Nancy Gish wrote:
> The allusions are there along with many allusions to its absence. So
> we agree. And of course it is a way of thinking, on which neither CR
> nor you has cornered the market.
Heavens, no, no illusions about cornering that market. But clearly
you and I think differently about the character of the absolute. To my
way of thinking, allusions to its presence or to its absence "amount" to
the same thing: it can only be absent here and now if it is present
somewhere or sometime else, and if its absence plays large in the poem,
what is to dispute?
> I am sorry, but the notion you perpetuate that everything anyone has
> said since about 1960 (a date when Eliot was very much more agreed
> about and when things started changing) can only be wrong, stupid,
> mistaken, etc., etc.
I've never perpetuated that notion though I confess I found the
bookstore owner's comment about literary criticism before it lost its
way amusing and partially true. I've only said, and say it again, that a
critic in 1960 or 1933 or 1998 who has read the poem as a poem can have
much greater insight into it than a contemporary critic who, armed to
the teeth with recently aggregated facts about it and Eliot, reads it
rather as a record of the life and fails, in effect (the most important
effect for literary criticism), to read it as a poem. The one out to
that, of course, would be if it were a failed poem. Again, in any event,
no one equal to the task has stepped forward to make the full case.
> Why on earth do you feel the need to "correct," snipe at, and
> endlessly mock anything I say? I do not need advice about the "high
You don't see your part in any of this? You weren't baselessly
> Whatever is your problem? It seems to be constant, serious, and
> apparently painful.
And humorless. But enough of that. What did you find valuable in
those links Rickard posted? I thought they were pretty much the same old
same old quality-of-content-wise, but definitely noteworthy in pointing
up that Eliot's poetry and prose still today invoke some kind of force
conceived as requiring a response outside of English departments,
however negatively conceived and lightly informed.