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Dear Ron,

Not being troubled by ennui, I was quite easy already, but I appreciate your 
concern.
Nancy


Date sent:      	Fri, 11 Jan 2002 20:23:10 -0800
Send reply to:  	[log in to unmask]
From:           	"Ron Houssaye" <[log in to unmask]>
To:             	<[log in to unmask]>
Subject:        	Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?

Dear Nancy,

  My ennui is not disturbed on your account, so you can rest easy. :) Ron

----- Original Message -----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2002 9:53 AM
Subject: Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?


> Dear Ron,
>
> Please do not disturb your ennui on my account.  Ennui is such a
> satisfying sensation and relenting so unnecessary.  And there are
> already, as you know, so many books and articles on Eliot's sexuality
> that there is no need at all to write a new one unless there is
> something new to say. Nancy
>
>
>
>
> Date sent:      Fri, 11 Jan 2002 03:23:39 -0800
> Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]
> From:           "Ron Houssaye" <[log in to unmask]>
> To:             <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:        Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
>
> Dear Nancy,
>
>   I relent.  After reading the posts tonight on this issue, I have
>   decided
> to participate in the discussion, because Painted Shadow introduces more
> questions than it answers, questions that should be answered better than
> in a tabloid fashion.  Your points that it's well known his early poetry
> has crude sexual references, that he lived in a culture of men, wore
> makeup, are noteable.  Steve gave a good re-framing of the book, which I
> wish had accompanied the excerpts he sent to the List, but oh well.  Was
> TWL an elegy to Verdanel?  Let's weigh what evidence, then.  All in all,
> this sexuality discussion is piqueing my interest in the psychological
> state of Eliot, painting the picture of a very divided genius.  And I
> wonder if he did in fact tell his executor to supress everything that
> was supressable, as someone stated.  Hmmmmmmmmmm ... well, well, well.
> Someone ought to write a new book on TSE: Was Eliot Queer, and other
> Literary Matters.
>
> With great ennui,
> Ron
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 7:36 AM
> Subject: Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
>
>
> > Dear Ron,
> >
> > Well, you did not say you did not wish to; you said it should not be
> > done. And the reason Eliot scholars do is to understand the poems. 
> > What other reason would there be? Nancy
> >
> >
> >
> > Date sent:      Thu, 10 Jan 2002 00:12:56 -0800
> > Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]
> > From:           "Ron Houssaye" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To:             <[log in to unmask]>
> > Subject:        Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
> >
> > Nancy,
> >
> >    Yes, clearly Eliot scholars have investigated this and will.  My
> >    reason
> > for not desiring to is because for me it distracts from discussion of
> > the poems.
> >
> > Ron Houssaye
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 8:36 AM
> > Subject: Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
> >
> >
> > > In a few words, "Why not, since it has been a topic for serious
> > > scholars
> > for
> > > a very long time, including James Miller, Wayne Koestenbaum, Collen
> > > Lamos, and Tim Dean?"  Or, more important, why should any topic
> > > treated seriously be excluded from discussion and debate? Nancy
> > >
> > >
> > > Date sent:      Wed, 9 Jan 2002 00:07:15 -0800
> > > Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]
> > > From:           "Ron Houssaye" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To:             <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Subject:        Re: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
> > >
> > > Ah, in a word, no.
> > >
> > > Ron Houssaye
> > >
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 11:18 PM
> > > Subject: TSE gay? Should this be discussed?
> > >
> > >
> > > > Rick Seddon wrote (1/8/2002):
> > > >
> > > > >  Steve and Rick P are both convinced that TSE
> > > > >  was gay (just joking, just joking).
> > > >
> > > >    Well, Rick P has already spoken for himself, so let me say
> > > >    that, yes, I
> > > > think that TSE was gay, or had gay desires, whether or not he
> > > > acted on
> > > them.
> > > > Why does this matter?? It only matters if you conclude, as I have
> > > concluded,
> > > > that a powerful force behind TSE's poetry is his guilt over these
> > > > desires
> > > and
> > > > how God would judge a man with such desires.
