I did not offer Eliot's view as my own. On the contrary. I only meant that the topic is one linked fundamentally to many claims Eliot made.
I do not, also, think Eliot meant just feeling and thought. But that is a very complicated issue for which I could only suggest reading my essay, which traces many of his readings and uses of language. Nor is "dissociation" simply a plague; it is a term for many forms of disconnection, especially the broad range of those defined as hysteria and/or neurasthenia in the 19th and early 20th century. "Aboulia," for example, is what Eliot called his own problem, and that is one of its forms.
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 11/07/07 11:39 AM >>>
"Since Eliot saw Dante's work as that of a unified sensibility and part of a larger participation in a world connected with god, and he saw a dissociation that was a decline from that almost continuously since and present in the modern world, he identified the possibility of re-association--through literature--as a potential transformation of the self."
"Dissociation" of feelings from thought is the plague of the intelligentia. No one ever thought their way into a unified sensibility. Have you noticed how often the question "How do you feel about that?" is answered with a statement that begins "I think..." Try it.
Empathy comes from experience, not from reading literature. I sometimes think that European news is more global, serious and detailed than our news shows, which are really entertainment and small-talk, because Europeans have not forgotten WW2. Too much suffering may cause emotional shut-down, but a degree of hardship is more sensitizing to the suffering of others than the greatest literature. Everyone automatically identifies with the good guys in stories, no one thinks they share character traits with villians.
> Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2007 09:50:49 -0500> From: [log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: "Nietzsche+Wagner" book (was:Test of Time)> To: [log in to unmask]> > Thank you Robert. I did get a citation but have not had time to go into a database and copy it, as I had classes and conferences all day. I will leave it to this as an excellent one. But as Carrol noted, the statement I made was based on what I assumed to be common knowledge. > > I agree with your quibble--but with a quibble. What constitutes "great" is always in question--with a very few exceptions that have been largely agreed on, like Dante and Shakespeare, and even then the category can be challenged. So in this case I think Nietzsche and Wagner would surely be in any canon even of those who dislike their work or disagree on the label.> > I also have a quibble with Marcia's otherwise thoughtful comments on not trying to use literature to make students better people. I don't think this discussion is off on a wrong track: not only is the question of literature and value always important, it was Eliot who idealized a canon of "the mind of Europe" and thus engaged in claiming for some texts a greater importance than others. And, as my research showed me, he even claimed more. The following is from my article in GENDER, DESIRE, AND SEXUALITY IN T. S. ELIOT:> > "Having claimed that the function of the metaphysical poet (that is, in the general sense that comprises the poets of his three 'moments') is to 'transform thought into feeling and feeling into thought,' he offers an astonishingly sweeping claim: 'What I am insisting on is the role of the artist in the development and maintenance of the mind.' " > > > Since Eliot saw Dante's work as that of a unified sensibility and part of a larger participation in a world connected with god, and he saw a dissociation that was a decline from that almost continuously since and present in the modern world, he identified the possibility of re-association--through literature--as a potential transformation of the self.> > Nancy> > >>> robert meyer <[log in to unmask]> 11/07/07 4:51 AM >>>> A few years ago I was in a discussion with somebody named Tom on the> TSE-List (or maybe some poetry site like Eratosphere, but I think here)> about the connection between Nazism and Nietzsche and I quoted from Joachim> Kohler's book "Nietzsche & Wagner: A Lesson In Subjugation" (trans. by> Ronald Taylor). I think the book has some relevance here, it may be> limited but still there is some. The strained relation the two had in> their latter years was intentified by the Wagner's wife Cosima (1837-1930)> and Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth (1846-1935) with their two competing> camps; except during the years that Hitler, who gave both men some kind of> prophet status, was in power. In both cases, I would have to largely agree> with Nancy's statement (with a small quibble in both). Wagner's work was> based on "great literature" (the poetry of Wolfram von Eschenbach,> Gottfried von Strassburg, etc) but I doubt it was "deeply" read, probably> most Nazis just went to the operas with a 'Yay Germany' attitude, like a> Rambo movie. On the other hand, they pretty well knew and believed in the> basic premises of Nietzsche's philosophy, but Nietzsche's work falls far> short of any claim to be "great literature" in my opinion.> > Kohler's book says, "In 1931, three decades after Nietzsche's death, Hitler> paid a visit to the Weimar villa. Standing in reverence before the marble> bust [of N.], he mused on The Will To Power. The now aged Elisabeth> ...presented Hitler with ...her brother's sword, which looked like a> harmless walking-stick. As late as 1943 ...Hitler still saw a connection> between the destruction of the Jews andthe challenge of Nietzsche's> Superman to live a more intense life, a life of heightened awareness. > 'This is why,' said Hitler ...as Goebbels recorded in his diaries,> 'Nietzsche is inevitably far closer to the way we see the world than is> Schopenhauer, for the task of philosophy is to simplify and to intensify> life, not to cover it with a veil of pessimism.'" (p.13). Later in the> book it talks a symbolic resurrection of Nietzsche with "a resurrection not> of the body but of his ideas, his words and his works, finally celebrated> in the moment when Hitler declared the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar to be a> center for 'the dessemination of the ideology of National Socialism'." (p.> 159). > > The book was published by Yale University Press, so is that documented> enough for an assertion? Or is it still "not much of a performance,> actually."?> > Robert Meyer> > > [Original Message]> > From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>> > To: <[log in to unmask]>> > Date: 11/6/2007 12:33:03 PM> > Subject: Re: Test of Time> >> > I confess to not having a citation but to having read it frequently. One> could point to many others, I'm sure. But I will make an effort if it> seems essential.> > N> >> > >>> <[log in to unmask]> 11/6/2007 3:19 PM >>>> > Nancy Gish wrote:> > > > It has often been pointed out that members of Hitler's SAS were deeply> read > > in great literature.> >> > Citation?> >
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