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Dante in "The Waste Land"

An Excerpt from
"T. S. Eliot," by Philip R. Headings
Twayne Pub., 1964
..  =20
> pp. 56 - 61
> II Dantean Scheme and Intent
> Eliot wrote in 1935 that he wanted literature to be unconsciously rather=20
> than deliberately and defiantly Christian. This statement, of course,=20
> refers to technique as well as to content. In the same essay is expressed=20
> the view that reading does affect our moral and religious existence, and=20
> that the greatness of literature is not determined solely by literary=20
> standards: the poet's job is to present to his readers true worldly wisdom=
,=20
> which will lead up to other-worldly wisdom, and will be completed and=20
> fulfilled by it.=20
>=20
> As we emphasized in Chapter 2, Dante exerted a very strong influence on=20
> Eliot=E2=80=99s use of the Christian tradition, and especially on his use=20=
of its=20
> rituals in "The Waste Land": the crucifixion and resurrection; baptism; an=
d=20
> the burial ritual and liturgy, from which the first section of the poem=20
> takes its title. (The Mass is dramatically embodied in the Earthly Paradis=
e=20
> and Paradise sections of Dante's "Divine Comedy." Eliot followed that lead=
=20
> in writing "The Rock," "Murder in the Cathedral," and especially=20
> "Ash-Wednesday.")=20
>=20
> The Dantean scheme and intent are central to the unity and to the proper=20
> interpretation of "The Waste Land." The most immediately obvious borrowing=
s=20
> from the Divine Comedy are seen in the "crowd flowing over London Bridge"=20
> passage of Section I and in the "Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina"=20
> quotation at the end of the poem. Dante's influence, however, permeates th=
e=20
> whole poem, as a number of critics who compare it to Dante's "Inferno" hav=
e=20
> noted.
>=20
> Philo M. Buck, in his "Directions in Contemporary Literature," wrote of th=
e=20
> "irrelevant waste and despair that knows not its emptiness" seen in "The=20
> Waste Land," and he further pointed out that the purpose of Dante's=20
> "Inferno" is to make unregenerate humanity see, "with no veil to obscure,=20
> the ugliness of sin. Evil must be stripped of all of its false allure and=20
> stand before the poet naked, grotesque, and unashamed, not that he may=20
> recoil at its horror and stand in judgement ... but that he may suffer in=20
> mind and body the moral illness that is necessary before the discipline of=
=20
> Purgatory can be begun."=20
>=20
> This confrontation is precisely what the speaker of The Waste Land tries t=
o=20
> accomplish for the wastelanders. We see in the poem not the expression of=20
> such emptiness, but rather its description. That is, the attitudes depicte=
d=20
> are not those of the speaker, but rather states that he has recognized and=
=20
> transcended (as Mr. Buck goes on to point out).
>=20
> Thus the speaker, by recognizing its anatomy and significance, has passed=20
> out of hell, where no psychic postures except those observed are=20
> conceivable; and he has made the difficult transition into purgation of hi=
s=20
> damning tendencies =E2=80=93 has exercised "the good of the intellect." He=
 is aware=20
> of the antithetical poles of the poem's symbols, aware now of the depths o=
f=20
> its negative implications but also the height of its positive dimensions.=20
> He is aware both of "the prison" (involvement with the profitless aspects=20
> of the immediate) and of "the key." And thanks to the collocation in his=20
> mind of Buddha's "Fire Sermon," Shakespeare's "The Tempest," the three=20
> commands of the Hindu thunder myth, Christ's resurrection, St. Augustine's=
=20
> reversal, the Fisher King's restoration, and the other echoes in the poem,=
=20
> he is aware of the means needed to complete the transformation in his=20
> psychic focus to the high felicity of a properly ordered love.=20
>=20
> Hell, then, is represented In "The Waste Land" only through images. His=20
> contemporaries and readers, to whom the speaker addresses himself, are,=20
> like him, still living; and they have yet the possibility of putting the=20
> intellect to its good and proper use.=20
>=20
> Eliot, like Dante, tries to stimulate his reader to do so by showing first=
=20
> =E2=80=93 using language to communicate to the reader's bones and muscles=20=
=E2=80=93 the=20
> feel of inferno, and then by introducing guides from literature and=20
