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I too find it incredibly wonderful, Diana, that a Marxist critic focuses
on what truly matters in Eliot's poetry, cautioning scholars to steer
clear of the artificial barriers that stand in the way of our appreciating
Eliot's true greatness as a poet. As Peter Montgomery rightly points
out, Eagleton's focus is always on the work: he has "simply evaporated
some of the impeding steam".
 
But there's a moot point that maybe solves the mystery --
Eliot may be a Royalist but it's not part of the poet's raids
on the unconscious, or his archetypal symbols, or his concern
with time and eternity. Yes, there are hints of Royalism in Little
Gidding -- but it's a broken king in a state of disillusionment with
the world -- or, as in Murder in the Cathedral -- it's the Church
that triumphs over temporal Monarchy -- there are streaks in
Eliot where Eagleton would find common grounds of compassion
(mark the Chorus of Canterbury women lamenting the plight of
the underdog).
 
Regards,
 
CR
 

Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Peter and CR: What do you make of the fact that Eagleton is a Marxist critic interpreting the poetry of a self-avowed Royalist? Diana


From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: "Raine's sterile thunder"
Date:  Sat, 5 May 2007 07:35:31 -0700

Thanks a lot, Peter, for your lucid comments.
  
You're right in remarking :
  
 
  
"Maintaining the focus on the perceptions helps to make a further
  
deeper perception possible, which  is, how Eliot was setting about
  
to shape perception itself."
  
 
  
Reminds me of Herman Hesse's SIDHARTHA where the
  
protagonist refuses to take for granted what has been told
  
to him by the Buddha, but instead chooses
to "experience"
  
the path (laid down by Terry Eagleton !!! ) himself -- it's
  
proceeding from perception to perception --
  
the flashes dawning like the light on kingfisher's wings --
  
oh, it seems like the blueprint of some mystical journey
  
where one has to proceed from one revelation to another.
  
Is that so ?  Interesting !
  
 
  
But my foolish question still haunts me rather
  
doggedly -- has someone articulated this experience
  
of Eliot's poetry in terms of perceptions and deeper
  
perceptions ?  Any "footprints on the sands of time"
  
so that one may read them and take heart ???
  
 
  
Regardful thanks,
  
 
  
CR

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  
    
Let us not forget that Eagleton has simply extrapolated from Eliot's own thinking,
  
in order to satisfy Eliot's own understanding of his approach to his work.
Always
  
the focus is on the work, and secondarily on Eliot's guidelines to maintaining the
  
focus. Eaglton has simply evaporated some of the impeding steam. If one simply
  
continues to look for the effects generated by the work, rather than any given meaning,
  
one will get there. However, different effects will be generated by the same lines in
  
different people. So there is the paradox. By registering the effects one experiences,
  
the reader does have his or her own say in the discussion. Registering the effects
  
as experiences, rather than meanings is where the skill needs to develop.
Sticking
  
with the senses, the perceptions, is the key. The discipline lies in resisting the temption
  
to attribute meanings to the perceptions. Maintaining the focus on the perceptions
  
helps to make a further deeper perception possible, which  is, how Eliot was setting
  
about to shape perception itself. A serious service is registered in laying that work bare.
  
 
  
What was it Pound said to Eliot about going in front doors and backdoors?
  
 
  
Cheers,
  
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: Friday, May 04, 2007 6:27 AM
  
Subject: Re: "Raine's sterile thunder"
  

  
Here are, then, the theoretical parameters of a sensible approach
  
to Eliot, eliciting a unanimous applause from us. It makes me curious,
  
though, to learn if the List can guide the reader/student to some 
  
criticism/analysis of Eliot's work that adheres to the norms laid down
  
by Terry Eagleton.  Or must the reader/student of Eliot sift and choose
  
for himself/herself from a wide array of criticism -- as always ?
  
 
  
CR  


Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  
         
Hence the contempt for certain strains of criticism and/or analysis.
  
Love it.
  
P.
  
  
----- Original Message -----
  
From: cr mittal
  
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
  
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 9:51 AM
  
Subject: "Raine's sterile thunder"
  

  
"Eliot's poetry is not a question of meaning in the first place.
  
The meaning of a poem for Eliot was a fairly trifling matter. It was,
  
he once remarked, like the piece of meat which the burglar throws to
  
the guard dog to keep him occupied. In true symbolist fashion, Eliot
  
was interested in what a poem did, not in what it said—in the resonance
  
of the signifier, the echoes of its archetypes, the ghostly associations
  
haunting its grains and textures, the stealthy, subliminal workings of
  
its unconscious. Meaning was for the birds, or perhaps for the petit
  
bourgeoisie. Eliot was a primitivist as well as a sophisticate, a writer
  
who made guerrilla raids on the collective unconscious. For all his
  
intellectualism, he was averse to rationality. Meaning in his poetry is
  
like the mysterious figure who walks beside you in The Waste Land,
  
vanishing when you look at it straight. When Raine enquires of a couple
  
of lines in one of Eliot's poems whether we are supposed to be in a
  
brothel, the only answer which would be true to Eliot's own aesthetic
  
is that we are in a poem. "
  
                                                      ~ Terry Eagleton
  
 
     
 
  
CR
  

  
  
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