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First we go to pronouncements with the flavour of
papal bullishness:
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If you close your mind to this, if you dismiss it as mere "irrelevancies"
that are "outside" his poetry, then his
poetry will forever escape you, buried under a mountain of scholarship that
continues to turn a blind eye to
the troubled man behind the fancy words.
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only to find ourselves reduced to guesses. My my!
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My guess is that Prufrock is wondering whether or not to live an openly
homosexual lifestyle, and wondering if that decision will forever damn him
in the eyes of God ("Do I dare disturb the universe?")
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The poem is a set of junglejim bars and paint
by numbers, it is what you will make of it.
Just don't forget that that prufrock means touchstone.

Rub yourself off of it and see what colour your smoke is.

Cheers,
Peter.

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