Often those things which are most personal and concrete have the most
univbersal effect because the come from a place in the neart, psyche,
whatever, to which most people can relate. The irony is, the more
one explicates that personal side, the more one one loses touch
with the universal. A scaffolding may be needed to build a building,
but not to maintain it.
----- Original Message -----
From: "O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 11:56 AM
Subject: Re: Of "awful daring"
>But the situation is different with the awful daring lines. They
>immediately follow the first speaking of the thunder, and _in_ the poem,
>they are as I suggested earlier an abstract proposition about human
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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