Diana Manister wrote:
> Carrol, hope you can read this -- apologies to others for the large
> font. Your citations from Kharms as well as your comments about
> spirituality in Eliot's work before his conversion jibe with an
> interpretation in T.S. Eliot's Negative Way, by Eloise Knapp Hay. On
> p.49 she writes:

Interesting. There is a way of giving _partial_ justification to
Brooks's "reading backwards," though not a way which Brooks himself
would have liked. An old bearded German once scribbled, "The anatomy of
man is a key to the anatomy of the ape." Now note, he did _not_ say,
"The anatomy of the ape is a key to the anatomy of man," _nor_ did he
say that "The anatomy of man is THE key to the anatomy of the ape."
(This comes from the _Economic Manuscripts of 1857-1858_, and would not
have referred to Darwin's _Origin_, which was published in 1859.)
Knowing human anatomy, we can understand _one_ of the potentials
inherent in ape anatomy, but we _cannot_ infer that that potential was
the _only_ one, that given the ape anatomy the human anatomy was
inevitable (or even probable). And we certainly cannot infer that the
anatomy of the ape WAS the anatomy of man in disguise, which is what
happens in the criticism that Hay rejects.

Thus while it is incorrect to assume that the meaning of 4Q expresses
the meaning of TWL (which would be like saying that given the ape _only_
the human could follow), but it _would_ be correct to say that 4Q
reveals _one_ of the potentials of the early poems (and in particular
TWL). One could then argue that while the 'vision' embodied in TWL is
one that excludes any religious or "spiritual" content, the _kind_ of
negativism we see in that poem (and in all the early poems) was the sort
that in _some_ instances (though not in all)the later wrestle with that
negativism _could_ (in Eliot's case _did_) evoke the sort of development
(religious orthodoxy, reactionary politics) we see from the late '20s

I'll have to get hold of Hay's book. It sounds interesting.

Incidentally, in the '40s and '50s criticism drenched in religiosity
went so far as to claim that Kafka's "The Penal Colony" was really in
_praise_ of the inventor of the machine; similar interpretations were
given of all of Kafka's works.