You're welcome. I agree that the Cartesian/Newtonian world is toast in this poem.
My preference is for the medieval understanding of multiple causality. Post Locke,
Hobbes, Hume there has been preoccupation with efficient causality, the billiard ball
approach, which identifies only the physical influence of one phenom. on another.
There has been no acceptance of formal, or final causality (or material causality
for that matter -- though Einstein has made a difference there). In effect, all the focus
has been on how, not on what or why.  The temporalisation of perception
has rejected the other dimensions as supersititions, and hence the mystery has been
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
We've just been through a very thorough review and discussion of Eliot's involvement in
the world of sanskrit. It is no minor influence on him. I'm sure the archives would tell
you all we've done. Perhaps our grand master, Rickard, can point you in that dimension.
Your phrase, "tat vam asi" did not, however, come up in that discussion as far
as I remember.
While the Cartesian influence is endemic to our culture, I prefer, rather than trying to sus it out or experience ontological shock, to see that one needs to reject the actual, experiential conditioning of one's early childhood
and early education (some are, of course, spared that tragedy),  to reach one's natural perceptual modes
which have been supprssed by personal, social and political influences. Hence I can be somewhat of a
nuisance when people start to pedal those cliché modes.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">marcin ostrouch
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 12:08 AM
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'

Indeed. For can we ever "bracket our biased nature" (Shargel and Dwyer's phrasing)?

Thank you for the reference to Pound's poem. It is most illuminating.The closing lines left me... well, moved. Let me bring up the Hindu "tat vam asi" (Thou art that) again.  It is common knowledge that TSE did some reading in Upanishads, and so did Pound, I would imagine (I am not quite familiar with the miglior fabro's background). "Tat vam asi" definitely implies rejection of the everyday (Cartesian,  categorising, alienating) mode of perception.

Would you agree that the "dismembement"  of the "They" (synecdochic "feet", "hands"), and the atomised world, to which the speaker in Preludes is awaken,  is analogous to Cartesian "mutilation" of the One ("infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing")?

Just for the record:
"ontological shock" is an expression taken from Tillich's "Systematic Theology" (qtd. in "The literary Depiction of Ontological Shock" by E.P. Levy [quite an interesting analysis of the aforementioned condition in "East Cocker" and in Beckett's "Murphy"])

Once again, thank you for joining me and these issues.


Peter Montgomery wrote:
It is amazing how much of one's own perceptual conditioning
can be found in the poem. It isalso useful to reference
Pound's Portrait d'un Femme, which makes a fascinating companion piece.
"Your mind and you are our sargasso sea."

The poem is a spectral stone indeed.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dunja Seselja" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2006 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'

Very interesting idea, Peter. There are, in general, a
lot similarities between Preludes, Portrait of a Lady
and Love Song of A.J. Prufrock. 
Could it be that the Preludes mentioned in Portrait of
a Lady are a cross-reference to Eliot's own Preludes? 
It is also interesting that in all three poems the
subject is confronted with what Marcian called
"ontological shock" - he is overwhelmed with time and
his finite existence in it. Heideggerian
being-to-death maybe? It is fascinating how much of
Heidegger can be found in early Eliot... written at
least 10 years before Heidegger's main work was


--- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

It might be worth considering "Portarait of a
"You have the scene arrange itself,as it will seem
to do."
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dunja Seselja" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'

Dear Marcin,

I've been thinking of the questions you rose at
List and here are some ideas (and further
I've come up to.
The subject appearing in Eliot's Preludes seems to
undetermined, and in so far, I guess it could be
see as the generic one. In any case, the main
characteristic of the subject (when I say the
I don't mean the subject of the speaker, but the
subject the poem speaks of, but in how far they
be distinguished at all, I'll say something a bit
later) is his/her passivity. While in the part I
subject is set against the world (being subjected
its course), in the part II (s)he is set against
time (being "condemned" to it) . (I think the
verse of the part II shares some of the ideas
appearing in Prufrock, and I'd be glad to discuss
issue as well). 
In the part III, we finally see the subject
something, but even that ("you tossed a blanket")
the action of removing = replying to what has
been there. But what this part seems to bring is
(only?) action left to the subject - to have a
(in solitude). Now, in the part IV, the subject of
speaker finally appears, but almost equivalent to
subject (s)he is  talking about - it is again a
passive subject (i am moved... I cling...). The
verse reveals a sort of "catharsic" discovery of
subject (both the speaker and the one (s)he is
speaking of), similar to the relation of the
Greeks towards the destiny: as the destiny is
uncontrollable even by gods themselves, why making
much fuss about it? 
It seems to me that the status of the subject in
poem could be compared with Heidegger's notion of
"being thrown into the world" (excuse my
I'm not sure how this expression is to be
in English), as well as with the "eigentlich" and
"uneigentlich" modes of "Dasein".
However, I don't see why the poem would stand in
opposition to the classical subject-object
and how would that be related to the "ontological
shock" you mentioned. If by "ontological shock"
consider the realization of the finiteness of
being, then this idea is definitely present in
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
on that?



--- marcin ostrouch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I would like to raise the issue of identity of
speaker in /Preludes.
Please forgive me if you find it an open secret,
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
poems by TSE in the 
light of Heideggerian concept of authentic
existence. Therefore, I tend 
to shun the structuralist approach which
the grey volumes of my 
institute's library...

It does seem that throughout the poem the
of the speaker 
remains indeterminate.

Would you agree that the inflected pronoun "you"
the first stanza, 
and the same pronoun in the third, are generic
[as I am not quite 
informed in the use of those]

What is more, the generic character of the
seems to be 
deliberately strengthened by  references to both

The governing consciousness, or if you like, the
voice speaking in the 
poem, (if there is ONE), seems to comply with
notion of Hindu /tat 
vam asi /("Thou art That"), or at any rate, as
Moody observes 
"[speaker's] ordinary, egoistical self is

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
the modernist 
expressions of the epistemic trauma, or of what
Tillich calls 
"ontological shock".

Could you please comment on those intuitions of

Is any one of you interested in hermeneutic
of TSE?  Could you 
possibly recommend some articles or sources?

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