> tradition, both classical and contemporary, who help one understand what h=
e=20
> has seen and felt. And just as Dante has philosophical passages in which=20
> Virgil, Statius, Marco Lombardo, Beatrice, and others explain to Dante wha=
t=20
> he has already experienced so that he will understand it, will "use the=20
> good of the intellect," Eliot occasionally in the earlier poems and much=20
> more frequently in "Ash-Wednesday" and in the "Four Quartets" has written=20
> philosophical poetry aimed at the understanding of the reader as well as a=
t=20
> his senses =E2=80=93 the senses whose appeal the reader must transcend in=20=
order to=20
> escape inferno. "The Waste Land," however, omits all such explicit=20
> statements.=20
>=20
> The speaker sees his contemporaries largely in those attitudes of soul=20
> symbolized in Dante's "Inferno" either by the trimmers =E2=80=93 who "live=
d without=20
> blame, and without praise" and who are admitted neither to heaven nor the=20
> depths of hell (Dante's description of them is echoed in the lines "A crow=
d=20
> flowed over London Bridge, so many, / I had not thought death had undone s=
o=20
> many") =E2=80=93 or by the shades in Limbo who lived and died before Chris=
tianity=20
> and thus without baptism. Though they were virtuous, these latter shades=20
> occupy the first circle of Dante's hell (their description is echoed in=20
> Eliot's lines "Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, / And each man=20
> fixed his eyes before his feet"). But only if Eliot's Londoners are caught=
=20
> by death and frozen in such attitudes of the soul will they partake of=20
> hell.=20
>=20
> The meeting with Stetson (the reader) echoes the many passages in which=20
> Dante converses with the shades he and Virgil encounter in hell, and the=20
> Arnaut Daniel fragment at the end of the poem focuses the relevance to "Th=
e=20
> Waste Land" of the Dantean scheme, As with more borrowings in this poem=20
> than in any other, Eliot demands of his reader for full understanding a=20
> familiarity with the broad context of his borrowed line; for he hopes to=20
> send his readers on a tour through the works of literature most relevant t=
o=20
> the paramount problems of the wastelanders.=20
>=20
> Dante the Pilgrim meets Arnaut Daniel in the seventh and last cornice of=20
> purgatory, where the lustful are purged. As he previously ascended the=20
> stairway to this cornice with his guides, the pagan Virgil and the=20
> Christian Statius, the latter has expounded to Dante the doctrine of the=20
> development of the soul which further clarifies Marco Lombardo's discourse=
=20
> (already examined above in connection with "Animula"): Statius has linked=20
> the soul's history closely to divine love and to the reproductive processe=
s=20
> with their sexual basis. Through this discourse, Dante has been brought to=
=20
> understand the mode of existence of the shades populating Dante's hell,=20
> purgatory, and heaven.
>=20
> Similarly, Eliot's reader, in order to understand the workings of "The=20
> Waste Land's" imagery and structure, must become aware that the immediate=20
> scene, the "unreal city" of London, and the bodies of himself and his=20
> contemporaries are much less important than their souls.=20
>=20
> Virgil's explanation of purgatory emphasizes the fact that Dante (like=20
> Eliot's readers) is still alive, and that full repentance before death can=
=20
> bring one to such an advanced stage of purgation as this =E2=80=93 to the=20=
level of=20
> those in purgatory nearest their goal. For Arnaut is encountered shortly=20
> before the entrance to the Earthly Paradise at the top of Mount Purgatory.=
=20
> Dante has been allowed to experience these things before death, he says,=20
> through the grace of "a Lady above" =E2=80=93 through unearned good fortun=
e.=20
>=20
> The shades in Cornice VII of the "Purgatorio" are divided into two groups:=
=20
> those who suffer for homosexual lust and those who, though their lusts wer=
e=20
> heterosexual, "followed them like brute beasts." (Both groups have also=20
> been included in "The Waste Land." ) This last conversation with a=20
> suffering shade in purgatory indicates approximately the limits beyond=20
> which, in Dante's scheme, the unChristian knowledge of Virgil cannot=20
> progress. It takes place on the narrow path where those who pass on betwee=
n=20
> the flames and the cliff must go single file, alone; the nature of the=20
