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You're most welcome CR. It is such a pleasure to find others who share my enthusiasms about Eliot's work! Diana

Absolutely admirable! -- the depth of Kearns' grasp of the
  
magical powers of mantric/incantatory verse in the Vedas,
  
and in Eliot's poetry, and of Eliot's understanding of the
  
role and function of poets and poetry in modern times.
  
 
  
Thanks, Diana, for the highly illuminating quotes.
  
 
  
Regards.
  
 
  
~ CR 
  


Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  
  
  
  
  
Dear CR: Kearns observes that "Lanman's Sansrit Reader, the textbook Eliot had used at Harvard, included several passages from the Rig Veda related to Indra's freeing of the waters...the song itself is compared to the
waters Indra has released. The Vedic invocations, however, can be instituted effectively on ly singer-priests who have undergone appropriate ritual purifications. "
  
"Some of these are described in the Sama Veda, which lays down the austerities such priests must practice in order to invoke, through sympathetic magic and onomatopoeia, the water-releasing power of Indra...By a metaphorical extension suggested in the Vedas and, of course directly within classical and romantic poetic traditions in the West, Eliot took this theory of priestly speech or song as an alanlogue for the understanding of the role and function of poets and poetry. The modern poet, like the priest of Indra, is responsible for the invocations that will initiate and foster the social and spiritual life of the community, and like the priest he must undergo trials and purifications...Eliot performs that release through the power
of sound, a power the "dreadful and dangerous potency" of which he was well aware."
  
"The Vedas and the Upanishads, like many Western sources, suggested to Eliot that breath, sound and silence were at the heart of language, languge designed, as he thought the language of poetry must be, not to express the poet's sensibility but to have certain highly predictable and powerful effects on the individual, social and natural worlds."
  
 
  
Your statement below is in complete accord with Kearns' observations:
  
 
  
"As to why Eliot chose to retain expressions from other
  
languages in his poetry as such and not their English
  
translations, it's a moot question, a matter for just
  
speculation. One reason could be the mantric quality
  
inherent in the sounds and rhythms of the originals,
  
which might not always be amenable to the same
  
condensed version in English."
  
 
  
Note that Kearns' observations include drought, water, and purification, as well as the physical power of sound, all themes in TWL and other of Eliot's poems. Eliot's beliefs about the effects of sound would not conflict with Christian rites, which employ incantation in the same manner. Certainly the Roman mass in Latin was almost entirely incantatory in modern times, since the congregation did not understand the
language. (It lost much of this magic when Latin mass was discontinued.)Was the High Anglican service in English in Eliot's day?  Lancelot Andrewes' texts operate powerfully on the level of pure sound. The more I think and learn about Eliot the more I am awed by his genius! Diana
  
.
  
 


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