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TSE  October 2013

TSE October 2013

Subject:

Re: Weston/Grail

From:

Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Fri, 4 Oct 2013 19:54:40 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (98 lines)

Peter

You make a very thought provoking comment.  Where indeed?  

Gillis in "The Waste Land as Grail Romance" ,  (Graduate Studies, Texas Tech University #6 feb 1974 page 18), thinks the Madame Sosostris passage to "present the knight at the very beginning of his quest".  Gillis equates Madame Sosostris with a priestess in the Greek mystery cults.  If this reading is good then the where it takes us is on the quest of the grail but as a modern myth.

To me,the merchant sort of passing by carrying the grail on his back could be TWL's version of the parading of the legend's grail around the room in the castle.  After that parade the Grail disappears and the quest starts.

I think I find myself falling into my earlier mode of treating TWL as some sort of mystical work only to be understood after occult study.  As penance i will read Pound's canto 54 on the burning of the books.

 :>) :>)

Rick Seddon
Portales, NM
[log in to unmask]

On Oct 4, 2013, at 6:34 PM, Peter Dillane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi Rick, Hi Tom,
> 
> Rick if it is the Grail where does that take us? That's not a challenge just an enquiry to guide my thoughts.  I think this  line from Mme Sosostris and another 'I bring the horoscope myself one must be so careful these days' are interesting because they break up and I would argue diminish the authority of  the narrative of the cards. 
> The act of being a seer/ clairvoyante relies for its integrity, status or credibility on being able to see on behalf of those who come to you . A reading of the cards has an internal  contradiction if it is is not an unedited access to the other side. What might be  the authority of an edited clairvoyance?  And who is doing the editing? Ultimately the buck stops with the author regardless of any gods in the machinery along the way. Nevertheless it leaves the reader primed for the appearance of Eugenides and alert to any unstated baggage he carries.
> 
> And then what to make of the line about bringing the horoscope myself.  I see it as a gentle laugh at the Madame but I accept this could be a very poor understanding - which happens when a reader can't take the world view  of a character seriously. But it comes abruptly in the poem and makes a claim for the real world importance or consequence of a reading.  Suggesting that a horoscope has some agreed value or power  which might lead to it being taken by force or used improperly by another.
> 
> I think Colleen Lamos' paper in Nancy and Cassandra Laity's book ('The love song of T S Eliot : Elegiac homoeroticism in the early poetry") is interesting. She says that Eliot " found a way of articulating same-gender desire that eluded the narrow  terms of homosexual definition in his day and that affirmed his masculine identity."   I do take your earlier point of how you read The Waste Land now. But I consider it difficult nigh impossible to disentangle "those are pearls" from its original context in Ariel's song and all the nuances of a lost loved one crafted into something beatific but also alien. Lamos says the poet evokes the death of a love he cannot affirm that it is a melancholia with no discernible object.
> 
> The Grail is now the preserve of every manner of writing so it is hard to re capture its imaginitive status but even when it was a crisp idea -back at  Chretien or whoever- it strikes me as a difficult object of quest to appreciate.
> 
> Excuse my vulgarity but I can't help but think of Arthur in Monty Python being sent on his way by the French man telling him that they are not interested in joining the quest for the Grail because they already have one. (And to be completely gratuitous I will mention the anarcho-syndicalist peasant who discounts the lady of the lake and excalibur with "listen mate strange women in ponds dispensing daggers is no basis for a system of government." Both strophes a measure of our distance from when it might matter enough to allow some suspension of disbelief)
> 
> Cheers Pete
> 
> 
> On 05/10/2013, at 2:47 AM, Richard Seddon wrote:
> 
>> I regret offending you.
>> 
>> The argument for homosexual themes in TWL has long history on this list.  
>> 
>> Nancy Gish, of this list, along with Cassandra Laity edited a fairly recent important book on sexuality in TSE's work where many of these themes are discussed.  "Gender, Desire, and Sexuality in T .S.  Eliot"".  
>> 
>> Rick Parker, also, of this list, has a very informative monograph of TSE's relationship with Jean Verdenal on his web site  www.std.com/~raparker/exploring/the wasteland/explore
>> 
>> I, on the other hand, seem obsessed with pointing out other themes and alternative readings to those instances.
>> 
>> Rick Seddon
>> Portales,NM
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Oct 4, 2013, at 5:43 AM, tcolket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> Rick wrote:
>>> ============
>>> I renew my idea that the object being carried by the one-eyed merchant is the Grail and that this episode may be central to TSE's note in TWL to Weston and the Grail legend.
>>> ============
>>> 
>>> As with all other "predictions" made by Sosostris, the narrator soon meets an actual Smyrna merchant.  Eugenides' proposition for a weekend at the Metropole is an invitation for a gay liason, which is the evidence I site when I say that what he "carries on his back" and what you are "forbidden to see" is not a phyical object like the Grail but rather his secret burden of his sexuality (which was the prevailing societal attitude in 1922).
>>> 
>>> By the way, if you truly don't understand the offense in calling a reading other than yours "obsessed", especially when I'm directly citing TWL passages, then it's difficult to continue this discussion.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -------- Original message --------
>>> From: Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> 
>>> Date: 10/04/2013 12:17 AM (GMT-05:00) 
>>> To: [log in to unmask] 
>>> Subject: Weston/Grail 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Dear List
>>> 
>>> This concerns Madame Sosostris and her comments on line 53-54 about the one-eyed merchant carrying something on his back that Madame Sosostris cannot see.  I have maintained that this something is the Grail.
>>> 
>>> Sometime ago i advanced the idea that Weston described the grail as invisible to women.  I got rightfully taken to task for that and had to admit I was commenting sans book or notes.   And, as it turns out Weston did not say it was invisible to woman but she did write that it could not be spoken about by women.
>>> 
>>> I still have not found my book, curses on who ever i loaned it too, but I did find my notes.   The following is pertinent and taken from those notes.
>>> 
>>> My edition is/was the 1993 Princeton Paperback.  On page 137 Weston says concerning the grail:  "It is so secret a thing that no woman, be she wife or maid, may venture to speak of it."  Later Weston says, "From this evidence there is no doubt that to the romance writers the Grail was something secret mysterious and awful, the exact knowledge of which was reserved to a few, and which was only to be spoken of with bated breath, and a careful regard to accuracy."  
>>> 
>>> The one eyed jack in a card deck is either a heart or a spade and on page 70 Weston says that the Hearts suit is associated in the tarot with the cup (Grail?).  The spade suit is apparently associated with the sword and Weston has an entire chapter on the sword dancers of the grail legend.
>>> 
>>> Madame Sosostris is doing a reading from a tarot deck and so claims to not be able to "see" what the one-eyed merchant is carrying so that she does not have to speak of it.
>>> 
>>> I renew my idea that the object being carried by the one-eyed merchant is the Grail and that this episode may be central to TSE's note in TWL to Weston and the Grail legend.
>>> 
>>> Rick Seddon
>>> Portales, NM
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Richard Seddon
>>> [log in to unmask]
> 

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