Not acceptable. One cannot ignore the _social_ history of a term in this
way; some wordss can be given the Humpty-Dumpty treatment but
"civilization" is not one of them. Stilll a lot to explore.
DIana Manister wrote:
> Dear Carrol,
> "De-civilized" has meaning only in relation to "civilized" Kurtz was
> once civilized but now is not, or less so.
> "De-civilized" is like "defrocked;" not the same as uncivilized or
> Sent from my iPod
> On May 24, 2010, at 10:22 AM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Peter Montgomery wrote:
> >> Eliot was a big fan of THE HEART OF DARKNESS.
> >> Is Kurtz de-civilised?
> > No! To be civilized is to be aware of oneself as related to The City.
> > Kurtz's life would be unintelligible within a paleolithic or even
> > neolithic culture. And while K's attitude towards the "natives"
> > invokes
> > the Eurocentric use of "savage," his attitude towareds hmself, let
> > alone
> > the attitude of (a) the fictional narrator and (b) the story as a
> > whole
> > is biguous. Tos label Kurtz as "uncivilzied" is to justify Europe:
> > It is
> > not Europe that is committing genocide n the Congo but those savages
> > who
> > have infected Kurtz with their savagery which then has rebounded on
> > them.
> > Now it may be that Eliot (the man) or Eliot (the poet of TWL) himself
> > thought in these terms, of Kurtz or the woman in the narrow canoe as
> > "decivilzied." Assuming that would add quite an interesting edge to
> > the
> > poem but it would make Eliot the man worthy of the greatest contempt.
> > (Ditto re Conrad.)
> > "The horror. The Horror" Kurtz muttrs -- and perhaps that horror is
> > analyzed in the history of such words as "pagan," "civilization,"
> > "savage," "urbane," and other terms in which is embodied the
> > valorization of The City (- Europe in the 196h c.) and "The
> > Country" (=
> > the rest of the world in the 19th-c). (My expositon here is jumbled
> > since I'm explorginga what for me is new angle from which to look at
> > the
> > consciousness arising from the savage (!) rampage of Europe across the
> > world in the last 3 centuriesd. It is too bad Empson did not include a
> > chapter on "savage" in his _Structure of *Complex Words_, for quite a
> > bit of (terrifying) history is packed into the 'equations' as Empson
> > called them which structure this term.
> > Carrying this (even in its rough state here) back to TWL, we may see a
> > sort of (unintended) savage (!) irony in that phrase which ends the
> > poem.
> > I'll stop here for now.
> > Carrol
> >> Mr. Civilisation, he dead!
> >> P.
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >> Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 7:19 AM
> >> Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides
> >>> Diana Manister wrote:
> >>>> Peter,
> >>>> Yes dehumanized. De-civilized too, if you will,
> >>> "decivilized" (which is also not Eliot's word) is an even more
> >>> inappropriate metaphor than dehumanized. The behavior of the clerk
> >>> is
> >>> only possible within civilization! For one thing, even in a
> >>> pre-capitalist class societies she would not have been living
> >>> alone or
> >>> preparing her own meal. Those tins involved international commerce.
> >>> Moreover, the entire episode presupposes the atomized social
> >>> relations
> >>> which appeared embryonically in the 175th-c (and Milton with amazing
> >>> prescience grasped) and only fully (and only in England & the
> >>> U.S.) in
> >>> the 19th-c. They were only beginning to develop in France &
> >>> Germany (and
> >>> this enters into the causes of WW1).
> >>> So whatever the young man and woman are or are not, they are highly
> >>> civilized -- and surely Eliot had enough of an historical sense
> >>> and was
> >>> precise enough in his language (even the silent language of
> >>> thought and
> >>> intention) that he would never have seen these characters as
> >>> de-ciivilized. These vague, sloppy categories introduced by readers
> >>> rather than the poem trivialize the whole poem.
> >>> Carrolk