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TSE  August 2009

TSE August 2009

Subject:

Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture--a new and serious study

From:

"Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sat, 22 Aug 2009 21:26:04 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)

Diana Manister wrote:
 >
 > "Actually this alleged “anti-Semitism” was merely an illustration of
 > the principle that a culture—which arises  from a cult—cannot well
 > abide two radically different religions."
 >
 > Rick,
 >
 > Are you saying that Eliot did not intend his "culture" to be dominant,
 > to exercise hegemony over the Jews he mentions?
 >
 > Further, whenever you modify the noun "Jews" with the adjective
 > "undesirable" you are indulging in anti-Semitism. It implies an agent
 > who is in the privileged position of determining the value of Jews.

Diana,

Is it Jews who are undesirable or free-thinkers or free-thinking Jews
or Jewish free-thinkers or the intersection of the set of people who
are Jews and the set of free-thinkers (and does one have to be an
observant Jew or just have a Jewish heritage or be so mixed with the
dominant culture that just a name can set you apart?) I mention the
mathmatical version above because that is what I think Eliot meant but
the natural form of expressing it was "free-thinking Jews" (removing
free-thinking from a qualifing adjective to a way of combining two
nouns.)

At any rate, although my response to Nancy (below) does not address
all your concerns I think it covers maybe half.



Nancy Gish wrote:
 >
 > Three caveats:  First, Kirk ...
 > friendship does not entail certain knowledge.

That is one point.  I gave three and the combination makes Kirk a more
reasonable explainer of this anomoly in ASG.  Kirk was an Eliot
scholar and a fellow conservative and a friend.  That means there was
more likely a discussion about this point in ASG and at any rate at
better understanding of this aspect of TSE than than those whom you
don't mention.  There is also my reading of what Eliot wrote, I'm not
just taking Kirk's word.  I see Eliot talking about homogeniality of
culture and not expressing any hatred.  Other people say this better
than me.  They may not express my feelings exactly but their position,
if thought about, will get closer to explaining my position than I
could.  I'm not a writer.

 > Second, one must define "anti-Semitism." ...

A point I almost made.  We've been there on this list before.  Some
folks have defined it but it leads nowhere in a TSE List discussion
because everyone else uses a different definition, stated or not.  I
spend enough time with posts to not want to bother spending a summer
day writing for no purpose.

 > The point is that it creates a
 > way of seeing Jews as a group one can deride or exclude--in this case a
 > Who gave Virginia to traditional Christians that
 > they or Eliot had some right to determine who fit "their" culture?  As I
 > wrote before, the sentence has to be read in context, and it is clearly
 > a context of "cult" as a source of value and tradition.  So Kirk is
 > right about Eliot's target.  But that, in my view, makes it worse.  One
 > wonders if the Native Americans driven out by colonists or the Blacks
 > not at the university or any Jews in the community shared the view that
 > there was some prior right to define their place in the Wasp university
 > community listening to Eliot.

I agree. This is the bigger point. One of course has the freedom to
express his opinions but if we take Eliot's opinions as correct what
road does this lead us down?  Maybe its fair to have a nation that
does not want people of a certain type moving in but what does that do
to the ones of that type who are already there whether of race,
religion, gender, sexual orientation or position along the political
spectrum.  This, to me, is more important than whether Eliot was a
bigot.

 > Third, the essays were not "virtually suppressed"; they were actually
 > suppressed.  Eliot never republished them.

I'm not going to argue here but I am going to add to the point.
Suppression usually means supression from above.  Eliot had a contract
with U. of V. to publish his lectures.  He did and he apparently was
not happy with them (or the way they were taken.) The later point may
be why he didn't republish them (or maybe D.H. Lawrence's family made
him an offer he couldn't refuse.).

Eliot's prose doesn't conjure up as many "WTF does he mean here"s as
his poetry does but he certainly didn't get his Nobel for writing
clear prose.

Regards,
     Rick Parker

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