The invisible poet rides again.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 5:22 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot and Affective Language
Diana gave us the question:
> Did he not mean by detachment that the poetic's life was not to be
> used as a critical resource for interpreting the poetry?
I have a statement by Eliot that may make things clearer. A.D. Moody
has an end note for his discussion of "Four Quartets":
In 1926, in his Clark Lectures, 'On the Metaphysical Poetry of the
Seventeenth Century' Eliot placed John of the Cross with the
__romantic__ mystics; but in 1952, in 'Scylla and Charybdis' -- a
lecture published only in the French version as delivered ('Charybde
et Scylla ...', __Annales du Centre Universitaire Méditerrenéen__,
Nice, v(1951/2), pp. 71-82) -- he associated him with Dante and said:
'the emotion is so directly the consequence of the idea that the
personality of the author is somehow annihilated: in experiencing his
poems we seem to be in direct relation with what he saw, without any
mediation through the personality of the author himself' (typescript
in Hayward Collection).
A.D. Moody, 'T.S. Eliot: Poet' p. 361
Please read below some snippets from earlier posts.
Diana Manister wrote (Thu, 1 Feb 2007 in the first post with
"Eliot and Affective Language" as the subject):
> I would greatly appreciate any comments from listers regarding Eliot's
> position on affective language. His theory of impersonality and
> detachment did not, in my opinion, preclude his use of affective
> language to express his narrator's emotional states. Did he not mean
> by detachment that the poetic's life was not to be used as a critical
> resource for interpreting the poetry?
CR Mittal responded (Fri, 2 Feb 2007 in part):
> I wish to compliment you, Diana, for making a very perceptive
> statement. Eliot's theory of impersonality and detachment, indeed,
> did not preclude his use of affective language to express his
> narrator's emotional states.
> As for your question, "Did he not mean by detachment that the poet's
> life was not to be used as a critical resource for interpreting the
> poetry?", yes, he did, and he made it clear in his essay on Tradition
> and the Individual Talent:
> Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the
> poet but upon the poetry....The other aspect of this Impersonal theory
> of poetry is the relation of the poem to its author. And I hinted, by
> an analogy, that the mind of the mature poet differs from that of the
> immature one not precisely in any valuation of "personality," not
> being necessarily more interesting, or having "more to say," but
> rather by being a more finely perfected medium in which special, or
> very varied, feelings are at liberty to enter into new combinations.
> The mind of the poet] may partly or exclusively operate upon the
> experience of the man himself; but, the more perfect the artist, the
> more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the
> mind which creates; the more perfectly will the mind digest and
> transmute the passions which are its material.
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