> progress beyond that point excludes help from outside; and it also require=
s=20
> the withdrawing of attachment to others or of love improperly directed=20
> toward them. And it is out of the searing flames that Arnaut addresses=20
> Dante.=20
>=20
> This necessity of renouncing lust is also the message of Buddha's "Fire=20
> Sermon," which like the present passage is couched in fire imagery =E2=80=
=93 though=20
> there the fire has only negative connotations; here it symbolizes both the=
=20
> burning flames of lust and the purging flames of proper love. Yet, though=20
> one must go alone to be plucked out of the first burning (lust) by the=20
> second (love), the plucking enables him to give, sympathize, and control,=20
> just as, when the two bands of shades pass in Dante's Cornice VII, each of=
=20
> them quickly kisses one of those in the other group and hurries on. Of thi=
s=20
> sympathy, this properly directed love, their lust formerly made them=20
> incapable.=20
>=20
> =E2=80=9CWhat Tiresias sees," "the substance of the poem" according to Eli=
ot's=20
> often-misinterpreted note, is therefore the necessity of pure concern for=20
> one's fellow-humans without the sins of lust that violate the proper=20
> natural order and make individuals incapable of genuine love. Like Dante's=
=20
> Virgil, though, Tiresias in =E2=80=9CThe Waste Land=E2=80=9D lacks the Chr=
istian=20
> dimension; and he is able to point one only so far as the earthly felicity=
=20
> represented in Dante's scheme by the Earthly Paradise at the top of Mount=20
> Purgatory.=20
>=20
> When =E2=80=9CThe Waste Land=E2=80=9D appeared in 1922, Eliot already had=20=
given frequent=20
> hints of his preoccupation with Arnaut=E2=80=99s speech, a passage earlier=
=20
> emphasized in Ezra Pound's =E2=80=9CThe Spirit of Romance=E2=80=9D; and in=
 1920 he had=20
> given the title =E2=80=9CAra Voc Prec=E2=80=9D to a collection of his poem=
s containing=20
> chiefly the observations of Dantean watchers of the fruits of improperly=20
> ordered love. He was later to use "Sovegna vos" in Part IV of=20
> =E2=80=9CAsh-Wednesday,=E2=80=9D and in his 1929 =E2=80=9CDante=E2=80=9D b=
ook he quoted the speech both=20
> in Provencal and in English translation. Because a number of the Provencal=
=20
> phrases are scattered through Eliot's works, it bears repeating here:=20
> >> "Ieu sui Arnaut, que plor e vau cantan;=20
>> consiros vei la passada folor,=20
>> e vei jausen lo jorn, qu' esper, denan.=20
>> Ara vos prec, per aquella valor=20
>> que vos guida al som de l=E2=80=99escalina,=20
>> sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.=E2=80=9D=20
>> POI S=E2=80=99 ASCOSE NEL FOCO CHE GLI AFFINA.
>> ("I am Arnold, who weeps and goes singing. I see in thought all the past=20
>> folly. And I see with joy the day for which I hope, before me. And so I=20
>> pray you, by that Virtue which leads you to the topmost of the stair =E2=
=80=93 be=20
>> mindful in due time of my pain. Then dived he back into that fire which=20
>> refines them.")=20
>>=20
>=20
>=20
> As Arnaut and his fellow shades speak to Dante, they take great care not t=
o=20
> step outside the painful flames which are purging them. It is crucial to=20
> note that their suffering is entirely voluntary. And this is not just a=20
> point of Dante's fiction. It is Thomistic doctrine. But more importantly,=20
> it is a psychological necessity known to the medical doctor as well as to=20
> the psychologist: the patient must will his own recovery =E2=80=93 the bit=
 can=20
> never be removed from the horse's mouth safely until he wants to go in the=
=20
> right direction. What is involved in Dante's purgatory is not mere=20
> punishment, but the willing acceptance of the effects of misguided,:=20
> defective, or excessive love which will make the sufferer aware of the=20
> improper nature of his past acts and will alter or erase his tendencies=20
> toward such acts.=20
>=20
> Thus at the top of Mount Purgatory he has achieved the regained innocence=20=
=E2=80=93=20
> not of ignorance but of understanding. And hence he recognizes the instant=
=20
> when his purgation in any one cornice of purgatory is complete, and nothin=
g=20
> holds him back to suffer further if his own improper focus does not.=20
>=20
> Such also is the nature of escape from Eliot's waste land; and, like Arnau=
t=20
> Daniel, Eliot's speaker has spoken out of the cleansing purgatorial fire=20
> only long enough to make clear to his hearers the nature of the place in=20
