It might be worth considering "Portarait of a Lady"'s
"You have the scene arrange itself,as it will seem to do."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dunja Seselja" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'
> 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 be
> undetermined, and in so far, I guess it could be even
> see as the generic one. In any case, the main
> characteristic of the subject (when I say the subject,
> I don't mean the subject of the speaker, but the
> subject the poem speaks of, but in how far they should
> 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 that
> 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 already
> been there. But what this part seems to bring is the
> (only?) action left to the subject - to have a vision
> (in solitude). Now, in the part IV, the subject of the
> speaker finally appears, but almost equivalent to the
> subject (s)he is talking about - it is again a
> passive subject (i am moved... I cling...). The final
> 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 so
> 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 formulation,
> 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 more
> 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, but
> > 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 of
> > 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" in
> > the first stanza,
> > and the same pronoun in the third, are generic ones?
> > [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 readings
> > of TSE? Could you
> > possibly recommend some articles or sources?
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