Print

Print


Peter Montgomery wrote:
>
>
> You may be right.
> On the other hand, given Eliot's very strong privacy,
> how are we to know for sure.

I speak of his public face, actions, & words. I know nothing of, nor am
I interested in, his private 'soul.'

> For all his apparent sins against Vivienne, he did remain
> maritally faithful to her till she died. That MAY indicate
> a special spirit.

I wouldn't know.
>
> Moral judgements of people, including Eliot's
> own of Pound in ASG., are always suspect.

I would defend Eliot here from the charge of morlizing: from what I've
seen quoted he was talking of the Pound who existed in the public
utterances.

In any case, one could propose _generosity_ as one 'key' to the whole
thrust of the _Cantos_, equally operative in the glories and in the
horrors of that poem. Pound really did want people to be happy. There is
nothing, I believe, in the _Cantos_ equivalent to the the typist and
young man carbuncular of TWL or the "damp souls of housemaids" in
"Morning at the Window." Nor, is there anything in Eliot that correspnds
to Pound's  "The enormous tragedy of the dream in the peasant's bent
shoulders." Instead we get:

                                Keeping time,
        Keeping the rhythm of their dancing
        As in their living in the living seasons
        The time of the seasons and the constellations
        The time of milking and the time of harvest
        The time of the coupling of man and woman
        And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
        Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

Marvellous lines, but also repellant. I am reminded of Allan Seager
remarking -- conversation in Haven Hall coffee room -- on Eliot's
"costiveness," and wondering if it might come from his liking for
cheese. (I can't remember clearly, but Seager may have been repeating
something he had said to Eliot himself in conversation.)

Carrol

>
> Peter