> which he has been met, of the ravages of lust in its most inclusive sense=20
> (the anatomy of hell), and of the process necessary to its transcendence=20=
=E2=80=93=20
> "Then dived he back into the fire that refines them." As Roy Battenhouse=20
>=20
   =20
> </HTML>

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Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
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<HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><P ALIGN=3DCENTER><FONT  COLOR=3D"#770000=
" SIZE=3D4 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial Narrow" LANG=3D"0"><B>Dante in=
 "The Waste Land"</FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D3 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERI=
F" FACE=3D"Arial Narrow" LANG=3D"0"></B>
<BR>
<BR>An Excerpt from
<BR><B>"T. S. Eliot," by Philip R. Headings</B>
<BR>Twayne Pub., 1964
<BR><P ALIGN=3DLEFT></FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#770000" SIZE=3D3 FAMILY=3D"SANSS=
ERIF" FACE=3D"Arial Narrow" LANG=3D"0">.</FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=
=3D3 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial Narrow" LANG=3D"0">   </FONT><FONT =20=
COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-=
LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">pp. 56 - 61
<BR><P ALIGN=3DCENTER></FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#770000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SAN=
SSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"><B>II Dantean Scheme and Intent</FONT><FON=
T  COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"=
></B>
<BR><P ALIGN=3DLEFT>Eliot wrote in 1935 that he wanted literature to be unco=
nsciously rather=20
<BR>than deliberately and defiantly Christian. This statement, of course,=20
<BR>refers to technique as well as to content. In the same essay is expresse=
d=20
<BR>the view that reading does affect our moral and religious existence, and=
=20
<BR>that the greatness of literature is not determined solely by literary=20
<BR>standards: the poet's job is to present to his readers true worldly wisd=
om,=20
<BR>which will lead up to other-worldly wisdom, and will be completed and=20
<BR>fulfilled by it.=20
<BR>
<BR>As we emphasized in Chapter 2, Dante exerted a very strong influence on=20
<BR>Eliot=E2=80=99s use of the Christian tradition, and especially on his us=
e of its=20
<BR>rituals in "The Waste Land": the crucifixion and resurrection; baptism;=20=
and=20
<BR>the burial ritual and liturgy, from which the first section of the poem=20
<BR>takes its title. (The Mass is dramatically embodied in the Earthly Parad=
ise=20
<BR>and Paradise sections of Dante's "Divine Comedy." Eliot followed that le=
ad=20
<BR>in writing "The Rock," "Murder in the Cathedral," and especially=20
<BR>"Ash-Wednesday.")=20
<BR>
<BR>The Dantean scheme and intent are central to the unity and to the proper=
=20
<BR>interpretation of "The Waste Land." The most immediately obvious borrowi=
ngs=20
<BR>from the Divine Comedy are seen in the "crowd flowing over London Bridge=
"=20
<BR>passage of Section I and in the "Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina"=20
<BR>quotation at the end of the poem. Dante's influence, however, permeates=20=
the=20
<BR>whole poem, as a number of critics who compare it to Dante's "Inferno" h=
ave=20
<BR>noted.
<BR>
<BR>Philo M. Buck, in his "Directions in Contemporary Literature," wrote of=20=
the=20
<BR>"irrelevant waste and despair that knows not its emptiness" seen in "The=
=20
<BR>Waste Land," and he further pointed out that the purpose of Dante's=20
<BR>"Inferno" is to make unregenerate humanity see, "with no veil to obscure=
,=20
<BR>the ugliness of sin. Evil must be stripped of all of its false allure an=
d=20
<BR>stand before the poet naked, grotesque, and unashamed, not that he may=20
<BR>recoil at its horror and stand in judgement ... but that he may suffer i=
n=20
<BR>mind and body the moral illness that is necessary before the discipline=20=
of=20
<BR>Purgatory can be begun."=20
<BR>
<BR>This confrontation is precisely what the speaker of The Waste Land tries=
 to=20
<BR>accomplish for the wastelanders. We see in the poem not the expression o=
f=20
<BR>such emptiness, but rather its description. That is, the attitudes depic=
ted=20
<BR>are not those of the speaker, but rather states that he has recognized a=
nd=20
<BR>transcended (as Mr. Buck goes on to point out).
