I like the technical analysis here.
We don't do enough of that kind of thing on this list.
The connotations of the sounds are harsh.
That effect must be part of the experience of the poem.
Whether meaning is meant to be derivedd is another matter.
In crucifixion, there is a stage at which the legs are broken so the victim
can't help but squat, and cannot raise him- or herself in order to breathe,
so asphyxiation happens.
Christ however, is reported to have died already, before that happened.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Dillane" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 5:37 PM
Subject: Re: The Jew in Eliot's poetry (anti-semitism and objective
> Thanks Ken,
> I suppose I feel that regardless of the glosses I have heard I find a
> of unpleasant edge to that line with its stops on the palatal consonants
> which are hard abrupt sounds and I take the line to be antipathetic at
> level. So I am wondering if the image is in the mind what intellectual
> process would bring one to the word "squat" much in the way "perches'
> be gentler and sentimental or patronising if it were metrically acceptable
> etc etc.
> Cheers P
> Ps apart from those historical reconstructions of the crucifixion which
> Turin Shroud lunatics enthuse over I am not convinced that Christ squats
> crucifixions even in the more recent brutalist stuff. In my childhood he
> never seemed fussed at all and was quite erect but mine was a Roman
> trumphalist version I admit.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Of Ken Armstrong
> Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 11:06 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: The Jew in Eliot's poetry (anti-semitism and objective
> Peter Dillane wrote:
>> Interesting thought Rickard; If a poet were formulating an image starting
>> with a window and its attendant architecture a figure of a person how do
>> you decide on the word for what the figure does.
>> In the plastic arts people often start with a structural obligation
>> in a commissioned work or because they have say an oblong canvas or they
>> working with found objects.
>> So just like the Maori in the coin where do you think the squatting comes
>> - at the start of the thought or a word choice once the figure is
>> but needs to be concisely separated from part of any scene which might be
>> part of the window itself.
> Pete and Rickard,
> If you mean where does the squatting come in in the composition of
> Gerontion, it might be useful to point out that Eliot was not under any
> such material restrictions regardless of when the thought struck him. If
> he wanted to portray a flesh and blood person, he could easily have
> picked a place where such a person would be; not squatting in a window.
> The figure of Christ crucified or the Passion might be a scene of him
> squatting, whether you've seen that image or not (Eliot is known to have
> visited a lot of churches and could easily be thought to have an
> extensive catalog of such images). And unless someone pipes up to say
> that yes, it's a widely known fact and they've seen Jewish landlords or
> landlords in general squatting in windows, I don't think there is any
> real reason to think that the Jew in the poem is a flesh and blood person.
>> I see Perloff's argument as being a valid reading (but I haven't taken
>> it as my reading.) The landlord would be a private symbol of Eliot's
>> outsideness, an uncomfortable position.
> I don't understand the distinction, valid reading but not yours.
> What does valid mean if it doesn't mean you incorporate it into your
> reading? That it's possible but not necessarily so?
> My own take on Perloff, besides her previously demonstrated
> unreliability in assessing Eliot, is that she is psychologizing the
> poem where there is no compelling reason to do so, except as she is
> willy nilly trying to shore up a prejudice about Eliot and his poetry.
> And of course that is what I think she is doing.
>> I can't remember seeing either a flesh and blood person or a symbol
> squatting in a window though I have seen cymbals squinting through a
> cymbals? squinting? Hmmm. I've seen them glinting with a bang, not a
> whimper, but never squinting....
> Ken A