> > > >
> > > >    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Carole
> > > Seymour-Jones,
> > > > the author of "PAINTED SHADOW: A LIFE OF VIVIENNE ELIOT" also
> > > > clearly indicates (repeatedly) in her book that she thinks TSE was
> > > > gay, although
> > > she
> > > > presents scant direct evidence. For the curious, here's a few
> > > > excerpts
> > > from
> > > > "Painted Shadow" that will show you what I mean. The excerpts are
> > > > scanned
> > > in,
> > > > so please forgive any typos from the scanning process.
> > > >
> > > >   And, yes, the 600 page book is centered on **Vivienne**, despite
> > > >   the
> > > > impression these excerpts may give that the book is only about
> > > > TSE's
> > > "secret
> > > > sex life".
> > > >
> > > > -- Steve --
> > > >
> > > > ==================================
> > > >
> > > > >From "Painted Shadow":
> > > >
> > > > P211
> > > > In his twenties, it seemed, Eliot struggled with contradictory
> > > > urges, to confess and yet to repress his homosexual feelings: it
> > > > was a kind of
> > > torture,
> > > > but one which explains to some extent the obscurity of poetry in
> > > > which so many secrets demanded concealment.
> > > >     Among those secrets was his grief for Jean Verdenal...
> > > >
> > > > P 348
> > > > The flat Tom rented in early 1923 was to be the hub of his secret
> > > > life, a place where he could throw off conventionality. Burleigh
> > > > Mansions, a block
> > > of
> > > > portered flats on Charing Cross Road, looked out on St Martin's
> > > > Lane, and
> > > was
> > > > favoured by actors. Ellen Terry and Donald Wolfit both at times
> > > > lived
> > > there.
> > > > Eliot rented number 38, thus securing for himself a pied a terre
> > > > in the
> > > heart
> > > > of theatreland. At Burleigh Mansions he underwent a metamorphosis:
> > > > here he was no longer 'Mr. Eliot', banker and dutiful husband, but
> > > > 'Captain
> > > Eliot',
> > > > hero of the Colombo verses, captain of his crew. Among that crew
> > > > was in
> > > all
> > > > probability Leonide Massine, who danced the French sailor in Les
> > > > Matelots,
> > > a
> > > > 'light-hearted romp' which he choreographed for Diaghilev after
> > > > divorcing
> > > his
> > > > wife Vera in 1924 and returning to the bosom of the Ballets Russes
> > > > and a bed-sitting room in Bloomsbury .
> > > >    Osbert Sitwell noticed, when he visited Eliot in the 'bizarre'
> > > atmosphere
> > > > of the Charing Cross Road flat, that 'Visitors on arrival had to
> > > > enquire
> > > at
> > > > the porter's lodge for "The Captain", which somehow invested the
> > > > whole establishment with a nautical - for I cannot say why, I took
> > > > the title to
> > > be
> > > > naval rather than military -a gay, a gallant feeling.'
> > > >
> > > >   The room in which Osbert and Sacheverell dined was high up at
> > > >   the back
> > > of
> > > > the block, looking down on the revolving glass ball lantern of the
> > > Coliseum
> > > > music hall, where the Russian ballet performed. Osbert sat next to
> > > > Tom on
> > > one
> > > > side, Sachie on the other:
> > > >
> > > > "Noticing how tired my host looked, I regarded him more closely,
> > > > and was amazed to notice on his cheeks a dusting of green powder
> > > > -pale but
> > > distinctly
> > > > green, the colour of a forced lily-of-the-valley. I was all the
> > > > more
> > > amazed
> > > > at this discovery, because any deliberate dramatisation of his
> > > > appearance
> > > was
> > > > so plainly out of keeping with his character, and with his desire
> > > > never to call attention to himself, that I was hardly willing, any
> > > > more than if I
> > > had
> > > > seen a ghost, to credit the evidence of my senses."
