Although Greg Foster has honored me as co-owner of the TSE list, the
creation of the list was Greg's idea. I also have the privilege of being
the director of Greg's dissertation, but all members of his Ph.D. committee
will tell you that Greg delivers finished work and needs no directing. By
the way, despite his obsession with Eliot's obsession he is not at all the
kind of chap who would, even once in a lifetime, do a girl in.
Thanks to those who have started us off. I hope we can all indulge in
biographical speculation without (among ourselves) worrying how valid it
might be when writing criticism. Auden thought such criticism utterly
invalid, but loved more than anyone gossiping about the great. I get lots
of bio/ questions about TSE lately because of that damn (excuse please if
the word violates list netiquette) movie. Even so, I refuse to see _Tom
Brice wants to know if we should drop our signature files. I don't see why
since they take up little space. What I occasionally find a problem,
however, on some lists is when long posts are repeated in someone else's
post. (Also I should tell you that in his computer composition classes Greg
is a stickler for full and accurate e-mail subject lines!) Brice asks if
we should talk about Ezra Pound also. My vote is that Pound's fans can get
their own list! (In fact, they probably do have one. Tim Redman or Hugh
Witemeyer should know and maybe will write in to tell us.) Finally, I hope
everyone can feel relaxed about spelling and sentence structure--even tho
there must be a fair number of English profs on the list. Its nice to feel
you dont have to stick in every apostrophe or spell everything write.
My interest in Eliot may be seen in a chapter of my forthcoming _Modernist
Alchemy: Modern Poetry and the Occult_. I don't of course claim that Eliot
was an occultist. (Nor does Leon Surette.) In the Eliot chapter and
throughout the book, I use Eliot's critique of the poetic and spiritual
dangers of occultism (particularly seen in his criticism of Yeats) to
anchor my own criticism of the problems inherent in literary occultism.
How I wish I knew about what William Goodwin quotes from Richard Aldington
while I was still revising my book!
poets love lizards and snakes--sacred to Phoebus,' he told H.D. in 1960,
'Tom Eliot screams when he sees one!!'" (And the title of the review is, of
course, "Real poets love lizards.")
There will be a big golden lizard--a salamander actually (which can live in
fire)--on the cover of my book. (If you are at the Chicago MLA, I hope it
will be there at the Cornell booth.) It's surely true that poets love
lizards--Yeats's polar dragon, Pound's blue viper. In distinguishing Eliot
from occultist poets, I quote the following from "The Rock" (X):
The great snake lies ever half awake, at the bottom of the pit of the world
.. . . . Come ye out from among those who prize the serpent's golden eyes."
Leon, anything to add here?
Welcome! and thank you, Greg Foster!
Director of Lower Division Studies
882-2356 Fall office hours:
MWF 10:40-11:40 and by appt.