On 1/10/2013 12:17 AM, Nancy Gish wrote:
For anyone on this list who cares about Eliot's poetry, I think it
matters very much to realize the degree to which it has been read
from many, many perspectives.
This is an oft repeated truism and hardly needs repeating to people on
this list, at least to those who post to it. People agree and disagree.
To varying, not to say maddeningly so, degrees. "But," to quote Artie
Johnson's German soldier, "vut duz it mean?" Now I realize that "read
from many, many perspectives" does not have to mean the same thing as
"agree and disagree," at least on the face of it, but it seems to come
up with great regularity when the need is felt to reign in and tamp down
some escaping molecule of thought or speculation or assertion that
might, blush, put Eliot in a positive light. That might even make him
seem, well, exceptional. That seems to be the cardinal sin. For, as we
know, views proliferate, people disagree.
Is entertaining "many, many perspectives" in reading Eliot's poetry an
end in itself? The reader who rests at that station, which may be
necessary in some measure to pass through, has everything, potentially,
and knows nothing. So because I worry about people on this list who
actually care for Eliot's poetry, let me suggest that the answer to
Artie Johnson's question when applied to "many, many perspectives" is
that some people, to varying degrees, get Eliot, and some, to varying
degrees, don't. Try to affirm the former and move past the latter. The
truth doesn't lie in consensus.