Given the Bolo poems and assorted other awful poems like "Ballade pour la grosse Lulu," Eliot was amused by crude, dumb adolescent humor. This seems like one example that got through to publication.
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 3/6/2008 3:39 PM >>>
Peter suggests that the laughing in the line is said to be performed by a foetus possibly because of its undeveloped quality. Laughing then would be both foetal and irresponsible. I can see laughing being described as not fully developed, and laughing being described as irresponsible, but I cannot get my mind around laughing that is at the same time both undeveloped and irresponsible.
I think the sentence is irretrievable. A foetus is neither irresponsible nor capable of laughter. Thanks goodness. If they could laugh, obstetricians might start advising expectant moms to go to comedy clubs. Diana
However, Mr. A. "laughs like an irresponsible foetus."
//A laugh is capable of showing undeveloped (foetal) characteristics.//
> > Excellent question. I don't know, but I didn't write the line. How does a worm fly in the night? How are lovers like a metal implement for making accurate circles? How can one take arms against a sea of troubles? How can one have a mind of winter? How is an infant like a fat gold watch?> > None of which changes the fact that "laugh" is not and cannot be the subject in the line, even if it is a dumb line.> > Nancy> > >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/06/08 12:51 PM >>>> > How does a foetus laugh? Diana> > Nancy writes:> > "So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.Nancy"> > I don't know what the point is supposed to be here, but the grammatical subject of the sentence is "He." "Laugh" is not even in it: the word is "laughed"--a verb. The core sentence is "he laughed." The rest is modifiers. There may be a difficulty with "like" because it is, in current terms, an adjective and compares nouns, as in "he was like a foetus." But it has been, and colloquially now is, used as an adverb, as in "he laughed like a foetus laughed."> > There is no way "laugh" can be the subject of a sentence in which it does not even appear and is in a verb form slotted where verbs are. "Foetal" never appears either, only the noun "foetus." > > In modern English these forms are not interchangeable and syntax determines their function. When Eliot intends a noun/verb form for "laugh," he use!> s "laughter," as in the following line and the second line. One does have to read what is there and not what is not there.> > So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.> Nancy> > > > >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/06/08 10:58 AM >>>> > > > But then wouldn't "laugh" be the subject of the sentence, with "foetal" modifying it?> His laugh then would be both foetal and irresponsible. Diana> Exactly. That's the point I've been trying to make.> Thanks for putting it so cogently, Peter.> > CR> > Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:> > > > No. //A laugh is capable of showing undeveloped (foetal) characteristics.//> P.> > ----- Original Message ----- > From: Diana Manister > To: [log in to unmask] > Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:52 AM> Subject: Re: On the Making of a Simile> Peter, so you are saying "a foetal characteristic" is capable of laughing?> > > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.> _________________________________________________________________> Helping your favorite cause is as easy as instant messaging. You IM, we give.> http://im.live.com/Messenger/IM/Home/?source=text_hotmai!> l_join> _________________________________________________________________> Helping your favorite cause is as easy as instant messaging. You IM, we give.> http://im.live.com/Messenger/IM/Home/?source=text_hotmail_join
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