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.

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