One of the important threads of the Eliotonian mystery.
Indeed, it is VERY odd.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2007 4:09 PM
Subject: Re: Water in TWL -- Heraclitus
> > Barnwell Black wrote:
> > As Bertrand Russell wrote in 1946, "The doctrine of
> > perpetual flux, as taught by Heraclitus, is painful, and science can
> > do nothing to refute it." -- but poetry can. :-)
> That's odd. The doctrine of flux can lead (and often has led) to the
> concept of "internal relations" (Spinoza, Hegel, Marx, Whitehead, Ollman
> among others), yet Russell vigorously rejected Whitehead's arguments on
> the issue. Russell held to a version of atomism, and while that can
> allow for ceaseless change it does not lead to flux, for the atoms are
> :-) atomic: i.e., unchanging particles. For example (from a French
> anthropologist): "Humanity does not have a history; humanity IS its
> > Regards,
> > Barnwell
> > In a message dated 7/27/2007 6:21:49 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> > [log in to unmask] writes:
> > Diana,
> > You're right, Eliot places great value upon "death by
> > water".
> > Madame Sosostris has the power to predict it but she cannot
> > decipher its spiritual value -- hence her note of caution.
> > Your second point. The dual aspect of "water" in Eliot's
> > poetry has always fascinated me -- as water of passion(s),
> > or as a purifying/redeeming/transforming agent.
> > In Part I, Isolde is lingering over the seas of passion
> > and the sailor's song sounds a note of caution.
> > In Part V, the seas of passion are "calm", if one's hand is
> > "expert with sail and oar", i.e. if one has control over
> > one's
> > passions.
> > As a purifying agent, it is part of the washing ceremony at
> > Chapel Perilous. As a transmuter, "Those are pearls that
> > were
> > his eyes. Look!" And as a redeemer in Part IV.
> > In TWL, the yearning for water is both literal and
> > figurative --
> > (a) the need to quench one's physical thirst, as well as to
> > dispel the
> > dryness of the land, and (b) the need for emotional and
> > spiritual
> > sustenance.
> > It would be interesting to watch this duality in Eliot's use
> > of
> > the "wind" too -- but for that one will have to look up some
> > other
> > poems too in addition to TWL.
> > I must thank you, Diana, for raising this issue.
> > Regards,
> > CR
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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