A critic is a "living" person who likes to tell a dead person how to write better.
Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>There are certain 'themes" that unavoidably appear in _any_ text, even if
>the writer is trying hard to avoid them. Two such themes are "appearance and
>reality" and "chaos and order." Over the years many critics have made fun of
>criticism grounded in the discovery of such. I would occasionally tell my
>lit classes that if they ever found themselves at 1 a.m. with a paper to
>complete for an 8 o'clock class, they should write on the emergence of
>order from chaos in any old text -- and could complete the paper by 3 a.m.
>The following limerick is a powerful instance both of appearance (too many
>syllables) & order -- successful rhythm emerging from the apparent chaos of
>words in the last line.
>There was a young man from Japan
>Whose limericks never would scan
>When told it was so
>He said yes I know
>But I always try to get as many words into the last line as ever I possibly
>From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>Of Nancy Gish
>Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:45 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Hieronymo's mad againe
>Unfortunately, not at all. The context in which Hieronymo is "mad againe" is
>complex and all about the mix and confusion of languages. And his madness is
>quite specific, not in any way a divine madness. Eliot's placement of this
>murderous and raging madness immediately after the series of many languages
>is far more intricate than that one word--and too long to go over here.
>But without studying it, you cannot attribute any specific significance to
>the allusion and certainly none of the ones you impose: they simply do not
>fit the context of the source even slightly.
>>>> Chanan Mittal 04/16/14 11:34 AM >>>
>Words and lines are defined by the context in which they're placed. And I've
>given context enough, I'm sure.
>On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It's the Fluellen school of theory.
> >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]
> Perhaps if you read the play, you would rethink Hieronymo: he wants
>to kill people. And he does. Their voices are all in different languages so
>no one in the play he's arranging will know that it is a kind of snuff play.
>That this is divine madness is a bit hard on the divine.
> The notion that the poem must, somehow, be fit into "a pattern of
>order" has been in question for decades. So I question why making murder
>into divine frenzy is an apt way to do it.
> One might see the reference to Hieronymo, like the reference to the
>Versailles Treaty in the last line, is an implicit recognition that Order is
>a delusion. CR's ruminations remind me of a student in an 18th-c lit class
>who thought The Modest Proposal was evidence of cannibalism among Irish
>peasants. The "logic" is the same: take one element, even one word, ignore
>context, spin a fantasy around that one isolated 'fact,' and then see that
>fantasy as part of the text.
> For example: an interpreter interpreting this post could note the
>word "Irish" above, note that there is such a thing as Irish coffee, then
>use the word coffee to arrive at the interesting conclusion that Cox has
>written a comparative study of the economies of Brazil and Cuba: they both
>grow coffee. THEN that same adventurous interpreter could note that this
>post occurs in a thread on TWL and triumphantly announce that TWL is an Ode
> It's a promising technique.