I don't see anything wrong with being provocative.
All ideas need to be challenged. My concern is
with the generalities, which imply that Eliot had a
negative attitude to Lawrence. Fine. I agree that he
probably did. All I want is to see some of the
statements on which your, possibly valid, assertion
is made.
I haven't looked at that side of Eliot recently, so I'm
not familiar with the literature. How about a quote or
two. Seems to me that Eliot was consistent with his
original assertions in After Strange Gods that modern
writers like Lawrence, and I think he even cited Pound,
crreated characters who lacked real will. They are
people to whom things happen. He got Pound flipping
mad on that subject, and as I remember they carried
on an endless correspondence in NEW about it. Now
the question is, to what degree was Eliot influenced
by another writer with his own anti-semetic bones
in his closet, Percy Wyndham Lewis and his book,
MEN WITHOUT ART in which he tore into a number
of writers (including Eliot whom he called a PSEUDOIST)
in some cases because they created characters who
lacked executive will and intelligence. He drove Hemingway
to utter destructiveness with that criticism. Ol' Pappy
tore Shakespeare and Company to bits when he read that.
Seems to me those are really important qurestions.
So there. I've put some minimal specifics on the table,
which I think are provocative and worth serious discussion
in an age of Prufrocks who have no will, and little
intelligence. They are consumers. Soma addicts.
Unfortunately I don't have time to look up more texts
to broaden the discussion.
So lets see some of your texts which show Eliot being
negative about Lawrence.
If I'm being critical, it is only about the lack of specifics,
not about being provacative as such. Being provocative
without specifics comes across as game playing. Fine.
I'm happy to take you at your word as being serious.
I just don't see how I can answer you without specifics.
And I'm just an 'umble instructor at yer service. No
real prof.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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-----Original Message-----
From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 9:16 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re : Eliot and Lawrence

Dear Professor Montgomery,

Let me say that I am sorry if I had offended anyone.  No, I didn't try to be provocative, but if I sounded so, let me first apologize for it.  I am quite baffled by Eliot's attitude towards Lawrence and I am only trying to see how far I have been right in understanding it.  For, Eliot matters much  to me as Lawrence and Leavis do.  But I feel that behind the animosity shown by Eliot there is a key to a finer perception of both their art, and this is worth scrutiny.  Let me repeat again, that if I appear provocative in doing it, it is not intentional. 

 Dear Nancy,

Thanks for your kind words.

 Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

It is interesting that Eliot does provoke provocation to a serious end. The
current issue of Modernism/Modernity is very provocative, but a set of very
serious scholars all seem to think the stakes important--on both sides of
the anti-Semitism issue. I appreciate the post from Vishvesh as opening a
real question about the ways Eliot spoke on culture.

Had Eliot stuck to poetry and especially nonprovocative poetry (did he
write any?), no doubt these questions would not come up. But Eliot
chose to make cultural pronouncements. That is what creates the debate.

Date sent: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 19:29:36 -0800
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Re : Eliot and Lawrence
To: [log in to unmask]

From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask] COM]

I remember some remarks made earlier that Eliot with his kind of
educational, Elizabethan and religious background couldn't have found
Lawrence to his liking. But when you read Eliot's comments on Lawrence,
they appear much more than that ; nor can they be considered passing
remarks or minor judgements, which could be flawed and hence not viewed
seriously. There is a cynical force behind them which makes them all the
more to be analysed.


You have some interesting generalisations here that make one

think that Eliot's view on Middleton might be brought into play,

but without specifics, it's not really worth the effort. It's a whole

lot easier just to think you are just being provocative to no good end.

Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
[log in to unmask]www.camosun.bc.ca/~peterm

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