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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 15:56:45 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (253 lines)

I thought that, since Eliot's concern was homogeneity, he was afraid that free-thinking Jews, not self-segregated by strict observance of their traditions,  would more easily assimilate with their Christian neighbors, either culturally or by marriage, mixing their blood as well as their religion with that of their hereditarily Christian European neighbors, thus tainting or diluting the previously pure homogeneity. Am I jumping to conclusions?

Peter, I for one, am not throwing stones. People are complex, and it is possible that Eliot sometimes expressed admiration or affection for Jew and Judaism and sometimes expressed anti-Semitism.

Brian
________________________________________
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Colket [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 3:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture

Nancy:

Given that TSE spoke about "the blood kinship of 'the same people living in the same place' ", why is specifically saying it is undesirable to have large numbers of "free-thinking Jews" (i.e., Jews who do not strictly follow the traditions of their faith), rather than just saying it is undesirable to have large numbers of Jews (who would have different traditions from their Christian neighbors)?  Even in the context of the essays, I don't see why it matters to Eliot if the Jews themselves are orthodox or not (i.e., are orthodox or are 'free-thinkers'). From his use of the phrase, it seems, to Eliot, that "free-thinking Jews" are somehow less desirable to have in large numbers than orthodox Jews. Why? Or is that not what he meant?

-- Tom --

________________________________
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 13:51:02 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
To: [log in to unmask]

Dear Tom,

Have you read my post on the fact that it is out of context?  What he meant is complicated but not confusing if you read all of After Strange Gods.  (I have the book, but it has now been posted on line, so you can.) It is not understandable out of that context.  He places it in the context of "reasons of race and religion," and he places it also within a very specific and very narrow concept of "tradition" and of "orthodoxy."

So he may well have been assuming some such definition as that below, if the term were commonly used, but that won't tell you much about its larger meaning in the book.
Nancy

>>> Tom Colket 08/17/09 1:43 PM >>>
I'm trying to understand what Eliot meant by the specific phrase "free-thinking Jew". The meaning is not obvious to me.

I've looked around a bit on the web. I found this one paragraph from a Jewish Museum. Does anyone have more information or ideas about what TSE was trying to evoke by using that phrase?

-- Tom --

==================


The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

Atlanta's Jewish heritage And Holocaust Museum



http://www.thebreman.org/exhibitions/online/1000kids/imperial.html



During this period [1868-1919], many urban Germans ceased to engage in organized religious observances. For the educated classes, religion was replaced by an adherence to Bildungsreligion, or "cultured religion" that celebrated the values of the German Enlightenment: reason, skepticism, classical liberalism (e.g., representative government, free press, universal manhood suffrage), and high culture. Hence, for freethinking Jews, it was up to the individual to decide how often to go to synagogue, when one should fast, and to what extent Jewish dietary laws should be maintained. Many members of the working class became disillusioned with organized religion, believing it to be irrelevant to their everyday lives. Consequently, such individuals found fraternity and a sense of meaning by joining socialist, communist, or non-ideological trade union movements.




________________________________
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 13:15:53 +0000
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
To: [log in to unmask]

Wasn't there a Christian oriented sect called the free-thinkers?

In terms of free-thinking Jews, one wonders of what they were free, in Eliot's mind.

Diana

> Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 05:04:09 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> Peter, Sorry that my analogy seems to have gotten convoluted! I wasn't trying to put myself in Eliot's shoes. My intended point was just that any group--whether ex-Catholic Irish-American English professors, ofr Jews--has a right to feel prejudiced against if they are toldn that their presence is acceptable only if they keep themselves, if they remain sufficnetly orthodox," or if they don;t get too "free-thinking."
>
> Brian
> ________________________________________
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter Montgomery [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 5:24 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
>
> But Eliot was not a former Jew.
> P.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2009 6:08 AM
> Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
>
>
> I had the impression that he was more sanguine about orthodox Jews than
> about "free-thinking" ones only because he viewed the former as
> self-segregating and therefore not likely to "adulterate" the homogeneity of
> the rest of the population. Is that right? If so, I'm note sure it's
> accurate to say that he seems "not to have a problem with orthodox
> Judaism"--or at least, I think he seems to have a problem with orthodox
> Jews. If someone says that they have no problem with ex-Catholic
> Irish-American English professors as long as they don't get too
> "free-thinking" or start mixing with other people, I'll think they have a
> problem with my type.
>
> Brian
> ________________________________________
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter
> Montgomery [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2009 4:49 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Eliot's Suppressed Lecture
>
> I'm not aware that anyone is trying to.
>
> P.
>
>
>
> On Aug 14, 2009, Rachel Loden <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> 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]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>] On Behalf
> Of Nancy Gish
> Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:15 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[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]<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
>
>
>
> ________________________________________
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