LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for TSE Archives


TSE Archives

TSE Archives


TSE@PO.MISSOURI.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

TSE Home

TSE Home

TSE  September 2011

TSE September 2011

Subject:

Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four Quartets')

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 17:11:37 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (496 lines)

Nancy has far more knowledge than I now have of tendencies in literary 
criticism over the last couple decades. Hence whether this is among the 
tendnecies she refers to or not I don't know.

I myself would see the category "literature" as a historical category. 
(The word can be used of course merely to refer to printed texts: the 
literature of tomato cultivation.) I don't think Warren & Wellek's 
title, "Theory of Literature," would have made sense to Milton or Pope, 
and probably not to Johnson. Its history only goes back, I think, to 
Coleridge. And I would argue that this is because the _concept_ of 
"imaginative literature" did not exist. And as soon as concept and word 
came into existence, debates immediately began over what literature 
(published texts) was 'really' literature (sense used by Warren & 
Wellek). Edmund Wilson thought Grant's autobiography was great 
literature (imaginative literature, same category as Mansfield Park or 
Tintern Abbey or Ash Wednesday). But there is no _formal_ marker to 
distinguish Grant from any of a hundred autobiographies that drop dead 
from the press and that many would resist calling "literature." In fact 
all definitions of literature (imaginative literature) collapse as soon 
as they are subjected to pressure. If Carlyle's Sartor Resartus is 
literature, so is Russell's Human Knowledge, and if Human Knowledge is 
literature then Wittenstein's Tractatus is literature. It is a slippery 
slope that can't be stopped.  And thus there is no foundation for 
defining "literary criticism" as a formal discipline. Its borders (if 
any) can only be 'defined' by consensus among those in any given discussion.

