At 08:35 PM 12/28/2003 -0500, Rickard A. Parker wrote:

>I was thinking of something today that Eliot either wrote or said
>about thanking people for a gift of a book.  This is a great time to
>spread the word.  Eliot said to write a note of thanks right away.
>That way you can tactifully avoid making a comment on what you think
>of the book.
>I'm pretty sure that I read this in the book "Affectionately, T.S. Eliot"
>but I was unable to find it to quote it directly.


  According to Herbert Read, it was advice that TSE was likely liberally to
have shared. I just happened across it in Read's contribution to Allen
Tate's _T. S. Eliot  The Man and His Work_. Having just read the first
three essays in the book, by I. A. RIchards, Stephen Spender, and Read, I'm
struck by how such diverse talents seem to give testimony to a single
effect. In the spirit of the book, this list (or at least its dedicatee),
and this week, almost suspended between Christmas and the new year, here is
a quote taken from the book:

"Destiny is not necessitarianism, and it is not caprice: it is something
essentially meaningful. Each man has his destiny, though some men are
undoubtedly 'men of destiny' in a sense in which most men are not; and
Aeneas is egregiously a man of destiny, since upon him the future of the
Western World depends. But this is an election which cannot be explained, a
burden and  responsibility rather than a reason for self-glorification. It
merely happens to one man and not to others, to have the gifts necessary in
some profound crisis, but he can take no credit to himself for the gifts
and the responsibility assigned to him.... The concept of destiny leaves us
with a mystery, but it is a mystery not contrary to reason, for it implies
that the world, and the course of human history, have meaning."

Happy New Year,
Ken A,