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Since my 'professional' interests lay elsewhere, I've never read much
Eliot criticism. But a good deal of the little I have read, and many of
the posts on this list, seem to treat both Gerontion and Prufrock
novelistically, trying to identify and explain Gerontin and Prufrock as
"characters." What if they are not characters at all, but merely voices
or echo chambers. There are many precedents. Consider _Guliver_. There
are intermittent passage where Gulliver is, _almost_, what Forster was
later to call a "rounded character." There are other places where he is
only a place-holder, not connectable either to Swift or to a character
in a narrative. And so on.

I think _Gerontion_ in particular is far more interesting as an
echo-chamer than as a presentation of a character, as in Browning's
dramatic monologues. Perhaps Prufrock could be regarded in that light
also.

Carrol