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I doubt that his poetry would have had such an effect if it were so limited.
I get a feeling similar to yours when folks try to reduce it to
a function of Eliot's biography. It transcends its origins.

P.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2006 11:00 AM
Subject: Was it worth it after all?


> Whether or not a contrast and/or conflict of spirituality and sexuality
> is the or a motor powering Eliot's poetry I do not know; my close
> reading of Eliot is nearly 50 years in the past, and while I have
> periodically reread Gerontion and 4Q since then, I have read no
> criticism later than Kenner's (1959?) book -- and now, recently, the
> essays in the Laity & Gish collection. 
> 
> But I would say this with some certainty. _If_ the banality of such a
> contrast/conflict is at the heart of Eliot's poems, that constitutes an
> almost crippling limitation rather than a strength -- reducing his work
> to nothing much more than a complicated repetition of the legendary
> sexual advice to the Victorian Matron, Close your eyes and think of
> England. Much ado about little.
> 
> But I hope the poetry to which I gave so much attention in the late '50s
> is a bit more sturdy than that.
> 
> Carrol
> 
> 
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