> > > >
> > > > Osbert was almost ready to disbelieve what he had seen, but he
> > > > went to tea with Virginia Woolf a few days later. 'She asked me,
> > > > rather pointedly, if
> > > I
> > > > had seen Tom lately, and when I said "Yes" asked me - because she
> > > > too was anxious for someone to confirm or rebut what she thought
> > > > she had seen -whether I had observed the green powder on his face
> > > > -so there was corroboration'
> > > >
> > > > p359
> > > > Illness was not, however, the only cause of Eliot's spiralling
> > > > costs
> > > during
> > > > that summer. He had begun a relationship with a young man which
> > > > was also
> > > to
> > > > prove expensive, both to his purse and his temper . In May 1923 he
> > > > invited the 'foreign young gentleman', to whom Vivien referred in
> > > > an undated
> > > letter
> > > > to Mary, to stay at 2 Milestone Cottages, Old Fishbourne ('During
> > > > May!J.
> > > came
> > > > to stay .') Ostensibly the young man had come to lend a hand
> > > > during
> > > Vivien's
> > > > illness, but there is little doubt that he was, in fact,
> > > > romantically and sexually involved with Tom. The youth's name was
> > > > Jack and he was German, recalled Vivien, who recorded the eventful
> > > > summer in the 'stunning sort of instant doggerel' with which,
> > > > remembered Maurice, she had been accustomed
> > > to
> > > > amuse her family at Anglesey.
> > > >
> > > > p362
> > > > It would appear that Jack had successors. The Ron. Philip Ritchie,
> > > > eldest
> > > son
> > > > of Lord Ritchie of Dundee, a beautiful and gay young man to whom
> > > > Lytton Strachey was attracted, stayed on occasions at Burleigh
> > > > Mansions with
> > > Eliot,
> > > > so Frank Morley, a Faber director, admitted to playwright Michael
> > > Hastings;13
> > > > in 1923 Ritchie was an Oxford undergraduate, but he was not the
> > > 'squint-eyed
> > > > Oxford youth' noticed by Virginia on 17 December, for Ritchie was
> > > > a friend
> > > of
> > > > the Woolfs and Roger Fry and would have been recognised. The
> > > > homosexual novelist C. H. B. Kitchin was also reputed to be a
> > > > guest of 'Captain Eliot's', as was Roger Senhouse, the art critic.
> > > >
> > > > p 365
> > > >  Eliot's conscience tormented him. He could not repress the
> > > >  knowledge that
> > > he
> > > > had rejected Vivien within weeks of his marriage to her, and that
> > > > Vivien's affair with Russell, rather than being, in Ronald
> > > > Schuchard's words, a vicious sexual betrayal of Eliot, had in fact
> > > > been one in which he had knowingly colluded in order to further
> > > > his career, relieve himself of conjugal responsibilities, and to
> > > > gain financial advantage. Nor could
> > > Eliot
> > > > deny the strength of his own homosexual desires, which were
> > > > leading him
> > > into
> > > > a web of deceit. . . .Writing in the first person, Eliot boldly
> > > > exhorts
> > > his
> > > > reader to buggery, 'again and again and again'.
> > > > Proclaim to the morning, he cries, that  'a r s e  spells  arse'.
> > > >
> > > >    Eliot's obscene verse testifies to the violence of his
> > > >    feelings, and it
> > > is
> > > > hard to believe that they were never acted upon. But, even if the
> > > > strength
> > > of
> > > > the poet's will, inhibition, or fear of exposure ensured that his
> > > > desires remained in the realm of sexual fantasy, they affected
> > > > both his and
> > > Vivien's
> > > > lives powerfully. Eliot's secrets shaped his biography and his
> > > > poetry. And the balance of probability seems to lie with the
> > > > argument that Eliot, like Lytton Strachey and other members of the
> > > > Bloomsbury Group, had a physical relationship with the young men
> > > > like Jack or Ritchie with whom he
> > > consorted.
> > > > Why should he have felt such a degree of shame and self-loathing
> > > > had he
> > > not
> > > > sinned -in his own eyes at least? Eliot's grinding sense of his
> > > > own sexual sinfulness overwhelmed him, a legacy of his puritanical
> > > > upbringing and the prejudices of the period in which he lived. It
> > > > was Vivien's misfortune
> > > that
> > > > not only did her very femininity repel him, simply looking at her
> > > > reminded Eliot of the Russell affair, and of her immorality which
> > > > he later roundly condemned. In his eyes Vivien was the harlot who
> > > > bewitches, emblematic of Eliot's own immorality and sexual
> > > > betrayal. Vivien now represented for her husband his shadow side,
> > > > the dark anima behind Eliot's urbane exterior of which he speaks
> > > > in The Hollow Men (1925): 'Between the desire And the
> > > spasm.
