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 makesany sense.In 'East Coker' Eliot talks of a person's two selves --one that is imperfect but aspiring ("to get from whereyou are not") toward a state of perfection ("to arrivewhere you are"):In order to arrive there,not,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are
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 themoment of disillusion when one becomesconscious of one's imperfect state:Only at nightfall, aethereal rumoursRevive for a moment a broken CoriolanusIn Ash-Wednesday the protagonist isconscious of his unworthiness andvisualizes his earthly self undergoingpurgation.Presumably, Eliot's Prufrock speaks of his twoselves -- the "you" and "I" -- one of whom seemsto be his "real" self, the enlightened one whoguides and admonishes him -- the other one ispainfully aware of his inadequacies.Is it possible to study Eliot's poetry as an expressionof this dichotomy between his central character'stwoselves?If it's viable, it might throw some light on thesubject/object dichotomy of the speaker inPreludes -- the subject observing thingsand passing comments -- the objectis part of the scene, clasping the yellow solesof 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 natureof selfas a separate entity. Tat Tvam Asi. I see this as a possible theme in Eliot's poetry. Diana
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