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TSE  August 2013

TSE August 2013

Subject:

Re: Theodore Spencer quote and the Eliots (was: Conrad’s horror in Eliot’s Waste Land)

From:

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sun, 25 Aug 2013 22:23:24 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (313 lines)

Thanks for this valuable information, Rickard. Surely Eliot would have made the remark. In all likelihood the written form too will come through one day.

Regards,
CR

On Aug 25, 2013, at 9:29 PM, "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:51:04 -0400, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> 
>> "Various critics have done me the honour to interpret the poem in terms of
> criticism of the contemporary world, have considered it, indeed, as an
> important bit of social criticism. To me it was only the relief of a
> personal and wholly insignificant grouse against life; it is just a piece of
> rhythmical grumbling." 1 
>> 
>> http://www.uji.es/bin/publ/edicions/jfi10/fang/1.pdf 
>> 
>> As to the 'grouse' remark, it remains a hearsay.
> 
> 
> 
> Legally, yes. But let's look at a few things:
> 
> The remark was supposed to be by TSE but it was reported by Theodore Spencer.
> Is it likely that that Eliot said it or wrote it to Spencer? Who was Spencer?
> What was the supposed Eliot/Spenser relationship?  See below.
> 
> The man who recorded (I suppose that means "wrote down") the remark was Henry
> Ware Eliot Jr., TSE's brother. Is it a remark that HWE would think fit or not
> fit TWL?  We don't really know and we don't know of any notational comment HWE
> may have attached to his notes.  But is it likely that HWE was out to destroy
> TSE's acheivement?  HSE was a big fan of lil' bro'.
> 
> The person who passed on the remark to the world was TSE's widow.  Is it likely
> that she might have known a bit about TWL that the public didn't?  Did she add
> collaborating evidence?  Yes, in the remark about Eliot's "state of mind".  Was
> it a shame that she didn't cite these statements?  Darn tootin' but do you
> really
> think she made them up to destroy TSE's achievement?  She was a big fan of
> hubby.
> 
> How did VE hear of HWE's remark?  Not likely from HWE himself.  I think he
> died ten
> years before the Eliot's marriage.  It must have been written down and available
> somewhere.  Like the draft of TWL, it is likely to show up sometime.
> 
> How accurate is the quote after passing through a few hands?  This is conjecture
> on my part but I would say it is pretty accurate.  It sounds as if it is
> something
> that TSE wrote, not said.  Spencer could have copied it down into his notes from
> a letter.  Spencer was a lecturer at Harvard and HWE worked at Harvard and lived
> just a minute or two from Harvard Yard (depending upon whether there was any
> traffic on the street he had to cross.)  I think it is pretty likely that TSE,
> HSE and TS had some lunches or dinners together when Eliot was at Harvard in
> 1932-33.  Spencer had been appointed Eliot's sponsor/facilitator for the visit.
> So, while HWE could have messed up his notes during the lecture he probably
> would have gone to Spencer to get an accuracy check on the grumbling quote and
> other things that Spencer said.
> 
> Every couple of years I check up online on the "grumbling" quote.  I still
> haven't found what I've been looking for but maybe with the passing of Mrs.
> Eliot
> something that was held back for her to publish will be let loose upon the
> world.
> 
> Regards,
>   Rick Parker
> 
> P.S. - I've been on vacation the last week (Damn! Vermont is gorgeous.) Other
> comments on what has passed in the last week may be coming in in dribs and
> drabs.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ========================================================
> 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Spencer
> 
> Theodore Spencer
> 
> From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
> 
> Theodore Spencer (1902–1949) was an American poet and academic.
> 
> Life
> 
> He graduated from Princeton University in 1923, and a Ph.D from Harvard
> University in 1928. He then taught there, from 1927 to 1949. He was
> appointed lecturer in English literature at Cambridge University, England,
> in 1939. In 1942, Spencer gave the Lowell lectures on Shakespeare, published
> as Shakespeare and the Nature of Man, his most important work. Spencer also
> published essays, short stories, and poetry.
> 
> 
> ========================================================
> 
> http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,792816,00.html
> 
> Time Magazine
> Education: A Cow for Spencer
> Monday, Apr. 22, 1946
> 
> In 1939, in a fit of economy, Harvard University fired a young poet and
> assistant professor of English named Theodore Spencer. Cambridge University
> promptly offered him a lectureship—but war broke before he could take it.
> Harvard, properly impressed, Lend-Leased him as a "visiting professor" from
> Cambridge. Last week, Harvard, which has been increasingly impressed by Ted
> Spencer since then, appointed him, at 44, to the prestigious, 140year-old
> Boylston Professorship of "Rhetoric & Oratory (first chairholder: John
> Quincy Adams; last: Poet Robert S. Hillyer).
> 
> Spencer, tall (a stooping 6 ft. 5 in.), strawberry-blond, and...
> To continue reading:
> Subscribe now
> or Log-In
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> http://books.google.com/books?id=iNFu0Im2wPcC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1
> 
> ========================================================
> 
> 
> The Poetry of T.S. Eliot
> by Theodore Spencer
> In The Atlantic Monthly, January 1933, pp. 60-67
> 
> 
> ========================================================
> http://www.archive.org/stream/poetryanddrama029231mbp/poetryanddrama029231mbp_djvu.txt
> 
> POETRY 
> AND 
> DRAMA 
> 
> 
> 
> by 
> 
> T. S. ELIOT 
> 
> 
> 
> The Theodore Spencer Memorial Lecture 
> 
> HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
> 
> November 21, 1950 
> 
> 
> 
> FABER & FABER'LTD 
> 
> 24 Russell Square 
> 
> London 
> 
> 
> 
> First published in mcmli 
> 
> by Faber and Faber Limited 
> 
> 24 Russell Square, London, W.C.i 
> 
> Printed and bound in Great Britain by 
> 
> William Clowes and Sons, Limited 
> 
> London and Beccles 
> 
> All rights reserved 
> 
> 
> 
> I 
> 
> 
> 
