Dear Nancy: Sorry I repeated your remarks in my message. I had not read yours when I wrote it, but I'm pleased to be on the same page with you with regard to Hale. ( propos of nothing, I  studied drawing for several years with one of her descendents, Robert Beverly Hale.)

Speaking of the plays, I'm sure you've heard the interpretation that Harry, Lord Monchensey in The Family Reunion, who pushes his wife overboard on a cruise, represents Eliot's desire to get rid of Vivien. The family homestead to which he returns is called "Wishwood." Harry says something like "Surprising how fast a body sinks."

I too wish to live long enough to read Eliot's letters to Hale. The cad. Diana


From:  Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Of "awful daring"
Date:  Tue, 12 Jun 2007 11:41:55 -0400
Her name was Emily Hale, and all this is described in Gordon.  He did take her with him when he went to Burnt Norton.  And he had told her he loved her before he ever left America, then reinstituted the relationship years later.  While Viv was in the hospital, he visited her and she came to see him in England.  When Viv died, he told her he had taken a vow of celibacy, so they went on being an emotional relationship carefully distanced from more, but he took her about to the Woolf's and others' homes.  He was still married but never visited Viv for the eleven years she was institutionalized before she died--though he went to St. Elizabeth's to visit Pound and helped get him released.  Then Hale learned from the news that he had married someone else--without having mentioned it to her (or Mary either).  She had a breakdown over it.

From Gordon:  "So, from the dream, came actuality, what Emily called the 'flowering'. It began when she was forty-one and Eliot forty-four.  some bond was established in 1933, sealed by a ring and reinforced by the frequency of Eliot's letters and the climactic visit to Burnt Norton."

When "The Cocktail Party" opened in Edinburgh, both Emily Hale and Mary Trevelyan were in Edinburgh and he took them both to the play on different nights.  Apparently they were not aware that the other was there.  I don't think that is in Ackroyd or Gordon; I learned it from someone in Scotland and am not sure now who.

It will be fascinating when Eliot's letters to Hale are released from copyright in 2019.  (He burned hers to him and was furious that she gave hers to a library.)   I have informed my doctor that keeping me alive until I can read them is his responsibility.

This is all documented, and I was once astonished to read on a post on this list that Hale should have known better and realized it was just friendship.  30 years of letters and a ring do suggest other things to most people.

Brian, it seems to me that Eliot's leaving Nancy Hale in America, when she and all their acquaintances assumed they would marry, was a powerful source of guilt for him all of his life. This reads like a soap opera, but even a genius is tormented by relationships. It seems almost as if his treatment of Hale had a tinge of sadism to it, so cruelly was she tossed aside twice in favor of other women. Repenting his first marriage may have included regret over having chosen Viv over Nancy. In any event, he certainly was very aware of his ill-treatment of a woman who loved him all of her life. I think the hyacinth girl has a Nancy Hale component, and the woman in the following poem especially:

La Figlia Che Piange (The Weeping Girl)

"...So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left         10
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,         15
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.         20
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.  "

Hale had a breakdown and was hospitalized after one of Eliot's marriages, I forget which. After Vivienne's death, it seemed they would marry after all, but he again reneged saying "It's too late!" Mary Trevelyan in England asked him several times to marry her after Viv died, but he said he had an attachment to a woman in America, who could only have been Nancy Hale. They saw each other over the years, when Eliot was in America and when she came to England. She accompanied him on his visit to places mentioned in 4Qs, and I sometimes think the door not entered and the unseen laughing children refer at least partly to his noy.

The events may be public, but guilt is not written in our obituaries. Diana


From:  "O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Of "awful daring"
Date:  Mon, 11 Jun 2007 16:48:23 -0400
I've always imagined that if the "daring moment" had a biographical referent, it was something less public and documentable than what we know of his marriage or conversion or change of national affiliation--something "not to be found in our obituaries."


Brian O'Sullivan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Englishh
Director of the Writing Center
Montgomery Hall 50
18952 E. Fisher Rd.
St. Mary's College of Maryland
St. Mary's City, Maryland


From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. on behalf of Kate Troy
Sent: Mon 6/11/2007 4:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Of "awful daring"

These lines may not have referred to his marriage.  Perhaps he meant leaving America and living his life as a British citizen.

-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 1:29 pm
Subject: Re: Off "awful daring"

It need not be either approval or disapproval but simply fact.  It was
Eliot, after all, who said that it was better to do evil than to do
nothing because "at least we exist."  (Or it may be "at least we are
alive"--I just read it but it's not right here.)  In any case, daring
moments are not very present in any of the poetry, and when they are
possible, whoever is speaking tends to fail.

It was not much of a marriage for Viv either, and it was she whose life
never recovered.  He seems to have sustained guilt over that but not to
have acted on his guilt.

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 06/12/07 10:27 AM >>>

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