<BR>
<BR>Thus the speaker, by recognizing its anatomy and significance, has passe=
d=20
<BR>out of hell, where no psychic postures except those observed are=20
<BR>conceivable; and he has made the difficult transition into purgation of=20=
his=20
<BR>damning tendencies =E2=80=93 has exercised "the good of the intellect."=20=
He is aware=20
<BR>of the antithetical poles of the poem's symbols, aware now of the depths=
 of=20
<BR>its negative implications but also the height of its positive dimensions=
..=20
<BR>He is aware both of "the prison" (involvement with the profitless aspect=
s=20
<BR>of the immediate) and of "the key." And thanks to the collocation in his=
=20
<BR>mind of Buddha's "Fire Sermon," Shakespeare's "The Tempest," the three=20
<BR>commands of the Hindu thunder myth, Christ's resurrection, St. Augustine=
's=20
<BR>reversal, the Fisher King's restoration, and the other echoes in the poe=
m,=20
<BR>he is aware of the means needed to complete the transformation in his=20
<BR>psychic focus to the high felicity of a properly ordered love.=20
<BR>
<BR>Hell, then, is represented In "The Waste Land" only through images. His=20
<BR>contemporaries and readers, to whom the speaker addresses himself, are,=20
<BR>like him, still living; and they have yet the possibility of putting the=
=20
<BR>intellect to its good and proper use.=20
<BR>
<BR>Eliot, like Dante, tries to stimulate his reader to do so by showing fir=
st=20
<BR>=E2=80=93 using language to communicate to the reader's bones and muscle=
s =E2=80=93 the=20
<BR>feel of inferno, and then by introducing guides from literature and=20
<BR>tradition, both classical and contemporary, who help one understand what=
 he=20
<BR>has seen and felt. And just as Dante has philosophical passages in which=
=20
<BR>Virgil, Statius, Marco Lombardo, Beatrice, and others explain to Dante w=
hat=20
<BR>he has already experienced so that he will understand it, will "use the=20
<BR>good of the intellect," Eliot occasionally in the earlier poems and much=
=20
<BR>more frequently in "Ash-Wednesday" and in the "Four Quartets" has writte=
n=20
<BR>philosophical poetry aimed at the understanding of the reader as well as=
 at=20
<BR>his senses =E2=80=93 the senses whose appeal the reader must transcend i=
n order to=20
<BR>escape inferno. "The Waste Land," however, omits all such explicit=20
<BR>statements.=20
<BR>
<BR>The speaker sees his contemporaries largely in those attitudes of soul=20
<BR>symbolized in Dante's "Inferno" either by the trimmers =E2=80=93 who "li=
ved without=20
<BR>blame, and without praise" and who are admitted neither to heaven nor th=
e=20
<BR>depths of hell (Dante's description of them is echoed in the lines "A cr=
owd=20
<BR>flowed over London Bridge, so many, / I had not thought death had undone=
 so=20
<BR>many") =E2=80=93 or by the shades in Limbo who lived and died before Chr=
istianity=20
<BR>and thus without baptism. Though they were virtuous, these latter shades=
=20
<BR>occupy the first circle of Dante's hell (their description is echoed in=20
<BR>Eliot's lines "Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, / And each man=
=20
<BR>fixed his eyes before his feet"). But only if Eliot's Londoners are caug=
ht=20
<BR>by death and frozen in such attitudes of the soul will they partake of=20
<BR>hell.=20
<BR>
<BR>The meeting with Stetson (the reader) echoes the many passages in which=20
<BR>Dante converses with the shades he and Virgil encounter in hell, and the=
=20
<BR>Arnaut Daniel fragment at the end of the poem focuses the relevance to "=
The=20
<BR>Waste Land" of the Dantean scheme, As with more borrowings in this poem=20
<BR>than in any other, Eliot demands of his reader for full understanding a=20
<BR>familiarity with the broad context of his borrowed line; for he hopes to=
=20
<BR>send his readers on a tour through the works of literature most relevant=
 to=20
<BR>the paramount problems of the wastelanders.=20
<BR>
<BR>Dante the Pilgrim meets Arnaut Daniel in the seventh and last cornice of=
=20
<BR>purgatory, where the lustful are purged. As he previously ascended the=20
<BR>stairway to this cornice with his guides, the pagan Virgil and the=20
<BR>Christian Statius, the latter has expounded to Dante the doctrine of the=
=20
<BR>development of the soul which further clarifies Marco Lombardo's discour=
se=20
<BR>(already examined above in connection with "Animula"): Statius has linke=
d=20
<BR>the soul's history closely to divine love and to the reproductive proces=
ses=20
<BR>with their sexual basis. Through this discourse, Dante has been brought=20=
to=20
<BR>understand the mode of existence of the shades populating Dante's hell,=20
<BR>purgatory, and heaven.