> > > > ..Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow.'
> > > >
> > > > p449
> > > > on 29 November 1939, Eliot confessed to his companion John Hayward
> > > > that he had never loved a woman or enjoyed sexual intercourse with
> > > > her: 'I never
> > > lay
> > > > with a woman I liked, loved, or even felt any strong physical
> > > > attraction
> > > to.'
> > > >
> > > > P472
> > > > Eliot grew nervous of blackmail; such was his reputation that the
> > > > writer
> > > E.
> > > > W. F. Tomlin felt it necessary to state that his friendship with
> > > > the poet
> > > was
> > > > 'devoid of sexual feeling ...' despite the 'persistent
> > > > insinuations that Eliot, owing to his friendship with Jean
> > > > Verdenal and perhaps with others, was either homosexual or, as one
> > > > fellow-poet remarked, 'suppressed homosexuality'.
> > > >
> > > > p495
> > > > Eventually it was Virginia who indirectly solved Eliot's
> > > > accommodation problem - by reintroducing him to a fellow Hogarth
> > > > Press author, the homosexual novelist C. H. B. Kitchen, who took
> > > > pity on the poet and
> > > offered
> > > > him 'sanctuary' in his flat in Great Ormond Street. At the end of
> > > > the year Eliot moved in with Clifford, and his two gay flatmates.
> > > >
> > > >    Eliot experienced his time in Great Ormond Street as
> > > >    liberation. It was
> > > an
> > > > all-male establishment: the poet's flatmates were his old friend,
> > > > novelist Clifford Kitchin, Richard Jennings, a gay book collector,
> > > > and Ken Ritchie, later Chairman of the Stock Exchange, who had a
> > > > policeman lover. It was, recalls the novelist Francis King, 'a gay
> > > > household', in which Eliot felt free to venture out in the
> > > > evenings, wearing 'a bit of slap'. 'Clifford
> > > told
> > > > me how Eliot went out rouged and lipsticked, with eye shadow,'
> > > > says King. 'Clifford was absolutely convinced he was carrying on a
> > > > gay life then.'
> > > All
> > > > three men liked to bring back 'trade' to the flat; and why, asked
> > > Clifford,
> > > > would Eliot choose to lodge in such a house were he not gay?
> > > > However, it
> > > was
> > > > still a period in which discretion was all-important for a man
> > > > like Eliot, who depended on his income from his work, and could
> > > > not afford the aristocratic disdain shown by Osbert Sitwell, who
> > > > was living openly with David Horner. Eliot kept his own counsel,
> > > > and did not discuss his nightly jaunts with Kitchin. But Stephen
> > > > Spender, who had met Eliot in 1928 and
> > > had
> > > > been published by Faber, was aware that Eliot wore cosmetics; in
> > > > May 1996 Spender's widow Natasha confirmed the truth of the
> > > > Sitwells' stories of Eliot's use of 'pale green powder' to Alec
> > > > Guinness, who played the psychiatrist Sir Henry Harcourt-Reilly in
> > > > The Cocktail Party.
> > > >
> > > > P523
> > > > Eliot wove into 'Little Gidding' the ideals of Ferrar and Herbert
> > > > which he associated with St John of the Cross's detachment from
> > > > earthly desire, arguing for 'love beyond desire', and borrowing,
> > > > too, the words of Julian
> > > of
> > > > Norwich, one of the fourteenth-century mystics who followed the
> > > > via
> > > negativa:
> > > > 'Sin is Behovely, but/ All shall be well, and/ All manner of
> > > > things shall
> > > be
> > > > well.'
