Why could one not see it as intensifying the power?  Why is the
nonphysical somehow greater than burning flesh and feathers?
Think of the fighting birds and slimy flesh in the Tiresias scene of

On 8 Oct 2002, at 14:15, Peter Montgomery
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Raphael, If that's a possibility, it seems to me it would
deprive the image of a lot of its power, don't you think?

(The thinking squirrel in my brain is treading its mill very fast on
this one.)


[Peter Montgomery]  -----Original Message-----
From: INGELBIEN RAPHAEL [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 5:10 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: dove descending

     In a recent book (see reference below), a critic suggests
     that the much-discussed image of the 'dove descending' in
     Little Gidding refers to a phenomenon that Eliot observed
     as an air-raid warden during the Blitz. When large fires
     broke out after a raid, the air above the bombed areas
     would get so hot that flying pigeons would catch fire.
     I don't remember reading that Eliot had ever witnessed or
     heard of the phenomenon. Even though he may never have
     mentioned this anywhere, it is of course still possible that
     this was behind the 'dove descending'. Does anyone know
     of a reference in Eliot's writing or in a biography?
     The dove in Little Gidding is usually interpreted as a bold
     mage fusing military aircraft and the Holy Spirit, but it may
     be much more realistic than is often assumed.
     RaphaŽl Ingelbien"[log in to unmask]
     The Fiction of the 1940s. Stories of Survival. Eds. N.H.
     Reeve and Rod Mengham. Palgrave 2001.