I'm not sure he tried to place any bounds around it.
There were whole schools of thought about the interpenetration
of minds, the breakdown of individual consciousness, &c. &c.
The poem provides excellent raw material for exploration of
questions related to the nature of consciousness. Inevitably
many theories emerge which try to provide a coherent answer to
what is going on in the poem. Really the questions are
much more thought-provoking and inspiring of insight, than
theoretic concepts of the whole. Another Eliot satirised the
key to all mythologies in a certain novel.
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 7:22 AM
Subject: Re: The Context of Marie ( Was Re: a Jeremiah sighting?)
> Well, I once argued that it is monologic, though I didn't see that as
> very positive. But it keeps altering for me, and I keep shifting my
> response--a major reason it remains so interesting. I think that given
> the instability of language you have discussed, it seems difficult or
> perhaps impossible for Eliot to retain a single voice in a text of
> fragments, including actual voices of other people and cuts and changes
> by Pound and Vivienne and dream images from widely different parts of
> his own life. It keeps escaping the bounds he tried to place around it.
> Arguments for and against any resolution, even "of a kind," are endless.
> Dear Nancy,
> I read TWL as monologic; words spoken by the poem's characters are
> recollected by the narrator (whether N is TSE is another question.)
> Where Joyce in the last chapters of Ullyses is truly polyphonic in that
> no actual or implied narrator helps the reader form a coherent
> point-of-view with regard to the speech of the characters, it seems to
> me that TWL does imply that the events and conversational fragments of
> TWL are recollected by a narrator and mix with his present nearly
> hallucinatory perceptions as he surveys the devastated landscape left by
> the war. The narrator's reflections occur in the poem's present.
> Joyce's novel is also more open-ended and unresolved than TWL. The
> epiphanies of TWL's narrator are apophatic, that is to say he proceeds
> through negatives; his memories and present perceptions lead to the
> conclusion that the meaning to be found in the urban environment is
> almost completely unstable and contingent, death-bringing instead of
> life-enhancing. Neither is the Romantic sublime of nature seen as an
> option. TWL however is not without resolution of a kind. Its narrator
> resolves to turn from unsatisfactory human society to search for meaning
> that offers absolute meaning. "Shantih" represents N's realization and
> commitment to the search for it, rather than its achievement.
> 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: The Context of Marie ( Was Re: a Jeremiah sighting?)
> Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 13:43:25 -0400
> Diana, that assumes, first, that Eliot composed all this with a single
> aim--highly questionable--and, second, that characters in the poem all
> speak within the contemporary context--also highly questionable. Much
> of it is remembered or can be read as thoughts in someone's mind. The
> journey to Emmaus, for example, is not happening in 1921, nor is
> Shakleton's expedition nor much else in allusions.
> As Eliot was in Germany when the war began and had to get out in painful
> circumstances, he knew that at first hand. But that was in 1914.
> The poem was, as Aiken said, composed of many parts from many
> periods--some at least as early as 1913. So even if he fit them into a
> mosaic with all the conscious intention you see, they do not fit into a
> single unified intention in their creation. I don't think they ever do,
> but that is a different way of reading.
> Nancy, Eliot knew full well by 1920 that the German empire had
> effectively disintegrated. Marie's words are a kind of voice-over,
> reminiscences of life in the Europe that had remained more or less
> stable since the Napoleanic Wars. Her voice is heard as a soundtrack
> while scenes of devastation are panned over. She might not have been
> referring to the war when she spoke with Eliot (there already were
> straws in the wind) but the poem's Marie, whose prototype readers were
> not expected to know anything about, speaks in 1920 of life as a
> privileged aristocrat in the pre-war German Empire. Diana
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