----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana ManisterSent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 7:36 AMSubject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'
Peter, perhaps someone can correct or confirm my understanding of "tat vam asi" as meaning thusness, givenness, uninterpretable suchness, the opposite of "fancies that are curled /Around these images, and cling...." Diana
From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Identity of the speaker in 'Preludes'
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 21:06:04 -0700You'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 ballapproach, which identifies only the physical influence of one phenom. on another.There has been no acceptance of formal, or final causality (or material causalityfor that matter -- though Einstein has made a difference there). In effect, all the focushas been on how, not on what or why. The temporalisation of perceptionhas rejected the other dimensions as supersititions, and hence the mystery has beensuppressed.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 inthe world of sanskrit. It is no minor influence on him. I'm sure the archives would tellyou 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 faras 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 childhoodand early education (some are, of course, spared that tragedy), to reach one's natural perceptual modeswhich have been supprssed by personal, social and political influences. Hence I can be somewhat of anuisance when people start to pedal those cliché modes.Regards,Peter----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">marcin ostrouchSent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 12:08 AMSubject: 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. P. ----- 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 published. Dunja --- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wwrote:It might be worth considering "Portarait of a Lady"'s "You have the scene arrange itself,as it will seem to do." P. ----- 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 attheList and here are some ideas (and furtherquestions)I've come up to. The subject appearing in Eliot's Preludes seems tobeundetermined, and in so far, I guess it could beevensee as the generic one. In any case, the main characteristic of the subject (when I say thesubject,I don't mean the subject of the speaker, but the subject the poem speaks of, but in how far theyshouldbe distinguished at all, I'll say something a bit later) is his/her passivity. While in the part Ithesubject is set against the world (being subjectedtoits course), in the part II (s)he is set againstthetime (being "condemned" to it) . (I think thesecondverse of the part II shares some of the ideas appearing in Prufrock, and I'd be glad to discussthatissue as well). In the part III, we finally see the subject*doing*something, but even that ("you tossed a blanket")isthe action of removing = replying to what hasalreadybeen there. But what this part seems to bring isthe(only?) action left to the subject - to have avision(in solitude). Now, in the part IV, the subject ofthespeaker finally appears, but almost equivalent tothesubject (s)he is talking about - it is again a passive subject (i am moved... I cling...). Thefinalverse reveals a sort of "catharsic" discovery ofthesubject (both the speaker and the one (s)he is speaking of), similar to the relation of theancientGreeks towards the destiny: as the destiny is uncontrollable even by gods themselves, why makingsomuch fuss about it? It seems to me that the status of the subject inthepoem could be compared with Heidegger's notion of "being thrown into the world" (excuse myformulation,I'm not sure how this expression is to betranslatedin English), as well as with the "eigentlich" and "uneigentlich" modes of "Dasein". However, I don't see why the poem would stand intheopposition to the classical subject-objectrelation,and how would that be related to the "ontological shock" you mentioned. If by "ontological shock"youconsider the realization of the finiteness ofhumanbeing, then this idea is definitely present inbothPreludes 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 bitmoreon that? Cheers, Dunja --- marcin ostrouch <[log in to unmask]> wrote::I would like to raise the issue of identity ofthespeaker in /Preludes. / Please forgive me if you find it an open secret,butbeing 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 coupleofpoems by TSE in the light of Heideggerian concept of authentic existence. Therefore, I tend to shun the structuralist approach whichpervadesthe grey volumes of my institute's library... It does seem that throughout the poem theidentityof the speaker remains indeterminate. Would you agree that the inflected pronoun "you"inthe first stanza, and the same pronoun in the third, are genericones?[as I am not quite informed in the use of those] What is more, the generic character of thespeakerseems to be deliberately strengthened by references to both sexes. The governing consciousness, or if you like, the voice speaking in the poem, (if there is ONE), seems to comply withthenotion of Hindu /tat vam asi /("Thou art That"), or at any rate, asD.Moody observes "[speaker's] ordinary, egoistical self is suspended". 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 oneofthe modernist expressions of the epistemic trauma, or of what Tillich calls "ontological shock". Could you please comment on those intuitions of mine? Is any one of you interested in hermeneuticreadingsof TSE? Could you possibly recommend some articles or sources?__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spamprotection aroundhttp://mail.yahoo.com -- No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. 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