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Dear Dunja, thank you for inviting me to this list, and for your 
response to my questions. I also thank Peter Montgomery for drawing our 
attention to /Portrait of the Lady, /I shall see to it very soon.

As for the points you mention...

I do agree that the speaker's passivity is conspicuous. However, I would 
venture to interpret passivity (and nota bene - Prufrockian indecision), 
per se, rather as epiphenomenal to the overwhelming sense of 
dislocation, if not of meaninglessness.

Take the notion of mundane routine, oppressive automatism of the 
everyday, hinted at in the first four lines of part I, and throughout 
parts II, and III. Were the speaker engrossed in the quotidian, there 
would be no sense of passivity, but a sense of action (however illusory).

I am not quite sure whether the speaker in part I is "set against the 
world". I think that it is difficult to apply the traditional 
epistemological categories to the situation in /Preludes/. For the 
reason that the speaker, however indeterminate, seems to be at the same 
time the subject and object  of his/her perception. Yes, all these 
images "constitute his/her soul". His/her feet are being wrapt with 
auguries of non-being, pointlessness etc.. He/she implicitly is the 
reality he/she experiences, or if you like, his/her experience is 
constituted by the world, or as heideggerian nomenclature has it - the 
speaker's being is Being-in-the-world. [so, yes - as you write, it has 
to do with "being thrown into the world"]

[["Anti-Cartesian" epistemic model I infer, hopefuly not too hastily, 
from the very fact of there being a speaker of so diffused identity, and 
that the world as presented in the poem does not seem to be objective 
reality, but rather content of the speaker's consciousness - coloured 
with his/her mood and understanding. In other words, there does not seem 
to be the clear-cut   "I vs  not-I" opposition.
Would you agree?]]

NB would you agree on "authentic" for "eigentlich"?


I do not see why should the speaker  be "condendemned" to time only in 
part II. Mind you, the notion of time appears in /Prelude I/ as well, 
giving the backdrop of smelly routine dominating the lives of the 
implicitly present (explicitly absent) inhabitants of the passageways. 
In /Prelude II /the notion of daily grind seems to be carried on with, 
developed. Time, as experienced by the speaker, "resumes" universal 
superficiality of existence ("masquerades")
---------------------------------------------------
Perhaps, we could discuss the way the speaker experiences time in all 
the stanzas? (after all some say that "being is time")

--By the way, you mention this issue in your email of August 31.
I haven't done very much research on TSE-Heidegger notion of time, yet.
But, for all I know, Heidegger discribes time (experienced 
authentically) as a spiral unifying Dasein's past, present and future. 
Accordingly, there seems to be a striking similarity in TSE's and 
Heidegger apporach to tradition (Heideggerian  hermeneutic approach and 
TSE's insistence on ever-present, re-interpreted past).
----------------------------------------------------

The passivity of the speaker in the 4th Prelude ("I am moved..."), 
appears to me at least disputable. For "being moved" implies some deep 
e-motional state, which even if per se "passive" (involuntary) seems to 
move towards an active response. Well, to me "clinging" is an action, 
participation par excellence.

Could you possibly elaborate on the question of "destiny" which you 
mention. Perhaps due to my bias with Heidegger I tend to shun any 
notions of ground which "destiny" inevitably implies...

As for "ontological shock" - yes. I mean by it realisation of ONE'S OWN 
finitude (as a response to encountering the threat of non-being, to 
experiencing disappearance of structure and meaning of reality); and in 
result - challenging "certain certainties" of ONE'S OWN world perhaps 
somewhat hastily "assumed".

Looking forward to your reply,
Marcin

 



Dunja Seselja wrote:

>The subject appearing in Eliot's Preludes seems to be
>undetermined, and in so far, I guess it could be even
>see as the generic one. In any case, the main
>characteristic of the subject (when I say the subject,
>I don't mean the subject of the speaker, but the
>subject the poem speaks of, but in how far they should
>be distinguished at all, I'll say something a bit
>later) is his/her passivity. 
>

>While in the part I the
>subject is set against the world (being subjected to
>its course), in the part II (s)he is set against the
>time (being "condemned" to it) . (I think the second
>verse of the part II shares some of the ideas
>appearing in Prufrock, and I'd be glad to discuss that
>issue as well). 
>  
>
>In the part III, we finally see the subject *doing*
>something, but even that ("you tossed a blanket") is
>the action of removing = replying to what has already
>been there. But what this part seems to bring is the
>(only?) action left to the subject - to have a vision
>(in solitude). 
>
>Now, in the part IV, the subject of the
>speaker finally appears, but almost equivalent to the
>subject (s)he is  talking about - it is again a
>passive subject (i am moved... I cling...). 
>
>The final
>verse reveals a sort of "catharsic" discovery of the
>subject (both the speaker and the one (s)he is
>speaking of), similar to the relation of the ancient
>Greeks towards the destiny: as the destiny is
>uncontrollable even by gods themselves, why making so
>much fuss about it? 
>  
>
>It seems to me that the status of the subject in the
>poem could be compared with Heidegger's notion of
>"being thrown into the world" (excuse my formulation,
>I'm not sure how this expression is to be translated
>in English), as well as with the "eigentlich" and
>"uneigentlich" modes of "Dasein".
>  
>
>However, I don't see why the poem would stand in the
>opposition to the classical subject-object relation,
>and how would that be related to the "ontological
>shock" you mentioned. If by "ontological shock" you
>consider the realization of the finiteness of human
>being, then this idea is definitely present in both
>Preludes and the Love Song of A.J. Prufrock, but I
>don't see how that could be connected with an
>anti-Cartesian approach. Could you develop a bit more
>on that?
>
>Cheers,
>
>Dunja
>
>
>--- marcin ostrouch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>  
>
>>I would like to raise the issue of identity of the
>>speaker in /Preludes.
>>/
>>Please forgive me if you find it an open secret, but
>>being a non-native 
>>speaker of English, and rather a novice at
>>systematic criticism, I find 
>>the question problematic.
>>
>>At present I am attempting a reading of a couple of
>>poems by TSE in the 
>>light of Heideggerian concept of authentic
>>existence. Therefore, I tend 
>>to shun the structuralist approach which pervades
>>the grey volumes of my 
>>institute's library...
>>
>>It does seem that throughout the poem the identity
>>of the speaker 
>>remains indeterminate.
>>
>>Would you agree that the inflected pronoun "you" in
>>the first stanza, 
>>and the same pronoun in the third, are generic ones?
>>[as I am not quite 
>>informed in the use of those]
>>
>>What is more, the generic character of the speaker
>>seems to be 
>>deliberately strengthened by  references to both
>>sexes.
>>
>>The governing consciousness, or if you like, the
>>voice speaking in the 
>>poem, (if there is ONE), seems to comply with the
>>notion of Hindu /tat 
>>vam asi /("Thou art That"), or at any rate, as D.
>>Moody observes 
>>"[speaker's] ordinary, egoistical self is
>>suspended".
>>
>>Therefore the epistemic situation of the speaker
>>seems to differ from 
>>the traditonal Cartisian (subject-object) model.
>>
>>The poem read in this way would come up to one of
>>the modernist 
>>expressions of the epistemic trauma, or of what
>>Tillich calls 
>>"ontological shock".
>>
>>Could you please comment on those intuitions of
>>mine?
>>
>>Is any one of you interested in hermeneutic readings
>>of TSE?  Could you 
>>possibly recommend some articles or sources?
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>    
>>
>
>
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