Carrol, I thought the idea was to interpret Eliot's choice of "the ivory men" in its wholistic context. TWL has exhausted many minds and I think we who are struggling to incorporate more elements into our understanding of the poem are commendable. If you don't like what we're doing, don't get involved. We like it. Diana

Probably only in a formal essay can one wholly honor the hermeneutic
circle, and an e-list with its sort of random landing on this or that
line or passage is particularly unsuited for that. Nevertheless it seems
to me that discussions on this list are really extravagant in a
disabling way for their failure even to give a distant nod to that
circle. This discussion of the ivory line vividly dramatizes this
failure. It can become really absurd to obsess over one or a few lines
in utter abstraction from any sense of the whole.


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