Carrol

On 9/12/2011 12:01 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
> Dear Jerome,
>
> A parallel movement has happened in literary studies over several
> decades. The term "new criticism" is not only not new but is now
> valuable mainly for its insights into close reading; it is not in any
> sense a final or objectively "true" method of seeing the text. Many of
> your reasons are the same. And in literary criticism a major move has
> been to place literature back into context(s) of many cultural sources
> rather than to isolate it as strictly an aesthetic object.
> Nancy
>
>
>>>> Jerome Walsh 09/12/11 10:49 AM>>>
> Peter (et al),
>
>
> As an outsider, I can't speak for the history of literary criticism, but
> this is certainly the case in biblical criticism. Modern (read
> "post-Enlightenment") biblical critical work happened, for the most
> part, outside the churches (it frightened the dogmatically-oriented
> establishments too much to be tolerated inside)--and its goal was
> recapturing the "original" meaning of the text. Thus it understood the
> text as univocal, and criticism's task as reconstructing, to the degree
> possible, that univocal "original" meaning. The Holy Grail of the
> historical critical quest was a presumed "author's intention." (Biblical
> studies, of course, soon found that task far more daunting than other
> literary fields, since the extant TEXT--and therefore the putative
> "authors" and "intentions"--fell apart into sources, oral traditions,
> etc., as soon as historically-aware hands were put to it.)
>
>
>
> Contemporary biblical studies (since, say, the last third of the
> twentieth century) now reckons the term "meaning" as having several
> referents, only one of which is "author's intention." Biblical
> hermeneutics would also acknowledge the interaction of reader and text
> as a locus for the generation of "meaning." In this sense, naturally,
> "meaning" is no longer a presumptively "objective" datum to be
> "retrieved," but a subjectively influenced project whose objective
> validity (I avoid the word "correctness") is measured by its ability to
> account for the brute phenomena of the text. One could also point to a
> third region of the hermeneutical spectrum, namely "hermeneutics of
> advocacy" (as some in my field call it), where the reader pole of the
> author-text-reader trajectory dominates. From this perspective,
> "meaning" is less an adequate, subjective accounting for the phenomena
> of the text than it is a quest to identify the effects the text has had
> and continues to have on society, no matter whether those effects arise
> from insightful reading or from superficial.
>
>
> At the risk of blowing my own horn, I will claim that I have tried to
> explain this much more clearly in Old Testament Narrative: A Guide to
> Interpretation (pp. 1-9).
>
>
> Jerry Walsh
>
>
>
> From: Peter Montgommery
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 5:35 AM
> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> Quartets')
>
> Sorry to be back tracking, so to speak, but my regular computer is in
> the shop.
> I hope to be interjecting very selectively.
>
> Was there not a time in late 19th, early 20th century when there was
> believed to
> be a definitive reading (not aloud) of a work, and one of the tasks of
> lit discussion was to approach as closely to that reading as poss.
> Variations
> had to be very carefully defended.
>
> I do seem to remember that that was one of the motivating factors when
> lit
> discussions happened in mags and newspapers before the discussions
> migrated
> primarily to the academy with the advent of publish or perish.
>
> Peter
>
>
>
> Quoting Nancy Gish<[log in to unmask]>:
>
>> Who is "one"? If "one" is biased, "one" will see the "genuine" as the
>> biased (if there is a single "genuine").
>>
>> For example, I once had dinner at a table with and rode in a car with
>> Cleanth Brooks to a performance of Murder in the Cathedral. He said of
>> deconstruction critics, "if these people are right, I have wasted my
>> life." I think he was quite wrong and told him they were also doing
>> close reading, as he had, but that is not the point. The point is t>  right way or all understanding was lost. "One" might call that bias.
> In
>> fact, he certainly created a framework for a way to read the poem that
>> many found satisfactory---and many did not. I think at the time it was
>> extremely persuasive and it remains valuable. But I do not tthink it
> can
>> any longer be fully satisfactory or certainly any final statement--it
>> takes too much for granted about the notes and simply does not take
> into
>> account what he could not, of course, have known--all those new
> sources
>> of knowledge.
>>
>> I do not see how you can find a place on which to stand that will give
>> you such transcendent insight as to know the genuine from the biased
> in
>> very diverse serious critics rather than, say, explicitly
> narrowly-based
>> arguments insisting on a single truth. How your feelings are affected
>> will not be a logical basis.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 1:47 PM>>>
>> Well, I don't rule out the subjective element in my readings.
>> But one can certainly make out the genuine from the biased.
>> Nonetheless, I shall keep your words in mind.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 1:32 PM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> I think the problem you may have in being "satisfied" is that you
>> respond to texts on a personal level by its fit with what you feel
