He denied it (as in note 2) at a Harvard lecture quoted in the facsimile edition on p.1--it was quoted from a Harvard lecture and recorded by Eliot's brother: "Various critics have done me the honour to interpret the poem in terms of criticism of the contemporary world, have considered it, indeed, as and important bit of social criticism. To me it was only the relief of a persolan and wholly insignificant grouse against life; it was just a piece of rhythmical grumbling."
>>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 03/19/08 5:12 PM >>>
Diana Manister wrote:
> At least in TWL the zeitgeist
1. I would challenge the existence of any such entity as the
"Zeitgeist." Any age I know of exhibits too large a variety of fractured
spirits to speak of _A_ spirit of the age. Put otherwise, I don't even
know what "spirit of the age" could conceivably mean. It seems utterly
empty of content.
2. Eliot did explicitly deny that TWL expressed some spirit of
disillusinment of the age or something like that. Nancy or Marcia could
probably be more explicit on this, citing the text and correcting my
3. What does The Zeitgeist say? Storming of the Winter Palace? The
General Strike? Lynchings in the South? (TWL follows by only a couple
decades Twain's masterpieces, "The United States of Lyncherdom" and "To
The Person Sitting in Darkness." The resignation, protesting Wilson's
War Policy, of William Jennings Bryan: that is his true heritage, not
the stupid trial? My great uncle, who organized sheepherders in Montana
for the IWW. Beginning of the (hopeless?) struggle to end English 1 (its
inventor called it the greatest mistake of his life)? The murder of Rosa
Luxemberg? The Easter Rebellion? The failure to hang the various war
criminals (all responsible politicians of Germany, France, England, &
U.S.) Imprisonment of Gene Debs? Freeing of Gene Debs by the only honest
u.s. president in the 205h c. -- Warren G. Harding?
4. When did this Zeitgeist leap into existence, and when did it sink
into the grave? Would we recognize it were we to meet it walking down a
And so forth.