of finiteness etc.) than the rest of the
poems in the volume... But ok, I might be just as well
very wrong in this assumption. It would be even more
interesting, indeed, to show this problem in the
entire volume. (And yes, "structure" is a dreadful
expression when we speak about poetry, but so are many
other, often inescapable, terms :) 

I completely agree with you that "passivity and
routine, in general, are interdependent. They are two
sides of the same coin, or as Heidegger has it, they
comprise the inauthentic response to the finitude (and
the anxiety)...". I also think that the passivity of
the speaker "may be interpreted rather as
contemplative attentiveness, which is an experience
far from in-activity." Don't we here have a dialectic
o passivity-activity, dependence on the world -
independence of it, subject - object etc.?

You said: "I do not think that the speaker in the
third Prelude is quite there... He/she is alone, but
it does not follow that he/she is "back to himSELF /
herSELF." I'd say that here we again have a
dialectical turn: from the world - back to oneself -
back to the world, now seen from the eyes of the self.
Would do you think about that?

But I don't think I could agree with your claim that
"neither the speaker in Preludes, nor J.A.
are-in-the-world (in Heideggerian sense). Neither of
them authentically experiences time (again - in
Heideggeran sense)." Haven't we said that exactly
because they are in-the-world, they experience the
routine etc.? I also don't see why they wouldn't
"authentically" experience time, for isn't their
awareness of their finitude exactly going in that
direction? A sort of "guarantee" for that would be the
moment of loosing-the-ground (in the Heideggerian
sense), which I've mentioned above.

As for the notion of time, I must admit I'm not sure
what exactly I should answer... On the one hand, we
have time as an "independent" instance (both in
Preludes and in the Love Song), i.e. as something over
and above human existence. But on the other hand, the
time receives such a status only through human
finiteness, so that its "independence" becomes
something highly dependent (dialectics again?). 
What would You say about the time here? And how would
you relate it to Heideggerian notion of time and/or
time as chronos? 

Best regards!

Dunja

--- marcin ostrouch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Dunja
> This is in regard to your email of Sept 5th (it took
> me some time go 
> through it, as it seemed to me pleasantly dense,
> quite stimulating; 
> thank you).
> 
> >Thank you for the reply! 
> >I see the question of what is prior - passivity or
> the
> >mundane routine - in the following way. Both states
> >can be rooted in the existential position the
> subject
> >finds him/herself. 
> >
> Yes, there is no gainsaying that both passivity and
> routine stem from 
> the speaker's existentail condition, which on the
> epistmic level is 
> expressed, I'd venture to say, by the sense of
> his/her dislocation.
> 
> >It seems to me that the first three poems from
> >"Prufrock and Other Observations" (so, The Love
> Song, 
> >Portrait of a Lady and Preludes) might be seen in
> the
> >light of one bigger composition, consisting of
> these
> >three poems. [...]I don't know if this structure
> makes any sense...
> >
> I still have to think about it, as I am rather
> cautious about 
> multiplying "structures" (what a dreadful
> expression, don't you think?) 
> , i.e. all the poems in the volume seem to be
> cross-referenced in one 
> way or another...
> 
> >I wouldn't say routine is the source of the
> passivity in Preludes, nor the other
> >way around. The finiteness of human being is what
> >seems to be, from my point o view, the main idea,
> of
> >which both routine and passivity are derivations. 
> >
> I am inclined to think that passivity and routine,
> in general, are 
> interdependent. They are two sides of the same coin,
> or as Heidegger has 
> it, they comprise the inauthentic response to the
> finitude (and the 
> anxiety). Now, having said this, the speaker in
> Preludes seems to be 
> passive in a rather curious vein. I would imagine,
> that it is passivity 
> of someone undergoing the process of existential
> individuation. 
> Therefore his/her 'passivity' may be interpreted
> rather as contemplative 
> attentiveness, which is an experience  far from
> in-activity.
> 
> >In
> >Preludes we have the Subject thrown-in-the-world
> and
> >then thrown-back-to-him(her?)self. I think that
> >Heideggerian figure of "loosing the ground" and
> coming
> >back to oneself fits very well the Prelude III. In
> >Prufrock, and then, even more explicitly, in
> Portrait
> >of a Lady  we can see the Subject's
> "being-to-death"
> >and indecisiveness caused by that. The same
> >indecisiveness comes back in Preludes, this time in
> >the form of passivity, caused both by
> >being-in-the-world and being-in-time. Thus, the
> >meaninglessness you mention seems to be, in this
> >reading, a consequence of these "existentials",
> just
> >like the meaninglessness present in The Love Song.
> >  
> >
> see above + :  I do not think that the speaker in
> the third Prelude is 
> quite there... He/she is alone, but it does not
> follow that he/she is 
> "back to himSELF / herSELF. Same thing with
> Prufrock's Sein-zum-Tode. 
> *Without doubt*, J. Alfred is anxious, but his
> anxiety about the 
> finitude of his own existence does not seem to lead
> him out of his 
> 'small self'. He rather remains an incorrigible
> romantic in his 
> brooding... In other words, neither the speaker in
> Preludes, nor J.A. 
> are-in-the-world (in Heideggerian sense). Neither of
> them authentically 
> experiences time (again - in Heideggeran sense).
> 
> 
> >the anti-Cartesian epistemological position,
> >which you mention, sounds very interesting. I am
> not
> >so sure though about the lack of the clear cut
> between
> >I and non-I. On the one hand, I agree that the
> world
> >is mixed with the speaker's consciousness, so it's
> >hard to divide the two; on the other hand, in the
> >Prelude III the distinction between the two is very
> >clear. So maybe we have a dialectical turn here,
> where
> >the subject is both the one and not the one with
> the
> >world. 
> >
> Mind you the "you" pronoun in the third Prelude. If
> we agree that it is 
> a generic "you", the clearcut distinction sub-obj
> appears as far from 
> obvious. Again the speaker is simultaneously "in"
> and "out". I really 
> like Putnam's quote you mention "mind and the world
> jointly make up the 
> mind and the world".
> 
> >(At this point it would be interesting to consider
> >different forms of realism and compare them with
> the
> >one present in Eliot's poetry. 
> >
> I am looking forward to someone elaborating on this
> issue...
> 
> > the
> >experience of time, I'd say, comes in this as well
> as
> >in the other two poems (especially in Prufrock) as
> the
> >experience of existential finiteness. And that is
> also
> >where something like "faith" can be considered:
> >time=faith as something, to which our existence is
> >subordinated. (That is, by the way, what I had in
> mind
> >when I mentioned "destiny". The final verse of
> >Preludes, in my opinion, places the faith together
> >with chance - something so inescapable, and so
> >uncontrollable, that one can only laugh (maybe in
> >irony) about it).
> >  
> >
> What exactly do you have in mind? "time" as
> "chronos" or rather in a 
> heideggerian vein?
> 
> <all for now>
> 
> Marcin
> 
> >
> >
> >
> >  
> >
> 
> 


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