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TSE  August 2009

TSE August 2009

Subject:

Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

From:

Rachel Loden <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sun, 16 Aug 2009 05:58:17 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (196 lines)

Hi Diana, 

You’re absolutely right that one can’t confine Eliot’s social intolerance to
anti-Semitism, and I would never do that. His sexism was at least as
horrific, as we all know. In agreeing with Nancy’s statement, I was simply
saying that his prejudice against Jews is indeniable. That doesn't in any
way absolve him of hatreds against others.

And, of course, none of this changes the fact that he was a poet of sublime
gifts.

So sorry to hear you're still under the weather after the accident!

Rachel

________________________________________
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Diana Manister
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 7:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

Rachel et al,
 
Anyone who thinks Viv was nothing but a burden to TSE might find this
passage striking, from the Intro to the suppressed essay:
 
"By Eliot’s own description, these lectures were intended as “further
development of the problem which the author first discussed in his essay,
‘Tradition and the Individual Talent.’” A number of critics have also noted
the fact that Eliot had recently separated from his wife Vivien, and without
her steadying hand, these lectures reveal his complete transformation from
aesthete to self-described “moralist.” ?
 
Reading this essay of Eliot's reinforces my sense that Sweeney Agonistes is
a poetic exercise in intolerance. Sweeney is an Irish name, the other names
might be Jewish, but in any case are not WASP names. At one point in the
suppressed essay on personality and demonic possession, Eliot compares D.H.
Lawrence's character of Mellors, the working class lover of Lady Chatterly,
to savages. This brought to mind the cannibals in Sweeney Agonistes and
their "missionary stew." 
 
One cannot confine Eliot's social intolerance to anti-Semitism. He looked
down his privileged nose at Others of all kinds: the poor, the
uneducated, women, basically anyone not PLU (People Like Us).
 
Perhaps Vivienne reigned in his self-satisfied prejudices as the Intro above
states. I find that a fascinating possibility.
 
Diana
 
> Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 06:19:20 -0700
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Hear hear. Yes, there is really no way to just disconnect this from
"Jews." 
> 
> Rachel (not née Rabinovitch)
> 
> ________________________________________
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Of Nancy Gish
> Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:15 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: {Disarmed} Re: {Disarmed} Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
> 
> Then why say "Jews" at all?  Why not "free thinkers"?  There are many free
> thinking Christians, and they do not seem to be a problem in his mind. 
And
> many very non-free thinking Christians--such as rigid fundamentalist
> protestants--would be as out of place in his culture as free-thinking or
> unfree-thinking Jews.  
>  
> There is really no way to just disconnect this from "Jews."  A qualifier
> qualifies; it frames and limits.  That's its function.
> N
> >>> Peter Montgomery 08/13/09 9:48 PM >>>
> It's definitely a prejudice, but it would seem not to have a problem
> with orthodox Judaism. It seems to be aimed at free thinking per se,
> the Judaism is a qualifier, no doubt, but I could believe Eliot didn't
> like any free thinking at that point. He was still in the honeymoon
> period of his embracing of very orthodox Christianity. His rampage
> against Lawrence would be relevant to the discussion.
> 
> P.
> 
> 
> Aug 12, 2009 08:58:07 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Would a prejudice against un-freethinking Jews be anti-semitic?  Or unfree
> thinking Jews?  Or free unthinking Jews?  
>  
> When is prejudice not prejudice?
>  
> When is it only prejudice if it applies to those who think freely?
>  
> So complicated.
> N
> >>> Peter Montgomery 08/12/09 11:38 PM >>>
> 
> I sense a piracy coming on, perhaps from Somalia?
> 
> Is having a prejudice against the amassing of freethinking Jews
> the same as being anti-semitical????
> 
> Cheers,
> Peter
> 
> Aug 12, 2009 09:55:52 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Dear Marcia, I am a VQR subscriber, but I was able to access the articles
> before logging in. Try googling VQR and clicking on the link there. Diana
>  
> T. S. Eliot’s Suppressed Lecture
> In May 1933, T. S. Eliot delivered three lectures at the University of
> Virginia, as part of the Page-Barbour Series. By Eliot’s own description,
> these lectures were intended as “further development of the problem which
> the author first discussed in his essay, ‘Tradition and the Individual
> Talent.’” A number of critics have also noted the fact that Eliot had
> recently separated from his wife Vivien, and without her steadying hand,
> these lectures reveal his complete transformation from aesthete to
> self-described “moralist.” 
>  
> However, the lectures, gathered in Spring 1934 as the slim volume After
> Strange Gods, have gained most of their notorious reputation, because they
> contain some of the strongest evidence of Eliot’s intolerance for
> non-Christian religions and his blatant anti-Semitism. At one point, he
> declared that, “The population should be homogeneous; where two or more
> cultures exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely
> self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is still more important
is
> unity of religious background; and reasons of race and religion combine to
> make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.” 
> The same spring that Eliot delivered those fateful words, the young poet
> Karl Shapiro, who had entered the University the previous September,
decided
> to leave Virginia, citing its implicit anti-Semitism. In his poem,
> “University,” Shapiro charged: “To hurt the Negro and avoid the Jew / Is
the
> curriculum.” Barely a decade later, Shapiro received the Pulitzer Prize
for
> his poems about his World War II service, and Eliot had grown leery of
> having his remarks published in post-Nazi Europe. Eliot withdrew After
> Strange Gods from publication, and it has remained unavailable ever since.

>   
> However, one of the lectures, “Personality and Demonic Possession,”
appeared
> in VQR in January 1934 (and was followed in April 1934 by the poem “Words
> for Music”—later expanded into “Landscapes”). The following essay is
> decidedly the least incendiary of the three Eliot delivered at Virginia;
> however, even here it is clear the degree to which his dogmatic artistic
> beliefs have blurred into social intolerance. We are grateful to the Eliot
> estate for generously allowing us to reprint the piece in our 75th
> anniversary essay anthology, We Write for Our Own Time, edited by
Alexander
> Burnham. That collection remains the only in-print source for any of
Eliot’s
> Page-Barbour lectures. Now Eliot’s original typescript, from which the
> printed version was prepared, appears here for the first time ever. 
>   
> “Personality and Demonic Possession” © Copyright Valerie Eliot, appears by
> permission of Faber and Faber. The typescript appears courtesy of the
> Special Collections at Alderman Library, University of Virginia. 
> 
>  
> ________________________________________
> Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 11:07:55 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Dynamo, Flanagan, and that "third scene" from Sweeney
Agonistes
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Dear Diana,
>     What, please, is the name of the essay?  (The site is for paid
> subscribers only.)
> 
> Best, 
> Marcia
> 
> Diana Manister wrote: 
> Dear Rick,
>  
> No doubt you are familiar with the facsmile of Eliot's suppressed essay on
> personality and demonic possession. On page four he discusses human
violence
> explicitly:
>  
> http://www.vqronline.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/8911
>   
> 
> 
> ________________________________________
> Windows Live™: Keep your life in sync. Check it out.
________________________________________
Get back to school stuff for them and cashback for you. Try Bing now.

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