I believe the lines are::
"Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present."
Which has an entirely different meaning from the version being discussed.
Who but a sumo wrestler perhaps, can bear too much of anything?
There is also the context that for spiritual beings all time IS eternally
for physical beings time gets doled out moment by moment, and those beings
can only hold on to limited quantities of it at a time. Of course there may
the heroic few who can remember everything all the time, but what desiccated
bores they must be.
Humankind CAN bore too much reality.
----- Original Message -----
From: Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2010 1:07 PM
Subject: Re: Prufrock question
I think you're probably right, but I also think Eliot especially found too
much reality more than he could bear. His generalization assumes that his
own conception of "reality" is Truth. I think a great deal can be borne if
one sees it as a more complicated mixture of sensual and emotional joy and
beauty as well, clearly, as horror. And I don't, obviously, mean his
concept of a joy beyond sensual joy as the only possibility. Ironically,
his early poetry, full of yearning and desire for just that, seems never to
have been something of a world he discovered until perhaps in his last few
>>> David Boyd 01/31/10 3:32 PM >>>
'('We') humankind cannot bear much reality' maybe illuminates the personae
involved here ??.
On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 1:36 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I've been out of town, so there are no doubt many responses to this
already. But Eliot himself gave different answers to the question. I've
written about it several times, but the most recent, and the one I stand by
because of all the research behind it, is the discussion in my article in T.
S. Eliot and Gender, Desire, and Sexuality (Cambridge, 2004).
It has been read in many, many ways, but I think it is two personae or
selves of the poet; in a 1962 interview Eliot says pretty much that.
>>> Tom Colket 01/24/10 11:53 AM >>>
In Eliot's "Prufrock" there are numerous places where the narrator
addresses or refers to another person, a "you" or a "we". My question
is: Is the narrator referring to one specific person (i.e., the same
person) in all these lines, or is more than one single individual
Here are the six references (among all Prufrock lines with "you/your"
or "we/us/our") that I'm particularly interested in:
1) "Let us go then, you and I . . . Let us go and make our visit."
2) "And indeed there will be time . . . Time for you and time for me"
3) "And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! . . .
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me."
4) "And would it have been worth it, after all, . . . Among the
porcelain, among some talk of you and me,"
5) "Would it have been worth while,. . . To say, 'I am Lazarus, come
from the dead,/Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all' "
6) "We have lingered in the chambers of the sea/By sea-girls wreathed
with seaweed red and brown/Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
-- Tom --
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