>> already. I am not criticizing; I am stating what you yourself say
>> regularly. So to be satisfied, any reader has to dissociate from a
>> desired conclusion and decide on the argument itself.
>> Best,
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 1:29 PM>>>
>> I have placed an order with my library for two books by Lawrence
> Rainey:
>>
>>
>> Revisiting "The Waste Land"
>> and
>> The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Contemporary Prose.
>>
>> Well, I remember having read both of them a long while back -- and my
>> impression at the time was that, for all their intelligent labor,
> these
>> had failed to satisfy me on many counts. All the same, I look forward
> to
>> reading them again to make sure I have not missed out on anything. I
>> especially go back to these volumes in the hope of finding some
>> satisfying elucidation of the closing lines of TWL.
>>
>> I shall get back with my findings.
>>
>> Regards,
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Chokh Raj
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:29 PM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> Thank you very much, Nancy.
>> Much obliged.
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:12 PM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> Try Lawrence Rainey'sRevisiting The Waste Land. It ends on with a
>> commentary on Brooks. But of course his point--like the one I've been
>> trying to make--is that there are far too many changed ways of reading
>> to give one alternative. That makes him helpful to you if you really
>> want to revisit.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 11:58 AM>>>
>> All this does not elucidate the lines in question in any manner
>> whatsoever --
>> let alone whether Weston and 'Notes' hold good or not.
>> I'm looking for an alternative reading that improves upon Brooks.
>>
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 11:38 AM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> The point is that there are many "lines," not one. The poem ends with
> a
>> series of "lines" that are not simply pessimistic but apocalleaves off
> "Om,"
>> which does seem to raise a significant question.
>>
>> Part of "what we know" is that the reading by Brooks assumes that the
>> Weston story is a "scaffold" on which the poem is placed and that
>> therefore we see a pattern throughout of two kinds of life and two
> kinds
>> of death revealed>  the fact that he sent a generation off on a wild goose chase after all
>> those allusions. He also said it was just his own "relief of a
> personal
>> and wholly insignificant grouse against life"; we now know far more
>> about his marriage and the profound impact on him of the War as well
> as
>> the implications of what was then defined as "neurasthenia" (his
>> diagnosis in 1921); we know that the poem was not (and this is a fact)
>> written as a unified work but was carved out of a mass of many parts
>> written over several years--a few bits as early as 1913, and that the
>> organization of those parts was deeply indebted to Pound. All of this
> is
>> post-Brooks, whose famous article came out in 1937.
>>
>> This is just a slight list from memory, but if it is not enlightening
> to
>> you, I suggest you read a great deal of later critical work other than
>> what reinforces very early readings. And that includes Eliot's own
> later
>> views.
>>
>> And a more important point is that the poem is not an artifact that
> only
>> a few can see truly and that is not open to any alternative reading,
>> despite the fact that from its publication it has evoked contrasting
> and
>> conflicting readings. Just go through the early reviews in the
>> collection edited by Jewel Brooker to see the broad range from the
>> beginning.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 10:53 AM>>>
>> Okay, let me be precise and to the point.
>>
>> The point here is the closing lines of The Waste Land.
>>
>> I'm curious to know how the much more that we now know modify/improve
>> upon Brooks' reading of these lines.
>>
>> I shall be obliged if anyone throws any light on the subject.
>>
>> Regards,
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Chokh Raj
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 10:11 AM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> nil nisi divinum stabile est; caetera fumus
>>
>> 'The Waste Land' - it's a story of the human spirit.
>>
>> As for "we know too much more than we did when Brooks wrote,"
>>
>> "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?"
>>
>> Cheers,
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 9:49 AM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> What it evokes in you is not what it evokes in everyone. I suggest you
>> read some views that are not reinforcements of what you already think,
>> including Eliot's own later statements about the poem.
>>
>> No text is entirely subjective for the reader or entirely an objective
>> thing (a "verbal icon") made by the author: it involves a
> relationship,
>> and not that of only one or a few. As I said already, we know too much
>> more than we did when Brooks wrote to take it as final.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 11:40 PM>>>
>> What is "simply fact" is only a half truth.
>>
>> The truth of poetry also lies in what it evokes.
>>
>> "Those are pearls that were his eyes."
>>
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 11:00 PM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> I know Broooks's view. It is one of many. But my point is that none of
