Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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From: Peter Montgomery [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 7:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Matthew ArnoldFrom: Jennifer Formichelli [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
I cannot, I am afraid, agree with this summation:[Peter Montgomery] ================================That's fine. Don't agree. But why be afraid about it?If you say that is just a figure of speech, then I will askyou why you don't accord me the same privilege.
Jennifer quoted Peter:
"Interesting. The only reason I use the word touchstone is because it is a modern synonym for a proof rock. Conceivably Eliot was making his own commentary on Arnold by using that name."
I should need to see some evidence to be convinced that this line has any sort of allusion in it (ie references to Eliot's knowledge of Arnold at the time, his concern with his work, and comparing this to the specific context in which Arnold uses the word). It seems from here even very unlikely to be a coincidence.
Goodness gracious, Jennifer. I feel sorry for you. Have your academic mentors not allowed you to engage in speculation, even wild speculation, from time to time? It is absolutely essential for the development of strong critical faculties.
In any case, who's trying to convince anybody of anything here, esp with modifiers like CONCEIVABLY. This is an informal medium and I will throw out random speculations when I happen to want to. By all means have my permission to disagree. In fact, if you happen to agree, I may well get worried.
Jennifer> Therefore, the summation you make from such an unsupported inference seems to me a rather precarious.[Peter Montgomery] Is there anything wrong with one's speculations being precarious, pray tell?
Peter said, in the previous post: Eliot's quarrel with the idea that the arts, esp. poetry could be a source of salvation for man seems to have started very early in his critical development.
Jennifer responded: If you are interested, however, you might look at a book called Poetry and Religion, by Santayana (c 1908 r 1909).
[Peter Montgomery] Nope. Not interested. I've been through it too many times before, but for your homework I would like to assign you the reading of a more pertinent work, Eliot's THE SACRED WORD Please don't feel obliged to read the whole thing ... just a good browse for his references to good old uncle Matty. Guess whose name gets mentioned first in the original Introduction? You also have my permission to wildly speculate about the title of the work. Good thing he didn't call it hollywood, don't you think?
This list is not only for scholars, but it may not be a bad idea for any poster to back their claims with scholarship (which, as Eliot said, even in its humblest forms, has its rights).
[Peter Montgomery] Claims, maybe. Speculations? Bullshit! I made no claims. Not that it matters.Good theses often come from untested hypotheses, but I wasn't even doing that.
I was having a friendly conversation with Vishvesh. That'l teach you to interrupt.
By the way, I see no reason for being unwarrantedly suspicious of the title of Professor; respect, I should guess, is due to those who earn it.
[Peter Montgomery] Respect, yes. Put ons like titles are another thing. Besides, even if I thought the title PROFESSOR a sign of respect, I haven't earned it. I prefer to be who I am. It really is partly a Canadian attitude which I rather relish. Uses of titles are really frowned on. Even prime ministers are no longer given the title as an honorific when their tenures are up. It is a tradition coming down from the days of Wilfred Laurier, that we abjure the British/US practice. We could in fact have knights and lords, &c if we wanted. We just didn't want our southern neighbors to be envious. The only Canadian of note to receive such a title, ironically, was none other thn Sir. Wilfred Laurier, in recognition of his stupendous work for the nation, but he abjured the title himself. So with other titles. We seldom wear academic gowns even. Such pretences often get jeered in public.
Respect has to be earned, not labelled. I much prefer being unrespectable.
What was it Joyce said? Love the label as thy self?
Probably part of Prufy's problem.
Not without mustard,