Nancy Gish wrote:
> I appreciate the serious response. I cannot address it now because I
> have class.
No problem. I'll look forward to it when you have time.
> But it is now clear how we fundamentally disagree about the very
> nature of literature.
Yes, I'm thinking that is a distinct possibility.
> I did not--at the time--find any of Brown's claims convincing, for
> example, but as I did not keep them, I cannot argue that.
Agreed. But there was much more there than claims, and our different
responses to the Brown reading goes back again to item one above.
> But there are many appropriate ways to approach any literature, not
> one. That is our basic disagreement.
I subscribe to Thompson's oft repeated statement that there are many
mansions in the house of criticism, and all have a legitimate function
in relation to understanding literature. I remember his taking exception
to Yeat's little poetic diatribe against critics -- "All wear the carpet
with their shoes" -- by pointing out the great service that so many
biographers and editors did Yeats. The problem comes when the occupant
of one mansion tries to step into the role of the occupant of another
without changing the basis of his role, i.e. when the biographer
occupies the interpreter's room without understanding the the rules of
<Moreover, the extensive study, research, careful reading and extensive
knowledge of many critics who do not take that approach suggests a very
questionable view of the significance and value of the education you
I'd be willing to entertain this if I thought you understood what I'm
affirming. To be plain, I'm fairly sure you do not. And I think you can
stop saying you do not find my statements significant or correct, very
much as I do not find yours. I think everyone on the list understands
that we dispute each other's position. Repeating it does not make it a
< Moreover, if there were only one way to approach Eliot, I feel quite
sure it is not the one you affirm.>
Yes, we've pretty well covered that ground.
< But since I have read Eliot criticism for decades, I appreciate that
you are not alone in taking it and that it can be argued thoughtfully.
I don't think it is "right.">
Well, that's three times! I guess if incantations worked, that would
put you over the top. However, since I dropped out of graduate school
for the third and final time in 1974, I've been haunting library stacks
looking for an Eliot critic the equal of Thompson. I joined this list in
1998 in part to entertain that search. I can't tell you how surprised
and gratified I was to find Guy Story Brown. Ultimately, I think you're
talking about something else than what I'm talking about. But I look
forward to your more time-privileged response.