The idea is to add to the list of quotes in order to identify and
the theme as it exists in his work, rather than simply to judge it. What I
identified most with in the quootes is the concept of defering to the fact,
of isolating the moment and drawing a line around it so as to think one
has dealt with with it, when really one has just avoided it. It is a common
psyhcological ploy -- humankind cannot bear very much reality. One
common manifestation of it is to measure some type of behaviour in
terms of a highly focussed test and then to create some thesis around
the measurements and to present that as the ding-an-sich, switching from
the mathematical to the metaphysical levels.
As to Eliot's abilities in philosophy, well he did indeed have some training
As to the quality of the poetry, I think in poetic drama one cannot have
intensity consistently throughout the drama. There has to be ebb and flow,
rush and hush, Sturm und Traum.
There is also Eliot's interest in writing a social realism for/about the
classes, whose lives tend to avoid too much intensity. I have heard him
apostle to the middle classes. It is a life long interest in his career. In
early days he used to point to the lower classes has having a real culture,
a real life. That was why he liked the symbolists, esp Baudylair. He saw
the middle class culture as dead. The powerful folk in the later dramas
are just those dead people. This continuity would speak to Diana's
of a little while ago, which it would be good to see her continue --
a kind of focus that goes from music hall manners to country manor.
Such a context lends itself to the qualities you point to. The object here
to discover something of Eliot's thematic interests (or one of them anyway).
The quality of the execution is a different matter for a different thread.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 7:04 PM
Subject: Re: a few strings attached.
> > Peter Montgomery wrote:
> > The issue
> > would seem to be the reductiveness of the popular mind,
> > whereby human experience is reuced to facts and
> > coalesced into information thereby alienating that
> > experience from personal meaning, but I'm very open
> > to other ways of reading this nascent idea:
> > "You think me reckless, desperate and mad.
> > You argue by results, as this world does,
> > To settle if an act be good or bad,
> > You defer to the fact. For every life and every act
> > Consequence of good and evil can be shown.
> > And as in time results of many deeds are blended
> > So good and evil in the end become confounded."
> > (MITC II)
> The problem is that Eliot never learned to write very good dramatic
> verse. If the verse is good enough, it can reveal force (and interest),
> even profundity, to the banal. Here the banal remains banal. Just what
> is the content, here, of "this world" -- after all, equally profound and
> interesting writers (philosophers, poets, political theorists) have
> argued on both sides of the issue (motive vs results) raised here, and
> what in the play justifies reducing one 'side' to merely the opinion of
> "this world"? I don't deny the dramatist his moral and/or political
> premises, but if all he can do with them is sneer at "this world" (or,
> in your terms, the "popular mind"), that is much of a basis for giving
> much resonance to generalized remarks on good and evil.
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