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TSE  March 2010

TSE March 2010

Subject:

Re: Eliot's Readership & the Poems

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 10:54:47 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (137 lines)

Diana Manister wrote:
> 
> Carrol,
> 
> Interpreting a poetic image without reference to texts known to its
> author is limited.

Diana, you are right on the  edge of going into my kill file for being a
person who either can't read or won't read what is in front of them. It
is real stupidiy or deliberate misreading to suggest that I'm "against"
recognizing the texts the authr has read. But he read several thousand
texts, and to begin with one cannot take for granted any particular one
of them. One _starts_, get it, STARTS, with as small and limited context
as possible, THEN, one expands that context _as necessary).

This sort of deliberate misreading is pissing in the gravy bowl. And I'm
not going to join in a banquet (of discourse) in which someone is
pissing in the gravy bowl.

Carrol

 It's a start, but why ignore some likely influences
> on the lines which may serve as a call to which Eliot responds?
> 
> Diana
> 
> Diana
> 
> > "Rickard A. Parker" wrote:
> > >
> > > Sorry, I only have time to repost a section of what I wrote a few
> > > days ago. I'm not sure if you missed it or are asking others for
> > > their input as well.
> > >
> > > ... Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
> > > Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
> > > White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
> >
> > Something that I noted while struggling with my Word copyu of the
> poem
> > yesterday -- the literal level is important here. And I can only
> > remember that literal level abstractly, not directly experience it.
> The
> > quoted passage begins in the middle of a line, and then runs far
> beyond
> > the right end of the lines below it. I don't know whether Eliot
> composed
> > on a typewriter, but the final copy would be typed and final
> revisions
> > would be made on a typed copy, so this difference in line length is
> part
> > of the poem. And it ties the poem to its existence in print, though
> how
> > important that literal level is I do not know. Should any paraphase
> of
> > the historical level take that literal level into consideration?
> Once
> > one takes the literal level seriously, a difficulty arises as to
> where
> > to draw the line between responsible and profligate interpretation.
> > "White feathers in the snow" is set off by commas immediately after
> > "windy straits," so I presume it refers only to running the straits,
> not
> > to the Gull against the wind." Or if it does refer to the latter,
> that
> > is by an interpretive act of the reader, applying it to the two
> > preceding lines and not merely to the immediately preceding phrase.
> (I
> > can't remember now the first name of the author or the exact title,
> but
> > Kettle's book on the typewriter is obviusly of great importance to
> > understanding literature of the last two centuries. It casts
> > retrospective light on the half-century or so prior to its
> introduction.
> > When Eliot produced his early poems the typewriter would still have
> been
> > an innovation -- as computers were until the latee '90s.)
> >
> > If we are to see those white feathers as scattered about and not
> merely
> > the glul's feathers shwoing through the falling snow, then Rick's
> > importation of death into the passage gains some traction. But also,
> I
> > had never noted until wrestling last night with the decision of how
> much
> > to quote that "the gulf claims" (with a comma at the end) is a real
> > crux. The gulf claims WHAT? We have an active verb (which is also a
> > personification of the gulf) with no direct object nor anyof the
> usual
> > signals of a deliberately elided direct object. Is this discussed in
> the
> > critical literature on the poem? The three lines quoted make up a
> whole
> > syntactical unit in the poem, so the object of "claims" is not to be
> > found inadjacent text. If Rick is correct, then there is an implied
> > construction something like "the gulf claims [itsown]," that is, the
> > gulf as death claims its own. Were this an Elizabehan poem
> (considering
> > the sloppy printing habits of the time) textual critics could argue
> over
> > whether "gulf" sould be "gull," and at least some would invent
> pretty
> > clever defenses of reading "gull" rather than gulf.
> >
> >
> > > Whether you fight against your life
> > > or go with its flow
> > > your body fails; death is its home.
> > > [Belle Isle is located in the northern-most of
> > > the straits where the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
> > > empties into the Atlantic.]
> >
> > The gull hangs there, above the rush of the confined waters of the
> gulf
> > rush into the Atlantic. The emptying of rivers, gulfs, etc into the
> > largger ocean is a figure traditionally (though not always)
> associated
> > with death (the lapse into eternity). Still, I'm not wholly
> convinced
> > that Rick is correct.It's a given that life is completed by death,
> but
> > not every image or action in a poem directly (or even inndirectly)
> calls
> > up that fact. Have I carried commentary as far as it can go without
> > broadening the context, or is there more of interest to say on just
> this
> > sentence?
> >
> > Carrol
> >
> >
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > Rick Parker
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service. Get it now.

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