Dear Gunnar and Temur,

That is not exactly what I was saying.  I think personality matters--in some
cases a great deal--but not in the way I think is being suggested.  For
example, we would not have had Dickinson's brilliant work if she had had a
more conventional or pliable personality OR if so much of her own
experience and feeling had not been put under such pressure in those brief
and stunning poems.  In Eliot's case, I think personality is deeply involved
in the poems and in a way that partly defines how they affect us.  But that
is not the same as liking it.  I think he wrote brilliant lines out of his own
sometimes very twisted experience.  That is what matters to me.

There are, in any case, many Eliots, as there are many of all of us.  I
would no doubt enjoy the one who loved good cheese and cats and Marie
Lloyd and could foxtrot, even if not up to Viv's standards.  I don't much like
"personality" that is willing to use others, and I think he did that throughout
his life.  (Now the deluge will come.)

Date sent:              Fri, 27 Sep 2002 12:56:53 +0200
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Gunnar Jauch <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: New online Eliot material
To:                     [log in to unmask]

am 27.9.2002 10:21 Uhr schrieb Temur Kobakhidze unter
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> Dear Nancy,
> Did I really say that? Personality does matter, but not so
> overwhelmingly:)) And when one dislikes both the poet and his
> personality, you just say one dislikes both. As simple as that.
> It seems, TSE's way of life was part of his poetical perception of the
> world. You won't be able to write Four Quartets unless you are a
> highbrow intellectual and a conservative, at least to an extent:-). And
> to the same extent disliking the personality does mean disliking the
> potry. Although the personality and the poetry are by no means
> interchangeable.
> To say we are impersonal is just a curious way of asserting that our
> personality is more deeply involved: the thought is Cleanth Brooks's if
> my memory serves me right.
> Regards,
> TK
> On Sep 26 2002, Nancy Gish - Women's Studies wrote:
>> Dear Temur,
>> Quite apart from the issue of what Kate said, why does one need
>> to like Eliot's personality to have a passionate interest in his
>> poetry?
>> Nancy

Dear Temur,

you don't seem to understand what Nancy is reiterating: The personality of
an artist, in this case of a poet, is of minor interest; what matters is
his/her work.

There are many examples:
E.M. Forster had a strange private life, in Kipling's biography "The Long
Recessional" one learns about some of his not wholly commendable views and
actions. In "Life with Picasso" Françoise Gilot tells us about Picasso, an
egomaniac and an unpredictable macho. That does not change the fact that
they all were touched by a common genius.

A fabulous exhibit MATISSE/PICASSO, a huge juxtaposition of major works by
the two giants of modern art, has just opened in the Grand Palais of
Paris. It will be shown in the Tate Modern in January and later in the
MOMA. Don't miss it!).

A prerequisite to write such a masterpiece as 4Q is not merely "highbrow
intellectuality", but mainly knowledge, spirituality, belief and deep
wisdom. I fail to see what you mean by "conservative", in my view nothing
but a generalizing, superficial and useless term in any context.