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Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote: .
        I am trying to analyze how his poetry manages to be so emotionally moving when he takes emotional sterility, the feeling of being neither alive nor
  dead, as his subject. How can a poet so reticent about expressing
  emotion express it so effectively? As a poet I would like to know how
  he manages that.  Diana.



   
  Many thanks, Diana, for your thought-provoking question.  It made me
  sit back and contemplate Eliot's "emotion of art" -- not without some
  find -- it might look a little tedious, though.
   
  Let's first take into account a definition of "emotion" at the following 
  link. Interestingly, it connects "emotion" to "memory" -- a dimension
  which is significant in Eliot's context. 
  http://www.affectivetherapy.co.uk/news.htm  EMOTION AFFECT AND FEELING   These three words are closely associated and frequently used within 
  the same context.
   
  When we are affected by something we experience an emotion as a result.
  Affect is a biological pattern of events, triggered by a stimulus. Affects are
  innate, each one having its own exact programme. 
   
  Feeling is about the awareness of an affect and is an ability to 
  appreciate and comprehend. The ability to feel a particular affect 
  may be switched off by a distraction or denied by a cultural upbringing.
  The familiar 'stiff upper lip' attitude is a learned and practiced device
  to avoid acknowledgement and a display of feeling.
   
  Emotion adds another dimension to this established pattern. Every time 
  an individual experiences an affect it is logged and filed away in the
  memory. The memory of previous experiences is added to the feeling, 
  amplifying the awareness, to create the emotion.
   
  To summarise an affect is a biological, innate, instinctive response 
  to a stimulus and is fleeting, very brief.  It becomes a feeling 
  through awareness and knowledge and an emotion by the additional
  recall of previous experience from memory.
   
  --------------
  
In being connected to "memory", the artistic emotion subsumes
  "a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence".
  Furthermore, as a result of this interaction with other feelings, it becomes 
  the transmuted "emotion of art".
   
  It should be exceedingly illuminating to read the following excerpts 
  from 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' to understand and appreciate
  Eliot's notion of the artistic emotion.  It closely relates to his "process of depersonalization and its relation to the sense of tradition". 
   
  Here's an instance of how "memory" in terms of Spenser's 'Prothalamion' 
  ["The nymphs"] transmutes the immediate emotion associated with the 
  Thames [vis-a-vis its present state of pollution], and lends it its intensity.
  [An answer to your question, Diana.]
   
    "By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . 
   Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
   Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long."
   
  Regards.

   
  ~ CR
   
  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
  EXCERPTS FROM 'TRADITION AND THE INDIVIDUAL TALENT'
  [emphasis mine]
   
   
  [Tradition] involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which
  we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be 
  a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves
  a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; 
  the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation
  in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe
  from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has
  a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical 
  sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the
  timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. 
  And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his 
  place in time, of his contemporaneity.
   
  No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. 
  His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to
  the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, 
  for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism.... And the poet who is aware of 
  this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities.
   
  ...the difference between the present and the past is that the conscious
  present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which
  the past's awareness of itself cannot show.
   
  What happens is a continual surrender of himself as he is at the
  moment to something which is more valuable. The progress of an artist
  is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
   
  There remains to define this process of depersonalization and its 
  relation to the sense of tradition. 
   
   In the last article I tried to point out the importance of the relation 
  of the poem to other poems by other authors, and suggested the conception 
  of poetry as a living whole of all the poetry that has ever been written. 
   
  -----
   
  [The] mind of the mature poet differs from that of the immature one...
  by being a more finely perfected medium in which special, or very varied, 
  feelings are at liberty to enter into new combinations.
   
  [The] more perfect the artist,...the more perfectly will the mind 
  digest and transmute the passions which are its material.
   
  The experience, you will notice, the elements which enter the presence
  of the transforming catalyst, are of two kinds: emotions and feelings. 
  The effect of a work of art upon the person who enjoys it is an 
  experience different in kind from any experience not of art. It may be
  formed out of one emotion, or may be a combination of several; and
  various feelings, inhering for the writer in particular words or phrases
  or images, may be added to compose the final result.
   
   Or great poetry may be made without the direct use of any emotion 
  whatever: composed out of feelings solely. Canto XV of the Inferno 
  (Brunetto Latini) is a working up of the emotion evident in the situation;
  but the effect, though single as that of any work of art, is obtained by considerable complexity of detail. The last quatrain gives an image, a
  feeling attaching to an image, which "came," which did not develop 
  simply out of what precedes, but which was probably in suspension in 
  the poet's mind until the proper combination arrived for it to add 
  itself to.
   
  The poet's mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up
  numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all
  the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present
  together.
   
  -----
   
  If you compare several representative passages of the greatest poetry
  you see how great is the variety of types of combination, and also how
  completely any semi-ethical criterion of "sublimity" misses the mark. 
  For it is not the "greatness," the intensity, of the emotions, the
  components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure,
  so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts.
   
  The episode of Paolo and Francesca employs a definite emotion, 
  but the intensity of the poetry is something quite different from
  whatever intensity in the supposed experience it may give the 
  impression of. It is no more intense, furthermore, than Canto XXVI, 
  the voyage of Ulysses, which has not the direct dependence upon an
  emotion. Great variety is possible in the process of transmution of 
  emotion: the murder of Agamemnon, or the agony of Othello, gives an
  artistic effect apparently closer to a possible original than the scenes
  from Dante. In the Agamemnon, the artistic emotion approximates 
  to the emotion of an actual spectator; in Othello to the emotion
  of the protagonist himself. But the difference between art and
  the event is always absolute; the combination which is the murder of 
  Agamemnon is probably as complex as that which is the voyage of 
  Ulysses. In either case there has been a fusion of elements. 
  The ode of Keats contains a number of feelings which have nothing
  particular to do with the nightingale, but which the nightingale,
  partly, perhaps, because of its attractive name, and partly because
  of its reputation, served to bring together.
   
  -----
   
  I will quote a passage which is unfamiliar enough to be regarded with 
  fresh attention in the light—or darkness—of these observations: 

  And now methinks I could e'en chide myself 
For doating on her beauty, though her death 
Shall be revenged after no common action. 
Does the silkworm expend her yellow labours 
For thee? For thee does she undo herself? 
Are lordships sold to maintain ladyships 
For the poor benefit of a bewildering minute? 
Why does yon fellow falsify highways, 
And put his life between the judge's lips, 
To refine such a thing—keeps horse and men 
To beat their valours for her?...  
In this passage (as is evident if it is taken in its context) there is a 
  combination of positive and negative emotions: an intensely strong
  attraction toward beauty and an equally intense fascination by the 
  ugliness which is contrasted with it and which destroys it. This balance
  of contrasted emotion is in the dramatic situation to which the speech
  is pertinent, but that situation alone is inadequate to it. This is, so to 
  speak, the structural emotion, provided by the drama. But the whole
  effect, the dominant tone, is due to the fact that a number of
  floating feelings, having an affinity to this emotion by no means
  superficially evident, have combined with it to give us 
  a new art emotion.
   
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