From the beginning of critical treatment of his work, he has been both admired and critiqued for all of them. It is not at all the case that at any point he suffered some victimization as a failure or in any way lost popularity because of Christianity. That is simply a distortion of the critical history and is not the point I made. My point was precisely that this sort of simplification is inaccurate.
>>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 05/13/07 4:10 AM >>>
No doubt his popularity waned when he became a Christian. A question is,
did it wane because his poetry lost quality or appeal or whatever the right
word is, or because he became a Christian.
Matthew Arnold et al. (good old al.) did educate us as to the uses
of art as an alternative to religion, and Eliot had his responses to
that as well.
No question as to the negative criticism Eliot and his work received
after he committed the sin of Christianity.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2007 9:43 AM
Subject: autobiography & 4Q
Marcia is quite right and makes the most important point here. In fact,
some drank it willingly; some tried to escape; a very few did. But there
really are, also, people who do not require objects of worship--let alone AN
object--to imagine the most profound values. Really--there are. There are
other sources. It is possible to llove peace and imagination and generosity
of spirit and mutuality without iconic gods, let alone god(s). And as
Marcia reminds us, it is possible to worship with devastating effect.
And, since this is, or was, a list about Eliot, it may be worth recalling
what we all know, that he wrote much of his most important poetry before
being Christian and considered being Buddhist at the time of TWL.
I am rereading a whole series of Eliot critics from very early, and it is
fascinating that so much of what now appears to some to be contemporary
reaction against Eliot or a general failure to read him in what is imagined
to be a true or correct way was always there in critical debate. Very few
readers read him as proposing a religious idea when his first work came out.
Many were distressed at the turn in the late 20s and 30s. They were
>>> Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> 05/12/07 9:42 AM >>>
But they knew it was Jim Jones who made it. And by the time they drank
it, many knew who Jim Jones was.
Diana Manister wrote:
> Dear CR: I think Mallarmé's warning was an important one. If God is
> removed as an object of worship, something will take the place God
> occupied. We are behoven to consider what we adore: it could be the
> self, or, as Jung warned, a charismatic leader that we follow to hell.
> A good dictator knows how to use all the rituals and iconic images of
> religion to inspire irrational faith. Very dangerous. Don't drink the
> Kool-Aid unless you know who made it! Diana
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