Print

Print


Diana Manister wrote:
> 
> Why a poet
> would create such narrators if in fact he did not share these feelings
> is a question I cannot answer. Diana
> 

Here is where those who regard biography as important (in some way)
could part company over its importance.

a) Biography is important because it aids in construing the poem

b) Biography is important because it aids in understanding the poet.

My personal perspective is the first of these. I could not care less
what Eliot the personally thought, felt, etc. He's dead. He can neither
help nor harm anyone, and if you believe in vengeance or rewards he is
beyond being aided or harmed. But it happens in the case of The Waste
Land (and earlier poems) that knowing something about his biography
underlines (or in some case reveals) meanings or emphases that we would
not have noticed (or not have given as much emphssis) lacking
biographical information. And the poem is still with us. One bit of
biography was of course more or less forced on us with the publication
of the facsimile == Pound's use of "photog" to gloss the game of chess
dialogue. So ignoring biography there would be in the same realm as
trying to obey the order to stand in the corner and _not_ think of
elephants.

Carrol