Should the same questions concerning age be put about Gerontion, or even
Tiresesias in TWL?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot's French poems from "March Hare"--And Eliot's "old"
> Nancy Gish wrote:
> > Stetson is an earlier double, not "old" but ancient, both contemporary
> > and from the past, like Tiresias. But such figures run through all of
> > Eliot.
> Eliot's treatment of age (e.g., the lines
> It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
> What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
> Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
> And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us,
> Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
> Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?)
> puzzled me when I was young, & irritate as well as puzzle now that I'm
> First -- Eliot was in his early '50s when he wrote those lines. That is
> old? _That_ young and expecting the "wisdom of age"? (In the 156h/17th
> centuries "old age" began around 40 -- but not in 1940.) And who were
> those "quiet-voiced elders"? Yeats's lines are more realistic:
> And when they know what old books tell
> And that no better can be had
> Know why an old man should be mad. (quoted from memory)
> or (also from memory)
> And being old she put a skin
> On everything she said.
> So where did Eliot (or the implied speaker of 4Q) get his expectations
> (what one had expected) of old age?
> Is he thinking, perhaps, of some of his professors at Harvard?
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