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TSE  March 2008

TSE March 2008

Subject:

Re: "Zietgeist" (Was Inventions of the March Hare )

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Thu, 20 Mar 2008 13:11:39 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

Dear Diana,

My point is that "Sir Patrick Spence" is not in Middle English; it is in
Middle Scots.
Nancy 

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/20/08 12:49 PM >>>


Sorry, I don't know why I wrote "spoken English" in my previous message.
My bad. Diana



 
Nancy, I should have written "more pronounced German elements in
English." That's an unintended pun! Middle English shows its German
origins more than modern English.> Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 11:21:10
-0400> From: [log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: "Zietgeist" (Was
Inventions of the March Hare )> To: [log in to unmask]> > I'm not sure
what you mean by "the elements of German in daily speech,"> but that is
misleading here. The ballad is in Scots, which developed> from
Northumbrian. Modern English developed from Mercian. Both have> elements
of German, and in Scots the sound changes developed later and> less
completely than in modern English. But words like "milk," "house,">
"glass," "wine" remain cognates in English and German. My point is that>
this is not English with some "elements of German": it is Scots with>
some sounds and words that are Germanic--since all Anglo-Saxon was a>
Germanic language. Modern Scots retains, for example, three sounds that>
do not exist in modern English: the sounds of "licht," "loch" and>
"muir."> Nancy> >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/20/08
10:44 AM >>>> > > Carrol,> > Language enacts the history of its time;
it's a time capsule. It> provides more information than was recognized
by the writer. Just as> when a snapshot is taken, neither the subjects
nor the photographer> could know how strange hairstyles and clothing and
the 1938 Ford will> look to those looking at the picture in the future.>
> "THE king sits in Dumferling toune,> Drinking the blude-reid wine:> ‘O
whar will I get guid sailor,> To sail this schip of mine?’> > Up and
spak an eldern knicht,> Sat at the kings richt kne:> ‘Sir Patrick Spence
is the best sailor> That sails upon the se.’"> > Sailing ships, knights,
the king, the smallness of a world in which the> best sailors were
well-known, and many other factors of the culture of> that time, not the
least of which are the elements of German in daily> speech, are
communicated in just first stanzas from "Sir Patrick Spens."> > Another
ballad, having the same deep structure of describing a hero, is> the
following:> > "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,> Greenest state in
the land of the free.> Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree,>
Killed him a b'ar when he was only three.> Davy, Davy Crockett> King of
the Wild Frontier."> > "West Side Story" and Shakespeare's "Romeo and
Juliet" tell the same> story of lovers facing the same obstacles, in
other words they have the> same deep structure. Everything else is
zeitgeist.> > The I Ching is based on the metaphysical belief that
"everything that> occurs in a moment partakes of that moment." Whether
you share that> belief or not, you cannot deny that language
incorporates its historical> period. Or, to put it another way, history
is inseparable from language.> > I regret using the word "zeitgeist;" it
invites ridicule. No one uses it> anymore, but it does say what I mean:>
> American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition:>
Zeitgeist "The general moral, intellectual, and cultural climate of an>
era; Zeitgeist is German for "time-spirit." For example, the Zeitgeist>
of England in the Victorian period included a belief in industrial>
progress, and the Zeitgeist of the 1980s in the United States was a>
belief in the power of money and the many ways in which to spend it."> >
Analyzing a work of art for a manifest point-to-point correspondence>
with events such as the storming of the winter palace, or the general>
strike or lynchings in the south ignores the condensation found in the>
language of art. Even the most linear thinker has dreams in which>
logical connections are replaced by simultaneity in time. > > Julia
Kristeva writes in Language The Unknown that dreapainter who, in a picture of the school of Athens or of Parnassus,>
represents in one group all the philosphers or all the poets. It is
true> that they were never in fact assembled in a single hall or on a
single> mountaintop; but they certainly form a group...."> > Whether
Eliot placed any credence in Freudian theory or not, if Freud> was
correct about the similarity of art language and dream language,>
Eliot's poetry would exhibit Freudian insights (birds are not>
ornithologists.)> > Freud wrote: "Dreams are brief, meagre and laconic
in comparison with> the range and wealth of the dream-thoughts." The
extreme dream-symbols parallels that of literary symbols, which likewise
are> over-determined and represent in a single symbol contents that
"are> often widely divergent in their nature."> > So that lynchings in
the south may be expressed in a multi-valent symbol> or image whose
ostensible referent is not slavery but which is partly> determined by
the existence of lyncings in the south. > > Van Gogh's dreams, like his
paintings, would necessarily include horses,> carriages, gas lamps and
absinthe, while a painter in our time would> dream and paint out of an
experience of orbiting spy satellites, video> games, cell phones and
computers. Both dreams might have the same deep> content, i.e., tell the
same story, but the zeitgeist in both cases> finds ways to have its
say.> > Diana> > > Diana Manister wrote:> > > > At least in TWL the
zeitgeist speaks.> > Carrol wrote:> > 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> sloppiness here.>
> 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> dark> alley?> > And so forth.> >
Carrol>
_________________________________________________________________> How
well do you know your celebrity gossip?>
http://originals.msn.com/thebigdebate?ocid=T002MSN03N0707A



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