<BR>
<BR>Similarly, Eliot's reader, in order to understand the workings of "The=20
<BR>Waste Land's" imagery and structure, must become aware that the immediat=
e=20
<BR>scene, the "unreal city" of London, and the bodies of himself and his=20
<BR>contemporaries are much less important than their souls.=20
<BR>
<BR>Virgil's explanation of purgatory emphasizes the fact that Dante (like=20
<BR>Eliot's readers) is still alive, and that full repentance before death c=
an=20
<BR>bring one to such an advanced stage of purgation as this =E2=80=93 to th=
e level of=20
<BR>those in purgatory nearest their goal. For Arnaut is encountered shortly=
=20
<BR>before the entrance to the Earthly Paradise at the top of Mount Purgator=
y.=20
<BR>Dante has been allowed to experience these things before death, he says,=
=20
<BR>through the grace of "a Lady above" =E2=80=93 through unearned good fort=
une.=20
<BR>
<BR>The shades in Cornice VII of the "Purgatorio" are divided into two group=
s:=20
<BR>those who suffer for homosexual lust and those who, though their lusts w=
ere=20
<BR>heterosexual, "followed them like brute beasts." (Both groups have also=20
<BR>been included in "The Waste Land." ) This last conversation with a=20
<BR>suffering shade in purgatory indicates approximately the limits beyond=20
<BR>which, in Dante's scheme, the unChristian knowledge of Virgil cannot=20
<BR>progress. It takes place on the narrow path where those who pass on betw=
een=20
<BR>the flames and the cliff must go single file, alone; the nature of the=20
<BR>progress beyond that point excludes help from outside; and it also requi=
res=20
<BR>the withdrawing of attachment to others or of love improperly directed=20
<BR>toward them. And it is out of the searing flames that Arnaut addresses=20
<BR>Dante.=20
<BR>
<BR>This necessity of renouncing lust is also the message of Buddha's "Fire=20
<BR>Sermon," which like the present passage is couched in fire imagery =E2=
=80=93 though=20
<BR>there the fire has only negative connotations; here it symbolizes both t=
he=20
<BR>burning flames of lust and the purging flames of proper love. Yet, thoug=
h=20
<BR>one must go alone to be plucked out of the first burning (lust) by the=20
<BR>second (love), the plucking enables him to give, sympathize, and control=
,=20
<BR>just as, when the two bands of shades pass in Dante's Cornice VII, each=20=
of=20
<BR>them quickly kisses one of those in the other group and hurries on. Of t=
his=20
<BR>sympathy, this properly directed love, their lust formerly made them=20
<BR>incapable.=20
<BR>
<BR>=E2=80=9CWhat Tiresias sees," "the substance of the poem" according to E=
liot's=20
<BR>often-misinterpreted note, is therefore the necessity of pure concern fo=
r=20
<BR>one's fellow-humans without the sins of lust that violate the proper=20
<BR>natural order and make individuals incapable of genuine love. Like Dante=
's=20
<BR>Virgil, though, Tiresias in =E2=80=9CThe Waste Land=E2=80=9D lacks the C=
hristian=20
<BR>dimension; and he is able to point one only so far as the earthly felici=
ty=20
<BR>represented in Dante's scheme by the Earthly Paradise at the top of Moun=
t=20
<BR>Purgatory.=20
<BR>
<BR>When =E2=80=9CThe Waste Land=E2=80=9D appeared in 1922, Eliot already ha=
d given frequent=20
<BR>hints of his preoccupation with Arnaut=E2=80=99s speech, a passage earli=
er=20
<BR>emphasized in Ezra Pound's =E2=80=9CThe Spirit of Romance=E2=80=9D; and=20=
in 1920 he had=20
<BR>given the title =E2=80=9CAra Voc Prec=E2=80=9D to a collection of his po=
ems containing=20
<BR>chiefly the observations of Dantean watchers of the fruits of improperly=
=20
<BR>ordered love. He was later to use "Sovegna vos" in Part IV of=20
