I rather wonder if we are being had on this one, my friend. It is a thought that pesters me. Another one is, that given that literary commentary is a creative act, involving much testing of self-created hypotheses, that indeed the commen- tator on perverse works produces perverse commentary pre- cisely as comentator, and is therefore, as commetator, perverse. The latter is no reflection on the commentator's life. I think it is quite clear that Eliot had the usual collection of perverse prompts that most people do, and he used them as grist for his powerfully creative mill. Hmm. Is "La Fleur du Mal" perverse, or a portrait of and confrontation with perversity? 'T would seem to me that there is a difference. P. -----Original Message----- From: Ken Armstrong To: [log in to unmask] Sent: 2005-Apr-07 12:19 PM Subject: Re: "Perverse"--definition I don't get why a poem about or presenting or revealing or exposing the perverse should itself be called perverse unless, by definition, it presents a false picture of the perverse, i.e. unless it perversely presents the perverse. Ditto the poet. It doesn't make sense to me to say that "Eliot--as poet--is perverse" because some of his poems deal with the perverse (not, however and BTW, Sweeney Erect). I think Peter is getting at the problem in saying what Eliot is doing when he notes how the symbol for grace is turned into weapons in FQ. But I don't think this is perverse. At 06:54 PM 4/6/2005 -0400, you wrote: You're right that the way I have written these appears inconsistent. I do mean that the poems are perverse and that Eliot--as poet--is perverse. That does not mean that Eliot--as person--was perverse; I am not commenting on him as a person. I mean that the poems I listed are "perverse" by virtue of the fact that they depict events and feelings and experiences that fit the dictionary definitions of the term. I mean that Eliot--as poet--is "perverse" by virtue of the fact that he writes on these subjects and exposes/reveals events, experiences, and feelings that fit the dictionary definition. This is part of what makes his poetry so powerful: he is, in fact, plunged into the most perverse as well as the most idealized. He engages an extreme range of experience--though I would say it is deep and narrow compared to a writer like Shakespeare or Chaucer. But then, so is Dante. I am NOT doing what Eliot called for in his discussion of comparison and analysis--this is not an evaluative claim.