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TSE  August 2013

TSE August 2013

Subject:

Re: The Waste Land - a Tarot reading

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:44:16 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (235 lines)

We don't absolutely "know" it any more than we do any other reference. But the reference was said to be commonly known. I will have to look up the sources of the claim when I get back to the States in September. But it has been stated as a fact by many sources.


On the other hand, we don't "know" which of the many meanings might be best attached to Tiresias, for example. So I'll look it up when I can.
Cheers,
Nancy



>>> Peter Dillane  08/26/13 11:18 AM >>>
Hi Nancy and Carrol,

How do we know that Mr Eugenides is asking a male out? 

He is a study in libidinous importunity ( unshaven and his pocket full of currants to me figures a kind of hedonistic indifference to polite convention or perhaps a foreigner inappropriateness) but I cant see he has to be homosexual. 

The pocket full of currants might suggest a masturbatory tic but it doesnt locate the sexuality unless of course one turns to the reputed event in the poet's life or the local understanding of the reputation of the Cannon Street Hotel or the Metropole.

I am not suggesting anything as sophisticated as Jewel Spears Brookers observation that it is impossible to say that the proposition is homosexual because Tiresias throbs between two lives male and female. I am just making the simple observation that if we were to try to ascribe a status to this trope as personal vs something less then I dont have an anchor that says now I am a male narrator.

cheers pete 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nancy Gish 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 6:07 PM
  Subject: Re: The Waste Land - a Tarot reading


  Dear Carrol,

  That depends on whether you think there was anxiety about homoerotic feelings that made this incident resonate for Eliot. I have no strong view on that, but it has many potential bases for being possible or likely. Making him into a Smyrna merchant with a pocketful of currents may just fit the poem, but the incident itself is as probable a source for personal response as his marriage or any other event in his life. Given his later outrage and extreme response to Peters's article suggesting homosexuality, the issue evoked an extreme response. I don't think you can make any definite statement about the relative importance of that and his marriage.
  Cheers,
  Nancy



  >>> Carrol Cox  08/25/13 11:43 PM >>>
  Use of events from the writer's personal experience is not necessarily the
  same as being influenced by those events. E.g., if an author once visited
  (say) Arthur Illinois, and afterwards puts a horse and buggy in a book, it
  does not mean that he/she was influenced by Amish religious doctrine. Very
  possibly Mr. Eugenides as a personal event is merely a case of an author
  grabbing a detail from life even though the detail has no deep personal
  significance: it's just a detail that fits the poem. Cf. the Church bell
  with a particular dull sound. The details from his marriage, on the other
  hand, are probably part of what he called his grouch against life. I rather
  doubt that the joking reference to naval sodomy in Mansfield Park echoed
  Austen's attitude towards her brothers. The plot of the book, not the
  personal feelings of the author, called on that bit of punning. I think the
  same is true of Eliot's use of Mr. Eugenides -- it was the poem, not his
  personal response, that called for its use. 

  Carrol

  > -----Original Message-----
  > From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
  > Behalf Of Nancy Gish
  > Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2013 4:48 PM
  > To: [log in to unmask]
  > Subject: Re: The Waste Land - a Tarot reading
  > 
  > It's recorded somewhere, possibly in the Facsimile, that this encounter is
  one
  > that actually happened; some man did say something like this to Eliot
  > according to the report, and I think it was Eliot who said it. I'm not at
  home,
  > so I can't check. In any case, Eliot knew Russell extremely well (too well
  in
  > some respects), and there is nothing in Mr. Eugenides like Russell, who
  was a
  > Lord, not a merchant, had no base in Smyrna, and was not gay. And at that
  > point Eliot knew about the Russell/Viv affair. So he would hardly make
  > Russell into a man suggesting a night together.
  > 
  > There are, in fact, some parts of TWL for which Eliot's source is known
  > because he told about them. For example, he actually met and talked with
  > Marie Larisch.
  > Nancy
  > 
  > >>> Tom Colket 08/25/13 5:35 PM >>>
  > 
  > CR:
  > 
  > I basically agree with you, both with your thought that Eliot turned
  > people/events from his life into art, and with many of the specific images
  you
  > identify in TWL.
  > 
  > The one I disagree with is your identification of Mr. Eugenides with
  Bertrand
  > Russell. In TWL, Mr. Eugenides invites the narrator to lunch at the Cannon
  > Street Hotel followed by a weekend at the Metropole. This is understood to
  > be "code" for a homosexual proposition, Bertrand Russell was a lady's man
  > who had numerous affairs, including one with Eliot's wife Vivienne. It's
  > doubtful that Russell inspired the Mr. Eugenides character.
  > 
  > On the topic of Mr. Eugenides, a big question to answer in TWL is why he
  > appears as one of only a handful of images specifically called out by
  Madame
  > Sosostris as the narrator's fortune is being (accurately) told. This
  elevates
  > him to an importance not accorded other figures in the poem who are left
  > out of the told fortune. For example, consider the characters _not_
  > mentioned by Sosostris, such as Marie, Stetson, the Thames daughters, the
  > young man carbuncular, etc. I believe it's important to understand why the
  > Eugenides character is so prominent in the narrator's "fortune."
  > 
  > -- Tom --
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > ________________________________
  > 
  > Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 11:31:05 -0700
  > From: [log in to unmask]
  > Subject: The Waste Land - a Tarot reading
  > To: [log in to unmask]
  > 
  > 
  > what TWL cards remind me of
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "Here is the man with three staves..."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > The poet -- "What might have been . . ."
  > 
  > 
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "Here, said she, is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > The poet -- "What has been . . ."
  > 
  > 
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "Here is Belladonna, The Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > Vivienne, the lady on the 'burnished throne' in A Game of Chess.
  > 
  > 
  > Vis-a-vis her, the poet laments:
  > Between the idea
  > And the reality
  > Between the motion
  > And the act
  > Falls the Shadow
  > For Thine is the Kingdom
  > 
  > Between the conception
  > And the creation
  > Between the emotion
  > And the response
  > Falls the Shadow
  > Life is very long
  > 
  > Between the desire
  > And the spasm
  > Between the potency
  > And the existence
  > Between the essence
  > And the descent
  > Falls the Shadow
  > For Thine is the Kingdom
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "And here is the one-eyed merchant..."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > Bertrand Russell, the atheist, who doled out help because it was business
  for
  > him as usual.
  > 
  > 
  > "Stetson!
  > You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
  > That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
  > Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
  > Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
  > Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
  > Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!"
  > 
  > 
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "I do not find The Hanged Man."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > He who was living is now dead
  > We who were living are now dying
  > With a little patience
  > 
  > 
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > "...and here The Wheel..."
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > Time present and time past
  > Are both perhaps present in time future
  > And time future contained in time past.
  > If all time is eternally present
  > All time is unredeemable.
  > 
  > 
  > ---
  > 
  > 
  > CR

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