Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">cr mittal
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2007 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot and Anti-Semitism from the London Review of Books

Dear Ken,
 
I'm sorry to disagree with you.
 
Let us mark "Bleistein with a Cigar" in the title of the poem.
[all emphasis, here and elsewhere, only mine]
 
And certain words in the epigraph that underscore the theme of lust:
 
 Tra-la-la-la-la-la-laire --
 ...goats and monkeys, with such hair too! --
 
And the context preceding the image of Bleistein:

                     Her shuttered barge
Burned on the water all the day.
 
But this or such was Bleistein's way:
A saggy bending of the knees
And elbows, with the palms turned out,
Chicago Semite Viennese. 
 
A lustreless protrusive eye
Stares from the protozoic slime
At a perspective of Canaletto.
 
On the Rialto once.
The rats are underneath the piles.
The jew is underneath the lot.
Money in furs.
 
-----
 
And now 'Gerontion' :

My house is a decayed house,
And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.
                                                 
 
Ken, there may be this aspect to the images pointed out by you and Robert, 
and if it is there, it only serves as an ironic point of contrast that deepens
the sense of sordidness epitomized in these characters.
 
BTW, I searched in vain for the image of "Christ the owner of the soul
in the stained glass of Gerontion".
 
Regards.
 
CR


Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
CR -- Whether in the all-seeing divine eye and way of the Cross in
Burbank or Christ the owner of the soul in the stained glass of Gerontion,
Eliot is anything but anti-semitic in these poems.


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