Nancy Gish wrote:
> It's also full of chaos and despair, but the presence of
> allusions does not mean that the poem itself is "absolutist." That is
> a way of thinking, not a text.
Interesting comment. "A way of thinking, not a text" is exactly what
I have thought about your view of Eliot's poetry and more or less the
common run of Eliot criticism that predominates today's critical landscape.
> No amount of allusion makes the poem that.
Well, as you point out, "absolutist" refers to a person. While it
is possibly true that "no amount of allusion makes the poem" a poem of
the absolute, one can wonder what said allusions are doing in there if
the absolute is not central to the poem's action. And if it is central
to the poetic action, then TWL is poetry of the absolute. The problem,
despite mountains of commentary and collections of scholarship and the
current, fashionable "ways of thinking," is that there is no ultimate
reading of the poem. There are anthologies, essays galore, a myriad,
perhaps a wilderness, of piecemeal approaches ("ways of thinking") to
the poem, but no one way that has done the due diligence of making its
case. No amount of repetition amounts to making a case.
> And one can equally easily point out the absence of any absolute in
> TWL. It has been done since the initial reviews.
More ways of thinking, not the text. One can not easily point out the
absence of any absolute in TWL; one can, rather, easily make claims,
which is not the same thing as "pointing out." In that, the initial
reviewers are exactly the same as today's critics.
> Once again all these proclamations of TRUTH have shut down any
> discussion, and no one is writing--except for the very valuable links
> sent by Rick again.
Tch tch, how does one shut down a non-existent discussion? Doesn't
everyone post on what interests him or her? Instead of whining about
CR's absolutist frequently expressed thoughts (which you could after all
skip as I do Cox's), what was it you found valuable in Rickard's links?
Take the high road.