Pound's sense of "the tradition," though having its own defects, was
certainly broader and richer than Eliot's. He saw Virgil through the
eyes, as it were, of a 16th-c Scots translation. And he 'translated'
Book 11 of the Odyssey (Canto 1) in a metric developed in his
translation of The Seafarer! And using the word "decadent" to describe
Burns nearly amounts to a corruption of language! Every so often Eliot's
critical writings open a trap door to a cellar giving off a very
unpleasant odor. I had forgotten just how offensive his remarks on Burns
On 6/1/2011 11:01 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
> Eliot said Burns was "a decadent representative of a great alien tradition." It is rather humorous that an American and then a "royalist" who incorporates Charles I and Mary Queen of Scots in his poetry (apparently not seeing the Stuart line--the first monarchs of the UK--as "alien") takes it on himself to see Scots literature as "alien." He traces all of English and European literature from the Romance sources, especially Dante and Virgil, but the Anglo-Saxon, with its stronger presence in Scots, is no less central in my view. Woolf has a fascinating view of that in "Anon" only published in The Gender of Modernism long after her death.
>>>> Carrol Cox 06/01/11 11:17 PM>>>
> Nancy wrote:
> At least on the web, "kiss" is given as original, but I am sure I
> remember reading the other at some point. No sure where; I think "kiss"
> was what he published. N.
> We crossed with this information: it's called "The Ball of Kerrymuir" and is pretty well known in Scotland. But as I noted before, it is part of a long oral tradition and particularly of Bothy Ballads--many oral songs and traditions have some factual (or claimed factual) origins. Ironically, the main version on the web is made nice--all the "f" words cut. They did the same to Burns; it was not originally "gin a body kiss a body/ comin' through the rye."
> Eliot mentions Burns someplace in a sort of condescending way if I remember correctly. But he could no more match Burns in bawdy than he could match Pope in couplets. I know nothing of the publishing history of Burns -- when and where his bawdy got published. I wonder if Eliot had any knowledge of it.