>> this is simply fact; it is interpretation.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 10:28 PM>>>
>> London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
>>
>>
>> Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina
>> Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
>> Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
>> These fragments I have shored against my ruins
>> Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
>> Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
>>
>>
>> Shantih shantih shantih
>> -----
>>
>> While the civilization is crumbling, the poet has "saved" some
> fragmenYes,
>> this is only 'one' interpretation of the closing lines but, to me,
>> the most valid so far.
>>
>> I hold fast to Cleanth Brooks' interpretation of the>  negative aspect of things -- "violence, chaos and murder" -- closing
>> eyes to what positive might emerge out of them, so as to make what
> Yeats
>> aptly called "a vineyard of the curse".
>>
>> Here's the relevant excerpt from Brooks:
>>
>> -----
>>
>> The bundle of quotations with which the poem ends has a very definite
>> relation to the general theme of the poem and to several of the major
>> symbols used in the poem. Before Arnaut leaps back into the refining
>> fire of Purgatory with joy he says: "I am Arnaut who weep and go
>> singing; contrite I see my past folly, and joyful I see before me the
>> day I hope for. Now I pray you by that virtue which guides you to the
>> summit of the stair, at times be mindful of my pain." This theme is
>> carried forward by the quotation from Pervigilium Veneris: "When shall
> I
>> be like the swallow." The allusion is also connected with the
> Philomela
>> symbol. (Eliot's note on the passage indicates this clearly.) The
> sister
>> of Philomela was changed into a swallow as Philomela was changed into
> a
>> nightingale. The protagonist is asking therefore when shall the
> spring,
>> the time of love, return, but also when will he be reborn out of his
>> sufferings, and--with the special meaning which the symbol takes on
> from
>> the preceding Dante quotation and from the earlier contexts already
>> discussed--he is asking what is asked at the end of one of the minor
>> poems: "When will Time flow away."
>> The quotation from "El Desdichado," as Edmund Wilson has pointed out,
>> indicates that the protagonist of the poem has been disinherited,
> robbed
>> of his tradition. The ruined tower is perhaps also the Perilous
> Chapel,
>> "only the wind's home," and it is also the whole tradition in decay.
> The
>> protagonist resolves to claim his tradition and rehabilitate it.
>> The quotation from The Spanish Tragedy--"Why then Ile fit you.
>> Hieronymo's mad againe"--is perhaps the most puzzling of all these
>> quotations. It means, I believe, this: The protagonist's acceptance of
>> what is in reality the deepest truth will seem to the present world
> mere
>> madness. ("And still she cried . . . 'Jug jug' to dirty ears.")
>> Hieronymo in the play, like Hamlet, was "mad" for a purpose. The
>> protagonist is conscious of the interpretation which will be placed on
>> the words which follow--words which will seem to many apparently
>> meaningless babble, but which contain the oldest and most permanent
>> truth of the race:
>> Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
>> Quotation of the whole context from which the line is taken confirms
>> this interpretation. Hieronymo, asked to write a play for the court's
>> entertainment, replies:
>> Why then, I'll fit you; say no more.
>> When I was young, I gave my mind
>> And plied myself to fruitless poetry;
>> Which though it profit the professor naught
>> Yet it is passing pleasing to the world.
>> He sees that the play will give him the opportunity he has been
> seeking
>> to avenge his son's murder. Like Hieronymo, the protagonist in the
> poem
>> has found his theme; what he is about to perform is not "fruitless."
>> After this repetition of what the thunder said comes the benediction:
>> Shantih Shantih Shantih
>> -----
>>
>> http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/wasteland.htm
>>
>> CR
>>
>>
>>
>> From: Nancy Gish
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 7:41 PM
>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
>> Quartets')
>>
>> That is an (not "the") interpretation of "Shantih." But the lines
> above
>> that are about violence, chaos, and murder. Moreover, Cleo Kearnes has
>> pointed out that the full ending of the Upanishad starts with "Om,"
> and
>> Eliot omits it (though we know he studied them).
>>
>> So you are free to interpret one line as shaping all the rest, but
> that
>> interpretation is not "what the lines say": it is one reading of very
>> mixed lines.
>> Nancy
>>
>>
>>>>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 7:20 PM>>>
>> apropos TWL's ending
>>
>> Peter Montgomery wrote: "They end it>  From: Peter Montgommery
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 2:07 AM
>> Subject: Re: vis-a-vis 'Four Quartets'
>>
>> Interesting to see that presentation again.
>> They end it with a very positive tone, but then that's what the lines
>> say.
>> I suppose one could render them in an ironic way, but that would seem
>> rather forced.
>>
>> P.
>>
>> Quoting Chokh Raj<[log in to unmask]>:
>>>
>>> THE WASTE LAND - read by Edward Fox, Eileen Atkins, and Michael
> Gough
>>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1TXBzw98ng
>>>
>>
>

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



PO.MISSOURI.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager