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Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:        Well CR, can Eliot have it both ways? Either the poem addresses the buried life through a Hamlet-like narrator who does not act, or takes as a theme the narrator's guilt over having committeed murder. It seems to me that the latter meaning cancels out the former. Diana



  It's not Eliot, I guess, who intended to have it both ways --
  it's the reader's perspective that varies, depending on from which angle
  they view it.  Maybe there're more angles to it than just these two. 
  As for Eliot, I believe the irony in his title 'The Burial of the Dead' 
  points to the sterile planting of "the dead" (in a wastland) which 
  will not result in a new life, as contrasted with the Christian burial
  ordained in the Book of Common Prayer.
   
  Hence the speaker's questioning of Stetson if the corpse
  planted by him will attain to a new life.
   
  The meaning I was trying to read in it could be construed as mean --
  an attempt to read the poem in the light of the poet's biography.  But
  no one can deny a reader, as I wrote earlier, their prerogative  to know 
  about a poet's life and find its reflection in his/her work. This would,
  however, be just _a_ reading, not the sole and final one. 
   
  Well poetry, especially the modernist/symbolist, gives you what you
  bring to it -- the possibilities of interpretation are endless.  (Or so
  am I told ! )
   
  I'm not sure if I'm on sure grounds -- hope I am :)
  And thanks for raising this question.
   
  Regards,
   
  CR


       
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