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Dear Diana and CR,

I do thank you for taking up the "tat vam asi" issue, and am looking 
forward to further discussion.

In the mean time, could you please consider the following interpretation 
of the "infinitely" notorious "fancies":

Cr wrote:

To me these "fancies"
are the narrator's "reflections" born of his observations
of the social scene. And it is these fancies that constitute
the essence ("tat") of his observation. In the lines quoted
above from 'Preludes', aren't "fancies" subsumed in "The
notion" -- the notion of some infinitely gentle, infinitely
suffering thing???


I do not see why we should distinguish _whose_ fancies are those "curled 
around these images". Taking into account the shifting identity of the 
speaker througout the poem, the "fancies" in the fourth Prelude seem to 
be as much his/her as anybody else's inhabiting the "passageways" 
(dwelling there either implicitly or explicitly).

I am also not quite sure whether it is necessary to decide on what the 
"fancies" really are. For the reason, that whatever they are, they are 
ideas. Therefore, I would go with Diana in "relegating them to the realm 
of ego", or if you like, of / maya/. Thus being "moved" by the 
"fancies", in itself, would be symptomatic of sympathy on the part of 
the speaker. He/she seems to sympathise with the "hands", the "feet", 
the "eyes" with all the synecdochically mutilated inhabitants of his/her 
world. Indeed, he/she is one of them, and as such has curled his/her own 
"fancies" around "these images". But simultaneously, while aware of the 
synchronic multitude of solipsisms (see Prelude III),  he/she realises 
the fragmentation endemic in dualistic thinking. Perhaps it might be of 
some interest to cross-refere this with  TSE dissertation's "refrain": 
"all we have are points of view". Having said this, I would imagine that 
the "infinitely gentle / Infinitely suffering" is the ONE.

Looking forward to your response,
Marcin

> CR wrote:
>
> I am moved by fancies that are curled
> Around these images, and cling:
> The notion of some infinitely gentle
> Infinitely suffering thing.
>  
> Hi Diana,
>  
> By broaching on the Sanskrit epigram "tat tvam asi", you
> raise a controversial aspect of interpreting Eliot's poetry,
> especially 'Prufrock and Other Observations'.
>  
> From what little I have gathered from a site at Google,
> the maxim literally means "That thou art".
>  
> In transcendental Indian philosophy, one interpretation
> is: "That" (universal spirit) thou art. It simply means
> that the universal spirit manifests itself in the individual
> spirit.
>  
> But the maxim could also mean (and this could be
> relevant to the interpretation of Eliot's poetry):
> "That" (the world of objective reality created
> by a poet) is what the poet is. Some critics have
> indeed applied to Eliot's poetry this philosophy
> of subject-object correspondence propounded by
> FH Bradley (who undeniably was a major shaping
> influence on Eliot).
>  
> Thus, for instance, taking their lead from this
> notion, they tend literally to equate Prufrock with
> the objects of his perception so that, as Hugh Kenner
> would have it, the "streets, the yellow fog, the drains,
> the coffee spoons are Prufrock", the "evenings,
> mornings, afternoons" are Prufrock, as much as
> "the voice which says, 'I have known them all already,
> known them all".
>  
> To me, this approach is untenable since Bradley
> himself discounted solipsistic interpretations of
> immediate experience: "It would not follow", he
> said, "that all the world is merely a state of myself."
>  
> In point of fact, the objects and situations appear
> to Prufrock's highly perceptive mind as symbols
> which illumine for him the underlying reality of the
> social scene.
>  
> I guess it holds good for much of his other
> "Observations".
>  
> As for your placing "tat tvam asi" in contradistinction
> to the narrator's "fancies that are curled / Around
> these images", you seem to suggest that the
> "tat" (that) -- the essence -- is far removed from
> the "fancies".
>  
> I wouldn't go with you here. To me these "fancies"
> are the narrator's "reflections" born of his observations
> of the social scene. And it is these fancies that constitute
> the essence ("tat") of his observation. In the lines quoted
> above from 'Preludes', aren't "fancies" subsumed in "The
> notion" -- the notion of some infinitely gentle, infinitely
> suffering thing???
>  
> Best regards.
>  
> ~ CR