As I said the root can change, as in the word "cleave".
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:32 PM
Subject: Re: Word Choice Re: a Jeremiah sighting?
> "Fixed" in this sense is not about roots. It is about the relation--or
> nonrelation--of the signifier to the signified. There isn't any root
> that is "fixed" in that sense. Is "testimony" "fixed" to the root
> "testes"? It does affect the historic uses of the word.
> >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 07/11/07 12:09 AM >>>
> There is always the middle way.
> In fact a word cannot be totally unfixed or it would be useless
> I venture to say that every word that is viable has both a fixed root
> allied with variable element. The flip is also true. The root can change
> and the variables can become fixed.
> To cleave or not to cleave that is the question.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 10:19 AM
> Subject: Re: Word Choice Re: a Jeremiah sighting?
> > Dear Diana,
> > You're right: they do--notably the "strict constructionists" on the
> > Supreme Court. But by the theory you have been discussing, they are
> > beside the point; it is language, not the author alone, that cannot be
> > fixed. And as you pointed out, Eliot says that in many ways. In that
> > sense, it is not in his gaps that Eliot is a brilliant writer but in
> > effects he does produce by what he writes, however he came to the
> > He need not have individually decided on every word at all; whole
> > and phrases could have come to him without deliberation. He would
> > choose whether to keep them or not, no doubt, but even he might not be
> > conscious of every possible nuance or evocation. In fact, no one
> > give the nature of language as slipping.
> > One really cannot have it both ways--language as fixed and language as
> > unfixed. You've been arguing the former.
> > Cheers,
> > Nancy
> > Nancy, members of this listsrv do not always look kindly on gaps
> > intended and received meaning(s), and anyone who reads the Letters to
> > the Editor in the Sunday Book Review will come across arguments about
> > reviewers' word choices. Writers are generally held responsible for
> > every word to which they attach their names, semantic slippage
> > notwithstanding. One aspect of Eliot's genius it seems to me is his
> > sensitivity to hs words' nuances, connotations and history. To the
> > extent that a writer is not, his wordsmith abilities are less than
> > Eliot's. Diana
> > From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> > Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: Word Choice Re: a Jeremiah sighting?
> > Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 13:02:15 -0400
> > One can distinguish between analyzing what is there--and its
> > assuming that everything was put there intentionally and with a
> > specific, recoverable purpose. These are distinct acts of reading and
> > writing. Given your own point about the gap between signifier and
> > signified, it would not even be possible to simply encode a particular
> > exact meaning or to recover it: the language is always "slipping" to
> > use Eliot's word.
> > So on that assumption, we cannot know what words are random and what
> > words are carefully considered, and even if we could, we still cannot
> > know exactly what the poet intended. New Critics made a great fuss
> > against the "intentional fallacy" and assumed we have, in fact, only
> > text to examine, a "verbal icon." Close reading was a way of
> > that verbal construct for its form and impact, not for whatever
> > conscious intent the author may of may not have had.
> > If words are random--perhaps simply heard as a rhythm first and used
> > Eliot claimed) or evoked by illness or "rhythmical grumbling (as Eliot
> > also claimed), they are still there. It is reading that must
> > and deal with them in any case.
> > Cheers,
> > Nancy
> > >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 07/10/07 1:28 PM >>>
> > --
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