> It is a customary act of respect that the lecturer on a founda- 
> tion should begin by saying something about the nwn in 
> whose name the lectureship was founded. The fact that 
> between Theodore Spencer and myself there had been a long 
> friendship terminated only by death, was (I believe) the primary 
> reason for my being asked to inaugurate this series: as it was 
> Certainly my primary reason for accepting the honour. 
> 
> Except when there has been some accident to fix it in my 
> memory, I find that I seldom remember the occasion of my first 
> meeting with anyone who has subsequently become an associate 
> or friend. I am not now sure whether I first met Theodore 
> Spencer while he was an undergraduate at Trinity College, 
> Cambridge, or on some later visit that he paid to Englandfor 
> he loved Cambridge and liked to return there. I had certainly 
> met him in England, and probably several times, before I came 
> to Harvard as Norton Professor in 1932.- But it was during that 
> year, when I saw him almost every day ) at Eliot House, or in 
> his own home, or in the company of mutual friends, that we 
> were closely associated; and it was through this constant 
> 
> 7 
> 
> 
> 
> frequentation that I came to love and appreciate the man. He 
> put his time most generously at my disposal; helped me at every 
> juncture with a course of lectures to a small class which he him- 
> self had been instrumental in selecting; and there was no detail 
> of daily life in which he was not ready to give aid, and no 
> material need which he was not anxious to anticipate. And the 
> day on which he did not drop in for a chat before lunch, was 
> always a duller day than the others. 
> 
> After 1933 1 saw him) of course, only at intervals. He visited 
> England several times I remember that he was present, in 
> Cambridge, at the Encaenia at which I received a doctor's 
> degree, and I remember his pleasure in the event. Between 
> visits, we carried on a desultory correspondence. In 1938, or per- 
> haps early in 1939, the rumour reached us in England that 
> economies were being effected, which might be adverse to his 
> promotion or security of tenure at Harvard, and I was a party 
> to the manoeuvres of some of his friends in Cambridge, Eng- 
> land, toward obtaining for him a Lectureship there. In 1939 he 
> was appointed to a Lectureship at Cambridge University, but 
> owing to the outbreak of war, the immediate reduction in the 
> numbers of students in the English Tripos, and the consequent 
> reduction in the number of tutors, it was deemed best that his 
> appointment should be deferred. This was a great disappoint- 
> ment to his friends in England; but on the other hand, we had 
> the pleasure of hearing of his reappointment to Harvard as 
> 'visiting lecturer from Cambridge University. } It was not long 
> before he received promotion. 
> 
> I should like to add a note which I hope is not indiscreet. 
> When the august position ofBoylston Professor became vacant, 
> Ted Spencer was not one to covet that post for himself. He wrote 
> to me privately, to ask whether I would consider the position 
> 
> 8 
> 
> 
> 
> if my name were put forward. Well, there were several reasons, 
> both private and public, why I could not regard myself as 
> eligible : not the least of which was my lack of scholarship / 
> think I told him that I should have had to spend all my spare 
> time reading the books I ought to have read, and would have no 
> leisure left for writing. My delight and satisfaction were great 
> when I read that he himself had received that distinguished 
> appointment. 
> 
> Though I do not remember our first meeting, I remember very 
> clearly our last. It was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just 
> before my return to London, and only a few weeks before his 
> death. He was full of enthusiasm for the work he was to under- 
> take that year; he appeared in better health, and more radiantly 
> happy, than I had ever seen him; and I thought that he had 
> many years of both scholarly and creative work and of useful 
> influence before him. 
> 
> I do not need to remind those who knew him, or indeed those 
> who were even slightly acquainted with him, of the charm of 
> his personality, his interest in human beings, his gaiety, sense of 
> humour and conviviality with a bearing such that he could 
> put his pupils on terms of informal equality, without ever 
> losing his dignity or their respect. He had several traits, in 
> happy combination, which made him a good teacher. His stan- 
> dards of scholarship were high, and his view of English studies 
> was humane; he mixed with men of letters in New York and 
> London, as well as in the universities; and was perfectly at ease 
> in society, whether intellectual society or not, so that he knew 
> his students as human beings, not merely as candidates for 
> degrees. He had a sensitive appreciation of the best in contem- 
> porary literature; and his own poetic gift was genuine. His 
> poetry had developed, and would I believe have gone on to still 
> 
> P.D. 2 
> 
> 
> 
> greater strength after he had further assimilated and re-created 
> the powerful influence of Yeats. But I have left to the last, men- 
> tion of those characteristics which most endeared him as a 
> friend: humility, charity, generosity, and what I can only call 
> a fundamental goodness. 
> 
> In choosing a subject, I have had in mind that it should be a 
> subject in some way related to Theodore Spencer's interests, 
> and that it should be a subject on which he himself would have 
> liked to hear me. 
> 
> 
> ========================================================
> 
> http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1951/3/29/t-s-eliot-adds-650-to/
> 
> T. S. Eliot '10 has donated $650 to the Theodore Spencer Memorial Fund, the
> University announced yesterday.
> 
> This gift includes the fee of his lecture on "Poetry and Drama," the first
> Theodore Spencer Memorial Lecture, royalties from reprinting the lecture in
> the Atlantic Monthly, and rights from the University's publication of
> Eliot's lecture in book form this month.
> 
> The Theodore Spencer Memorial Fund honors the memory of the late Boylston
> Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, who died in November, 1949. 
> 
> ========================================================

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