I never read people who assume (as you put it) that they "get it" and their
'getting' is the standard by which all other views are measured. For one
thing, that attitude makes even minimally correct understanding of different
views impossible. Let me give a benign example, the way a professor at
Michigan (one I respected) responded to student papers. He was quite
generous in his response for papers that directly (or more or less directly)
differed from his own. But one had to be careful in developing a thesis that
cut obliquely across his general perspective. It's been so long that I can't
remember particular instances, but in some such cases he would see the paper
as incoherent. As I say, that is a benign instance, since he was an
intelligent and generous man.
I can think of no text, let alone any poem, which can be reduced with
certainty to one coherent "meaning." Rather the criterion is not the
"correctness" of an interpretation but its _interest_; does it provoke
thought or interesting responses. I find Ken's, p's, & cr's comments lacking
in interest, and for an identifiable reason: they show no interest in the
opinions of others. And that is a fatal weakness.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Nancy Gish
> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:52 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Dantean Aesthetics in 'The Waste Land'
> Yes, it's a problem. Many fine scholars are, for example, working now on
> editing all Eliot's prose. What comes out may change our sense of how to
> read the works. I am quite open to having something new change my
> perspective. I don't claim competency in all perspectives: that's the
> don't, for example, work as much on the prose or the plays as many do. But
> I'm aware of a very wide range of readings of, for example, TWL, and many
> can be justified--even conflicting ones. Moreover, I had to reread masses
> material to write a reception of Eliot article, and there has never been a
> single way to "get" his work--not ever. It's true that what Brooks wrote
> big influence for a long time, but new material has led to other views. So
> there is no equivalence between assuming you know what is true about Eliot
> and assuming that there are many views and new ones will appear.
> No, it's not a double standard unless you can demonstrate that there is
> way to "get" it. I can show many readings: it's a fact.
> Also, I never said all perspectives are equally convincing or true. I only
> you assume you can exclude those who disagree with yours. And you do. So
> fine--it's mutually exclusive, and I think you are quite wrong. But by
> assumption, nearly everyone is now.