Diana wrote:

>What does TSE suggest when he writes "way?"

The word "way" and the description that follows makes me think of "the way 
of the cross".

>Bleistein is not on the cross, he is alive and ambulatory.

What in the text of the poem tells you that Bleistein is alive and 
ambulatory? Isn't the phrase "_was_ Bleistein's way" a phrase in past-tense?

>Doesn't this description imply the way Bleistein carries himself,
>in an imitation of Christ's crucifixion, caused by a martyr complex or 

The description could be intended to contrast an "authentic" crucifixion 
with a "profane" one, contrasting the "real thing" with one that exists only 
in Bleistein's self-pitying mind. On the other hand, the word that opens the 
line, "But" ("But this or such was Bleistein's way") seems more likely to 
contrast Bleistein's way (the way of the cross) with the way that 
immediately precedes it, namely the pagan way of Burbank and his God 
Hercules who left him.

>"Saggy" is not a term of admiration -- sounds like a reference to 

Given the religious themes of this poem, "saggy" as a reference to impotence 
seems unlikely to me.

Remember that this is the poem that Eliot wrote about (in a letter to his 
brother in 1920) that said, "Some of the new poems, the Sweeney ones, 
especially Among the Nightingales and Burbank are intensely serious, and I 
think these two are among the best that I have ever done".

For a religious poet like Eliot, "intensely serious" most likely means a 
poem about religion. That's why I think Edward Pearce has it all wrong in 
that book review when he says that the poem is anti-Semitic, with images of 
a Jew "hatefully about to enjoy a Christian woman". I don't see evidence 
that Pearce understands the poem at all and therefore the specific things 
that he writes about it are of questionable value.

-- Tom --

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