And how does the biography that came after his work was
finished, fit into this?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Of "awful daring"
> I agree with this, Brian. And if Eliot's own claims about the personal
> becoming universal in the act of creation are acknowledged, both are
> present. In his essay on Yeats, he is very clear about the importance
> of the personal, in contrast to the early focus on impersonality. And
> it is no longer possible to deny that autobiographical material is all
> through his poetry. The question, I think, is whether one could read
> the work without knowing that, and one can. But then one gets different
> levels of meaning. It matters, for example, in reading Milton's late
> poems to know that he really was blind. The poignance of Beethoven's
> 9th is profoundly intensified by knowing he was totally deaf when he
> wrote it. Similarly, Eliot's early poems of yearning are intensified by
> knowing that at 26 he was still a virgin and very unhappy over it, as he
> wrote to Aiken.
> The line you quote makes this very valid to read as personal, yet that
> does not deny that we all have those moments.
> >>> "O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]> 06/14/07 3:56 PM >>>
> >But the situation is different with the awful daring lines. They
> >immediately follow the first speaking of the thunder, and _in_ the
> >they are as I suggested earlier an abstract proposition about human
> >experience --
> But doesn't the begining of "the awful daring lines"--
> "My friend, blood shaking my heart"--
> sound very concrete and personal, suggesting that these lines are not
> offering ***only*** an abstract proposition, but also at a particular
> story of "surrender" or intimacy (even if that story is only hinted at)?
> Of course, this wouldn't have to be an autobiographical story. But if
> some readers find the lines more resonant when read in connection with
> Eliot' biography, I don't really see the harm (especially if those
> readers are also open to other interpretations). Reading these lines as
> a fragment of story (whether the story i autobiographical or fictional)
> doesn't preclude also reading them as an "abstract proposition" or
> general statement whihc reader are called upon to affirm or deny.
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