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TSE  May 2010

TSE May 2010

Subject:

Re: Mr. Eugenides

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 25 May 2010 03:44:36 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (175 lines)

There is the missionary stew mentioned in Sweeney Agonistes.

You might want to familiarise yourself with the fates of the Jesuit martyrs
of north America.
Was their govt a toady to US politics?

http://www.catholicireland.net/church-a-bible/church/october-saints/1499-19-the-jesuit-martyrs-of-north-america-17th-century

I hope these are disturbing enough for you.

P.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 4:19 PM
Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides


> The kind of attitudes Nancy describves have unfortunately not
> disappeared -- more on that in a bit.
>
> First, however, it is useful to note that these perspectives, while
> widespread, _did_ provoke opposition; there were other perspectives
> available. Consider just two of Meliville's works: "The Paradise of
> Bachelors and the Purgatory of Maids" and "Benito Cereno." And then Mark
> Twain's "To the Person Sitting in Darkness" and "The United States of
> Lyncherdom."
>
> I agree with Nancy's interpretation of "The Heart of Darkness," though I
> am not totally confident that Conrad would have agreed unreservedly! It
> has been 50 years since I read _Nostromo_ -- but as I remember  it (or
> perhaps some otherwise forgotten commentaries on it) there showed in it
> some European 'lack of confidence'  in the capacity of that person
> sitting in darkness to free him/herself.
>
> And now coming back to Eliot, and nearer to the present, I have always
> found the death he alloted Celia in The Cocktail Party deeply
> disturbing. No place on earth, then or now or in the 19th-c would have
> 'crucified' a missionary on an ant hill.  And before anyone comes up
> with counter-examples, make sure your example does not come from an area
> in which western military has been recently involved, or from a state
> the government of which was a toady to u.s. military strength.
>
> Carrol
>
>
>
> > Nancy Gish wrote:
> >
> > Heart of Darkness is all about the ironic falseness of any notion of
"civilized."  In the name of civilization, Kurtz goes into Africa ostensibly
to bring light to darkness but--in fact and from the outset--to bring out
the white (light) ivory to the dark moving Thames.  The "savages" are
unclear because we never do and can never can know how they acted before
Kurtz came, but whatever it was, however violent or cruel, we have no reason
to think it was about being "civilized" in any Western sense.  So the book
is about hypocrisy and brutality and self-deception on the part of white
Europe.  This is hardly even interpretation: Conrad's symbolism is very
overt and explicit, as when he shows a dying African with a white thread
around his neck or when Marlow realizes how he too could be drawn into the
emotion of the scene when he follows Kurtz into a ritual or when he shows
the heads on poles around Kurtz's compound--and especially when he lies to
Kurtz's Intended, thereby uphol
>  ding what
> > he knows is not true while always recalling and contemplating "The
Horror! The Horror."
> >
> > But Eliot would have seen this as savage.  He was very interested in and
used imagery of what he considered "savage," and the dominant psychology of
the day assumed a "primitive" and a "civilized" human development.  Vittoz,
who treated Eliot, even claimed there were two brains, the primitive and the
civilized, and that neurasthenia (Eliot's diagnosis) occured when the
civilized brain lost control of the primitive brain.  The solution was those
exercises in regaining control through concentration.  Compare, for example,
the way Mr. Hyde is called ape-like, and the assumptions of criminal
"types," as in Lombroso:
> >
> > HE [Lombroso] BEGAN WITH THE BASIC ASSUMPTION OF THE BIOLOGICAL NATURE
OF HUMAN CHARACTER AND BEHAVIOR:
> >
> >    * A. HE FIRST CONCEIVED OF THE CRIMINAL AS A THROWBACK TO A MORE
PRIMITIVE TYPE OF BRAIN STRUCTURE, AND
> >
> > These ideas permeated all kinds of disciplines, and Eliot not only was
familiar with them but chose a psychologist who wrote a book defining them.
> >
> > Nancy
> >
> >
> >
> >      >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 05/24/10 10:56 AM >>>
> >      I note that this post overlaps my post. Lots here to work out.
> >
> >      Carrol
> >
> >      Diana Manister wrote:
> >      >
> >      > Dear Peter,
> >      >
> >      > By de-civilized I meant less civilized than previously. Not
> >      > uncivilized. Europe's sense of itself as Enlightened could not be
> >      > maintained after the mutual butchery and unethical practices of
the war.
> >      >
> >      > But Kurtz is a paradigm or symbol for de-civilization. It's the
> >      > book's main theme to which all sub-themes and leitmotifs relate.
> >      >
> >      > Thanks for thinking of that.
> >      >
> >      > Diana
> >      >
> >      > Sent from my iPod
> >      >
> >      > On May 24, 2010, at 2:16 AM, Peter Montgomery
<[log in to unmask]>
> >      > wrote:
> >      >
> >      > > Eliot was a big fan of THE HEART OF DARKNESS.
> >      > >
> >      > > Is Kurtz de-civilised?
> >      > >
> >      > > 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
> >      > >

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