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Diana,
 
I have read with great interest your observations on
the subject.  I look forward to continued exploration
of this core issue in Eliot's poetry.
 
Many thanks.
 
~ CR


Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Dear CR: I find a lot of merit in your theory of the subject/object dichotomy being an inner state of the narrator. Eliot himself used the term "dissociation," albeit in a somewhat different context of the author's relationship to his work. However, dissociation is the psychiatric term for elements of the personality that are not integrated into a sense of self -- disowned impulses as it were.
I would speculate further that Eliot's narrators, if not the poet himself, suffered from such a plethora of dissociated impulses that the self as an entity becomes questionable. Obviously some integration of personality is present or the narrator or poet himself would have been psychotic, which both are obviously not. But perhaps it was lacking to a degree that prompted a philosophical meditation on the nature of the self sufficient to make it a theme of the poems.
Certainly unacceptable impulses are a subject. They require burning and turning from. At the point when the narrator says "because I do not hope to turn again" ascetism seems to have done as much as it can in managing them.
Nancy recommended a book on Eliot and nightmares, which are simply disowned impulses that threaten to break through into consciousness. I have ordered it but it has not yet arrived. To be continued! Diana 


From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Subject/Object Dichotomy in Eliot's Protagonists
Date:  Tue, 12 Sep 2006 20:34:47 -0700

              
  
Diana,
  
 
  
This is just exploratory -- I wonder if it makes
  
any sense.
  
 
  
In 'East Coker' Eliot talks of a person's two selves --
  
one that is imperfect but aspiring ("to get from where
  
you are not") toward a state of perfection ("to arrive
  
where you are"):
  
 
  
                                    In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are
not,
    You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
    You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
    You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
    You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
  
 
  
(emphasis mine)
  
 
  
Earlier, in The Waste Land, Eliot hints at the
  
moment of disillusion when one becomes
  
conscious of one's imperfect state:
  
 
  
Only at nightfall, aethereal rumours
  
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
  
  
 
In Ash-Wednesday the protagonist is
  
conscious of his unworthiness and
  
visualizes his earthly self undergoing
  
purgation.
  
 
  
Presumably, Eliot's Prufrock speaks of his two
  
selves -- the "you" and "I" -- one of whom seems
  
to be his "real" self, the enlightened one who
  
guides and admonishes him -- the other one is
  
painfully aware of his inadequacies.
  
 
  
Is it possible to study Eliot's poetry as an expression
  
of this dichotomy between his central character's
  
two
selves?
  
 
  
If it's viable, it might throw some light on the
  
subject/object dichotomy of the speaker in
  
Preludes -- the subject observing things
  
and passing comments -- the object
  
is part of the scene, clasping the yellow soles
  
of feet in the palms of both soiled hands.  
  
 
  
Regards.
  
 
  
~ CR
  
 
  
  


Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:  
  
  
  
By "resolution of the subject/object dichotomy"
  
I mean consciousness of the illusory nature
of self
  
as a separate entity. Tat Tvam Asi. I see this as a possible theme in Eliot's poetry. Diana
  
  
    
  
  

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