> > > >    But was the pull of sensuality banished as completely as Eliot
> > > >    was
> > > > pretending? It seems not. The period immediately after his
> > > > separation from Vivienne was a time in which homosexuality seems
> > > > to have been at the forefront of his mind. Eliot's correspondence
> > > > with Ezra Pound in 1934 is
> > > full
> > > > of obscene jokes about bestiality, elephants in chastity belts,
> > > > and
> > > Pound's
> > > > plan to send him an elephant's vagina under the 'snotty nose' of
> > > > the
> > > postal
> > > > authorities; it was a time in which Tom was open about his sexual
> > > > prowess
> > > to
> > > > Ezra. 'About COARSENESS I don't want to boast,' he wrote on 3
> > > > January
> > > 1934,
> > > > so he wouldn't tell Ezra what one sea-captain had said about Eliot
> > > > to another: that apart from old Ike Carver of Mosquito Cove -and
> > > > 'He was the
> > > man
> > > > who fucked the whole of Marshall's Island in one night, at the age
> > > > of 70',
> > > so
> > > > it was only fair to except a man like that- Tom was unbeatable in
> > > > bed. The obscene verse he included in this letter dwells, with
> > > > violent and tedious repetition, upon the pleasures of buggery:
> > > >
> > > >   'Grasp hard the bastards by the short hair.
> > > >    Not once, or twice, shalt thou bugger 'em, in our
> > > >    rough island story ,
> > > >    But again and again and again and again, leaving
> > > >    their arseholes all glory.'
> > > >
> > > > Compulsively he continues:
> > > >
> > > >   'And when I say, again and again, I mean repeatedly, I
> > > >    mean continually, I mean in fact many times.'
> > > >
> > > > The orgiastic hero of Eliot's verse, 'Lord of a hundred battles',
> > > > is proud
> > > of
> > > > his '1000 hard won scars'.
> > > >    Even Pound was shocked by his correspondent's language:
> > > >    'Dearest Possum
> > > > you pertinacious old whoreHound,' he wrote. 'I aint nebber heeerd
> > > > sech langwitch not even from de deacons in the methikerkiskpiple
> > > > church. ..Jess try to normalfy your vices.' But Eliot felt he
> > > > could afford to let the
> > > mask
> > > > slip in letters to his old friend, to whom he opened his heart
> > > > just as he
> > > did
> > > > to John Hayward, whose proud boast to American writer John Brinnin
> > > (Director
> > > > of the New York Poetry Center) in 1950 was that, in Eliot's
> > > > bedroom 'confessional' at 19 Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk,
> > > > Chelsea, where the two men lived together after the war, 'He tells
> > > > me everything.' Pound, too, probably knew 'everything'. 'Dearest
> > > > Possum,' wrote Ezra on 3 February
> > > 1935,
> > > > when an over-worked Eliot was busy helping to edit the New English
> > > > Weekly, whose editor A. R. Orage had died in late 1934, 'Where is
> > > > your blushing Ganymede? Why don't he collab?? [orate].' In all
> > > > probability this was an allusion to George Every. How was Eliot's
> > > > 'pimp and pansy series' (his
> > > poetry
> > > > list at Faber, which included Auden, Isherwood and Spender), asked
> > > > Pound:
> > > 'I
> > > > commend you for putting all the flowers in one box.'
> > > > In Eliot's letter of 25 June 1934 to John Hayward, he made very
> > > > plain the nature of the attraction priests had for him. His
> > > > suggestive pen and ink sketches of a row of headless male torsos
> > > > in various stages of undress,
> > > the
> > > > first wearing plus fours, the second shorts, the third underpants,
> > > > and the fourth nude but for a single fig leaf, are labelled
> > > > figures one, two,
> > > three
> > > > and four, and described accordingly: 'cold, cool, hot, torrid';
> > > > the nude torso is decorated with exuberant radial lines which,
> > > > according to Eliot's 'key', indicate the 'peculiar emanation or
> > > > rather effulgence which usually accompanied with the odour of
> > > > violets is accustomed to envelop the limbs
> > > and
> > > > torso of very Holy persons'. The erotic charge which priests held
> > > > for the poet is indisputable.
> > > >
> > > > ============================================================
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
>
>