Ken, Thanks for the Thompson essay. There was something there that I
took issue with but with a more careful reading I saw that he was
speaking of ***litery interpretation***, not ***literary criticism***.
I'll withhold my comments for now hoping that you or you speaking for
Thompson or someone else more literary than I can tell me the
I did catch Thompson saying:
The third impulse that I have yielded to in order to retreat from
the embarrassment of literary interpretation is that of the
book-lover, the literary aesthete, that monster called the "hypocrite
lecteur" by Charles Baudelaire. This is the man in Baudelaire's poem
who reads contentedly of a hanging while smoking his hookah.
This doesn't seem to be what Baudelaire wrote but maybe it isn't really
important because it is Baudelaireish and makes a point anyway.
CR had sent us to "Au Lecteur" the other day.
C'est l'Ennui! L'oeil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
II rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
— Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!
*** Charles Baudelaire
He is Ennui! — His eye filled with an unwished-for tear,
He dreams of scaffolds while puffing at his hookah.
You know him, reader, this exquisite monster,
— Hypocrite reader, — my likeness, — my brother!
*** Eli Siegel translation
> Some of the more recent threads and exchanges between Nancy and me a few
> weeks ago got me to thinking about putting up somewhere an address that
> my professor, Eric Thompson, gave some 45 years ago (don't have the
> exact date) that bears in multiple ways on the obstacles everyone faces
> to understanding Eliot or any literary creation. I realize that the
> regular contributors to this list have themselves pretty high definition
> ideas about how to read, and there is of course the chance that the
> piece will be read, if at all, more with an eye to "deconstruction" than
> to the suspension of belief and disbelief necessary to hear a whole
> thought spelled out in multiple phases. Playing the optimist that my
> wife thinks I am, the latter is what I urge.
> My thought is to leave it up a few days for the benefit and possible
> discussion of the list. But discussed or no, I trust you'll find it well
> considered and provocative. It is at http://www.clericalcut.com .
> Ken A