Re these List protagonists of yore, it would be most interesting to hear  
anything of them currently [for example think R Ingelbein is an Assistant  
Professor at a Belgian university now and no doubt young Arwin has gone far in  one 
direction or another.....]
In a message dated 22/12/2006 07:21:15 GMT Standard Time, [log in to unmask]  

Dear  Rickard,

Many many thanks for the web research you may have conducted  to find the
posts of the year 1998, by the memebers who are not anymore  active on the
list. In fact you gave me the full reconstruction of what I  vaguely
rememberd as something very impotrant for my current resecarch.  Could I ask
you to do me a favour and let me know if someday you come  across with any
further information on the subject? Any detection of  TSE-Flemish/Dutch
visual arts ties would be highly  appreciated.



Date:    Wed, 20  Dec 2006 07:37:37 -0500
From:    "Rickard A. Parker"  <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: TSE Digest - 17 Dec 2006 to 18  Dec 2006 (#2006-310)

Temur Kobakhidze wrote:
> Sorry for  having sort of jumped into your discussion of Four Quartets,
> and many  thanks for the links. I still think the best link to the Ghent
>  Altarpiece is , and that is Web Gallery  of
> Art.

I have to disagree about where the best pictures  are.  Wikipedia's can
be enlarged by clicking on the picture seen on  the article page for
one thing.  It also discourses on the  alterpiece.  Either Wikipedia
ignored the part of the panel with the  Sybil or I missed it so I
clicked the link to Wikicommons' pictures of the  alterpiece and I
picked up a 1 MB screen-filling (944x1760 pixels) detail  of just the
part of the panel containing her.

> I vaguely  remember a discussion of the topic here on this list years ago,
> but  sadly the archives are inaccessible, and I don't remember who the
>  participants were.

The posts that you've mentioned are by Raphael  Ingelbien in
November, 1998.  There was some discussion of panels in  art work
(St. Sebastian, I think) and Raphael wrote an aside:
Speaking of panels: I recently had another look at Van Eyck's
Mystic Lamb, this time with possible Eliotic allusions in  mind.
It was rather intriguing. Eliot's hippopotamus started  drifting
into the cathedral...

Jim Loucks replied to  Raphael with:
Can you elaborate on your last remark about the  painting [and]
TSE's hippo?

Before Raphael replied  there was some silliness on the list about the
hippo and TSE and  anti-semitism that Raphael continued a bit before
getting more  serious.

I'm adding a few of Raphael's posts below my  signoff.

> I can understand, that one can see no hippopotami in  the paintings of
> van Eyck, but the whole thing does not seem as simple  as that. What I am
> asking for is your comment. To what extent the  suggestion that TSE
> parodied Adoration in The Hippopotamus is  true?

Now that I've got Raphael's suggestions to steer me I'll see  where they'll
take me.

Rick  Parker

P.S. - And an aside from me: Later that month Arwin van Arum  also wrote:
Not to mention Theophile Gautier's  "l'Hippopotame" of course,
but you knew  that.


>  Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 21:14:38 +0000 (GMT)
> From:  "R.J.Ingelbien"
> Subject: Re: Lamb/hippo

On Fri, 27 Nov 1998,  james loucks wrote:

> Can you elaborate on your last remark about  the painting the TSE's hippo?

You see, Jim, it was in Ghent's  marvellous cathedral that things
suddenly fell into place: looking at Van  Eyck's Mystic Lamb, I got the
revelation that Eliot was not just a  misogynist, a fascist, a racist, a
bigot, an antisemite, a thief (it was he  who stole the lost panel of course)
but that he was indeed the Antichrist  himself...

OK, here is what I noticed:

- the lamb, washed as  white as snow, if you like,
- the true church, looking on,
- the choir  of the martyred virgins,
- lurking in a corner, our old TWL friend the  Sibyl of Cumae.

There might have been some other things as well, which  I don't remember
right now. I didn't take notes, sorry. I was also looking  at the painting
for itself.

