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I enjoyed that. Thanks.
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: Saturday, June 09, 2007 8:25 PM
Subject: Re: The Stetson Passage in TWL

TWL : masking personal history with impersonal facade
 
The impersonal facade of "the ships at Mylae" and "demobbed" Albert led
to the critical opinion of TWL as an expression of post-war disillusionment.
Later in life, Eliot repudiated it saying the poem was no more than a piece
of rhythmic grumbling, an expression of personal grudge against life.
 
The best of his poetry, Eliot confessed, had cost him dearly in experience.
As more is known of his life, it becomes clearer that the impersonal facade
of his poetry "masks an often quite literal reworking of personal experience."
 
Perhaps, the most agonizing experience of the poet's life was the infidelity 
of Viv, as well as the betrayal by a one-time-mentor and friend, Russell.
['Mr. Apollinax' -- "What paradoxes", "a crafty creature of many wiles".]
 
In his note to line 138 of 'A Game of Chess', Eliot refers specifically
to the game of chess being played in Middleton's play Women Beware
Women -- every move in the game corresponding to a step in the forcible
seduction of Bianca by the Duke. The allusion could have its basis in
the seduction of Viv by BR.
 
One can imagine the scenario of Tom coming back from the U.S.,
having left Viv in BR's care :
 
Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
He'll want to know what you done with the money he
     gave you...
 
But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
 
I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face.
It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
 
Presumably, the only thing that haunted Tom most was Viv's affair
with BR and her chores when he was away to America. He would have
learned of the facts, anyway.
 
Hence, in the poem, to the wife's hysterical cry of despair,
 
"I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow?
What shall we ever do?"
 
the husband could only be subtly satirical:
 
                                   The hot water at ten.
And if it rains, a closed car at four
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the
     door.
 
The "knock upon the door" is the one expected from Tom on his arrival
from the States.
 
Now, against the backdrop of this hideous scenario, let's read the lines
addressed to Stetson -- nope, to BR transposed as Stetson : 
 
                                               'Stetson!
'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!   [read Massachusetts Harbor]
'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
'You ! hypocrite lecteur ! -- mon semblable, -- mon frere !'
 
Well, the poet's neurotic, unhinged psyche could be asking Mr Apollinax
the uncomfortable tongue-in-cheek question -- accusing him rather sternly
("You!") of hypocrisy.
 
Ah, what transmutation of sad facts (?) into artifacts !
BUT whether these're facts, only Viv's diary could possibly tell.
Meanwhile,
 
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
 
CR
 


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