If Eliot were baptised as an infant, and, as the child of Congregationalists
(as I seem to remmber he was) he probably was baptised, then for most
Christian denominations he probably was already a Christian. He no doubt
was not practicing it in his early adulthood, and his conversion as an adult
would have been to pracicing it, but that does not mean he would
not have been influenced both from within and without by Christianity
before his conversion. If he weren't, the need for roots wouldn't have
been as strong an influence as it was.
I suspect I see here more evidence of the refusal by fans of his earlier
work to forgive him for becoming a Christian. He was betraying the
new religion of secularity expunged of all myth and superstition,
a religion of which Uncle Bertie was an intense practitioner.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Armstrong" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:52 AM
Subject: Re: Rock symbolism in Eliot's Poetry
This is, to put it neutrally, not logical (unfortunately, no surprise
there) and certainly not true. Not to see in his early poems what he is
doing with "the owner of the soul" is ....how to put this
neutrally......well, it is a reading that doesn't even amount to a reading.
It would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that its proponents seem
so unaware of their own procedures and actually have influence over the
uninitiated. They should be, minimally, embarrassed...... if you sent a
Martian to a grocery store and said "Just pull off of the shelves whatever
attracts you and organize it as you like," the Martian, not knowing that
much of what she is gathering is food to be prepared as meals, would
produce something analogous to this "reading" of the TWL: a collection of
items that will never become meals. It's not that it starts wrong and stays
wrong, but that it starts wrong, is very pleased with itself for that, and
does it over and over, brandishing "facts" that do not support it in the
At 05:18 AM 4/8/2009, Nancy Gish wrote:
> >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 4/7/2009 11:02 PM >>>
>Diana Manister wrote:
> > Eliot converted to Anglicanism in 1939, didn't he?
>No, in the late '20s or so. (Someone will surely give the precise date).
> > I can't see that he was drifting towards Christianity when he wrote TWL
> either. It seems to contradict itself with regard to religious beliefs.
> Buddhism and Christianity have different cosmologies, both of which make
> appearances in the poem.
>To read his early poems as Christian takes away the power of his
>conversion, making it rather dull. Emphasize the lack of religious
>belief in the earlier poems and the conversion becomes more impressive.
>In any case, what one person does or doesn't believe does not make
>anything more or less true.
> > Diana
> > > Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 07:44:04 -0400
> > > From: [log in to unmask]
> > > Subject: Re: Rock symbolism in Eliot's Poetry
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > >
> > > At 04:54 AM 4/6/2009, Nancy Gish wrote:
> > > >When Eliot wrote "Prufrock" (it was a name on a sign in St. Louis),
> he was
> > > >not a Christian, nor was he then wishing to be a Jesuit; by his own
> > > >account he considered being a Buddhist. He wrote it in 1911-12, long
> > > >before his conversion.
> > >
> > > On the other hand, Poems 1920 clearly show his attention centered
> > > and Christianity, and the fact that he had not yet formally converted
> > > the Anglican communion does not dispel at all the direction in which
> he was
> > > heading. One comment made aside does not counterindicate anything. And
> > > there certainly are rocks everywhere in his poetry, the lead stone of
> > > Burbank being as telling as any.
> > >
> > >
> > > > >>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> 4/5/2009 9:50 PM >>>
> > > >Thanks, Rick.
> > > >
> > > >2. I also wonder if there is any connection between the "red rock"
> in TWL
> > > >and the "blue rocks" in Ash-Wednesday where the protagonist
> undergoes his
> > > >spiritual ordeal.
> > >
> > >
> > > The red rock is the church. As Guy Brown showed in Burbank, these
> > > -- Princess Volupine extends/
> > > A meagre, blue-nailed, phthisic hand -- play off of both the spiritual
> > > and the sensual, but lead ultimately to the waterstair.
> > >
> > > The impetus and direction of the poetry are not all that difficult to
> > >
> > > Ken A
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