Besides alluding to Van Eyck, 'The  Hippopotamus' also alludes to _Heart of
Darkness_ of course. More  specifically, to the dead hippo meat that
the cannibals take with them on  the boat, and which the pilgrims (another
version of the supposedly true  church that Eliot also satirises) chuck into
the river since they can't  bear its stench. By letting the dead hippo,
washed as white as snow, ascend  to heaven, Eliot redeems it from Conrad's
heart of darkness. The pilgrims  remain confined to it, sailing on one of the
rivers of hell as others in  Eliot remain stuck on the shores Dante's
Inferno - most notably the Hollow  Men, who can only see that 'Mistah
Kurtz, he dead'. Kurtz himself can only  exclaim 'the horror!' because he
worships the false whiteness of ivory. Had  he helped himself to
the hippo's meat, he would have glimpsed the  possibility of redemption -
in Eliot's reading, if not in Conrad. Instead,  he sits upon the shore,
fishing for the bits of dead hippo meat unwisely  discarded by the
pilgrims. The dead hippo lies at the bottom of the river,  full fathom
five: the hippo is the Jew of course, i.e. the only one who,  like his
derided brother Bleistein, will find grace in God's  eyes.


>  Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 15:00:02 +0000 (GMT)
> From: "R.J.Ingelbien"  <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Van  Eyck

On Sat, 28 Nov 1998 [log in to unmask] wrote:

> If  people ask you what you think of the van Eyck, you'll ordinarily
> say a  few sentences, and it isn't going to be as revealing of your ideas
> as,  say, your writing a  15-page essay on the painting.

A bit much to  ask at this point, I would say. I was only suggesting that
Eliot may have  remembered the painting when he wrote 'The Hippopotamus'.

> 1) I  wasn't aware he had visited Ghent, so fill me in. If he didn't, this
>  isn't fatal because he could have known the painting through a postcard  or
> reproduction.

He did visit Ghent shortly before W.W.I, as  well as Bruges and Antwerp.
That's mentioned in his letters, as well as in  Gordon. You say that he
was more into Italian art than in Flemish/Germanic  painting: this may be
true, but he may have been particularly impressed by  some of the
paintings he saw in Flanders. Again, which painting of St  Sebastian
struck him most? I can't remember for sure right now, but from  what I
remember of Gordon I think it was something he saw in a Flemish  museum.
Correct me if i'm wrong.
As you point out, it is also true that  Northern painters took Revelation
as their subject more often than their  Italian counterparts.
As for postcards or reproductions: Van Eyck's  triptych is quite a tricky
thing to reproduce, what with its three panels  (some of which are painted
on both sides) and its sheer size.

>  3) Here's the biggest problem.  The Ghent Altarpiece is based on  imagery,
> especially the mystic lamb, from the book of  Revelation.

True. What makes it quite interesting is that it condenses  Revelation in
a visionary mode rather than a narrative one. Thus, the  central panel has
the Lamb at its centre, with various groups looking on  (groups of Eliotic
interest here: the martyr'd virgins, the confessors). In  other words, it
is an extremely synthetic condensation of images.
I am  not sure Eliot liked it - certainly his response to the Flemish art
towns  was not wholly enthusiastic. He complained of their slightly  musty
atmosphere, the old miasmal mist hanging about the place.

>  possibility A--Eliot and van Eyck both borrow imagery from Revelation.
> possibility B--Eliot borrows from van Eyck, who borrowed from  Revelation

Or a mixture of both.

> The Biblical book is  bizarre and "surrealistic." Many artists tone down
> the imagery. In  Revelation, for example, the mystic lamb has "seven horns
> and seven  eyes." Van Eyck trimmed this back to a normal number of eyes
> and no  horns.

On the other hand, he still adopts a visionary rather than a  narrative
approach. He was no Bosch OK, but he did adopt a challenging  method.

> Now if you seriously felt the van Eyck was relevant, why  not lay out your
> reasoning? Maybe you see something I'm not  noticing.

I don't have a 'reasoning' at this stage, beyond the  suggestion that Van
Eyck may have been part of the kind of religiosity that  Eliot was satirising
in 'The Hippopotamus'. I don't think I know enough  about Eliot's
response to the visual arts to develop this much further, but  since some
people on the list are rather gemmed up on that aspect I thought  I would
float the idea of a connection and see what they could make of  it.