--On Friday, February 23, 2007 4:13 PM -0800 cr mittal
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> //Eliot is anything but anti-semitic in these poems.//
> It would be possible to argue that a few lines of Eliot's early poems
> are anti-Semitic".
CR -- I"ve seen the Brooker essay. It would be possible, but the
ultimate question is not what's possible but what's true. It would be
possible to argue that a poet like Eliot is extremely difficult and that
this is a failure on Eliot's part, but I wouldn't want to spend much time
with that critic, would you? Such a short, uninteresting road. Some talk of
"Eliot's audience" has been raised on the list, and I would just repeat
that Eliot felt that if only a half dozen individuals understood his poetry
he thought it would be a success. Whatever this may mean, it should mean
that the business of interpreting him is going to be at a different level
of intensity than interpreting, say, Robert Frost. The dynamics of an Eliot
poem just aren't as simple.
The further difficulty, as I see it, is that the readings of Eliot as
anti-Semitic fail to ask how a serious poet, serious about his belief in
Christ, would portray it in relation to his culture and history in his
poetry. I don't think that consideration enters the picture in a positive
way, yet that is what is going on. Eliot's poetry, in effect, takes up a
far greater burden that the critics seem capable of granting it.