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TSE  August 2009

TSE August 2009

Subject:

Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

From:

"O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 17 Aug 2009 05:30:04 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (144 lines)

________________________________________
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter Montgomery [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 5:50 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

I mean, to what extent it is possibile, to see Judaism in its more traditional forms as as Eliot might have seen them
in his own time. I'm assuming by "free thinking Jews", Eliot is referring to those who have dissociated themselves
from Jewish beliefs of whatever type.

Why he feels the need to make such a distinction puzzles me. The various stone throwers in our group are
assuming I am trying to get Eliot out of his anti-semetic fix. I have no desire to dissociate him from his
anti-Jewishness. I would caution, however, that there are those far better than myself who have made some interesting cases in that direction. Also, as I recall, he did make some very postive remarks about a Jewish poet in the July 1935
issue of The Criterion. And FWIW in 1953 he cited a Jewish poet named Rosenberg as being the best English war poet in WWI. Eliot liked interpenetration and metamorphosis and he saw such mixing in Rosenberg's ability to write Henrew poetry in English.  So I hope our bunch have fun with their little stone-throwing party.

I am simply trying to satisfy my curiosity, and so far nothing of what has been offered is of any use.
Why, if he was against Jews in general, did he feel the necessity to make that particular distinction.
I think it is a legitimate question, but I doubt our bunch are up to it.

I am reminded of a recent frakar that happened in Canada between the United Church of Canada
(Presbyterian-Methodist blend more or less), than which there is no more free thinking main
stream Christian Church in Canada, and a couple of the national Jewish organisations, the main one
of which even was given a voice at the recent UCC convention. Now you should know that however
tolerant of varying opinions amongst its members the UCC is, it takes its social obligations as a
Christian Church VERY seriously, and is more than willing to own up to and apologise for its past
and any current boo-boos. It is most unhappy right now about the situation of the Palastinians,
and so there was a full court press at the convention to ask members to boyucott products and
academics from Israel. Of course it was automatically accused of anti-semtism by one of those
national Jewish organisations. Its compromise was to let individual members decided if they wanted
to boycott. That satistfied one of the national Jewish groups but not the other.

SO what's a freethinking Christian to do?

P.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jerome Walsh<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2009 6:14 AM
Subject: Re: {Disarmed} Re: {Disarmed} Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

Peter, as someone trained in theology, I don't understand what your second sentence means.  "Orthodox Judaism," as I understand the term, is a development that postdates the formative period of Christian thought by quite a stretch.  And "orthodox" Christian theology is hardly a univocal concept.  As we say in my biz, "Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is the other guy's doxy."  Could you clarify what you mean?

Jerry Walsh, biblical lurker

________________________________
From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2009 3:48:12 AM
Subject: Re: {Disarmed} Re: {Disarmed} Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture


Judaism is fundamental to Christianity. Orthodox Judaism provides a backup for

a central part of orthodox Christian theology. If Judaism dissolves into liberality

then it is a threat to Christian theology, so conceivably the prejudice is religious

rather than racial.



P.

On Aug 13, 2009, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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]<mailto:[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]<mailto:[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]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Dynamo, Flanagan, and that "third scene" from Sweeney Agonistes
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[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

<http://windowsliveformobile.com/en-us/photos/default.aspx?&OCID=0809TL-HM>

________________________________
Windows Live™: Keep your life in sync. Check it out.<http://windowslive.com/explore?ocid=PID23384::T:WLMTAGL:ON:WL:en-US:NF_BR_sync:082009>

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