>What does TSE suggest when he writes "way?"
The word "way" and the description that follows makes me think of "the way
of the cross".
>Bleistein is not on the cross, he is alive and ambulatory.
What in the text of the poem tells you that Bleistein is alive and
ambulatory? Isn't the phrase "_was_ Bleistein's way" a phrase in past-tense?
>Doesn't this description imply the way Bleistein carries himself,
>in an imitation of Christ's crucifixion, caused by a martyr complex or
The description could be intended to contrast an "authentic" crucifixion
with a "profane" one, contrasting the "real thing" with one that exists only
in Bleistein's self-pitying mind. On the other hand, the word that opens the
line, "But" ("But this or such was Bleistein's way") seems more likely to
contrast Bleistein's way (the way of the cross) with the way that
immediately precedes it, namely the pagan way of Burbank and his God
Hercules who left him.
>"Saggy" is not a term of admiration -- sounds like a reference to
Given the religious themes of this poem, "saggy" as a reference to impotence
seems unlikely to me.
Remember that this is the poem that Eliot wrote about (in a letter to his
brother in 1920) that said, "Some of the new poems, the Sweeney ones,
especially Among the Nightingales and Burbank are intensely serious, and I
think these two are among the best that I have ever done".
For a religious poet like Eliot, "intensely serious" most likely means a
poem about religion. That's why I think Edward Pearce has it all wrong in
that book review when he says that the poem is anti-Semitic, with images of
a Jew "hatefully about to enjoy a Christian woman". I don't see evidence
that Pearce understands the poem at all and therefore the specific things
that he writes about it are of questionable value.
-- Tom --
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