<BR>=E2=80=9CAsh-Wednesday,=E2=80=9D and in his 1929 =E2=80=9CDante=E2=80=
=9D book he quoted the speech both=20
<BR>in Provencal and in English translation. Because a number of the Provenc=
al=20
<BR>phrases are scattered through Eliot's works, it bears repeating here:=20
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#770000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Ar=
ial" LANG=3D"0"><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px so=
lid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">"Ieu sui Arnaut=
, que plor e vau cantan;=20
<BR>consiros vei la passada folor,=20
<BR>e vei jausen lo jorn, qu' esper, denan.=20
<BR>Ara vos prec, per aquella valor=20
<BR>que vos guida al som de l=E2=80=99escalina,=20
<BR>sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.=E2=80=9D=20
<BR>POI S=E2=80=99 ASCOSE NEL FOCO CHE GLI AFFINA.</FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#00=
0000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#770000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Ar=
ial" LANG=3D"0">("I am Arnold, who weeps and goes singing. I see in thought=20=
all the past=20
<BR>folly. And I see with joy the day for which I hope, before me. And so I=20
<BR>pray you, by that Virtue which leads you to the topmost of the stair=20=
=E2=80=93 be=20
<BR>mindful in due time of my pain. Then dived he back into that fire which=20
<BR>refines them.")</FONT><FONT  COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSE=
RIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">=20
<BR></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BR>
<BR>
<BR>As Arnaut and his fellow shades speak to Dante, they take great care not=
 to=20
<BR>step outside the painful flames which are purging them. It is crucial to=
=20
<BR>note that their suffering is entirely voluntary. And this is not just a=20
<BR>point of Dante's fiction. It is Thomistic doctrine. But more importantly=
,=20
<BR>it is a psychological necessity known to the medical doctor as well as t=
o=20
<BR>the psychologist: the patient must will his own recovery =E2=80=93 the b=
it can=20
<BR>never be removed from the horse's mouth safely until he wants to go in t=
he=20
<BR>right direction. What is involved in Dante's purgatory is not mere=20
<BR>punishment, but the willing acceptance of the effects of misguided,:=20
<BR>defective, or excessive love which will make the sufferer aware of the=20
<BR>improper nature of his past acts and will alter or erase his tendencies=20
<BR>toward such acts.=20
<BR>
<BR>Thus at the top of Mount Purgatory he has achieved the regained innocenc=
e =E2=80=93=20
<BR>not of ignorance but of understanding. And hence he recognizes the insta=
nt=20
<BR>when his purgation in any one cornice of purgatory is complete, and noth=
ing=20
<BR>holds him back to suffer further if his own improper focus does not.=20
<BR>
<BR>Such also is the nature of escape from Eliot's waste land; and, like Arn=
aut=20
<BR>Daniel, Eliot's speaker has spoken out of the cleansing purgatorial fire=
=20
<BR>only long enough to make clear to his hearers the nature of the place in=
=20
<BR>which he has been met, of the ravages of lust in its most inclusive sens=
e=20
<BR>(the anatomy of hell), and of the process necessary to its transcendence=
 =E2=80=93=20
<BR>"Then dived he back into the fire that refines them." As Roy Battenhouse=
=20
<BR>says, Eliot has in his poetry made a vocation of diving back into the fi=
re. </BLOCKQUOTE>
<BR>   =20
<BR><P ALIGN=3DCENTER><IMG  SRC=3D"http://cityhonors.buffalo.k12.ny.us/city/=
rsrcs/eng/auth/elibut.jpg" WIDTH=3D"152" HEIGHT=3D"18" BORDER=3D"0"></P></P>=
</P></P></P></FONT> </HTML>

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