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Peter, that's another postmodern aspect of Eliot, wouldn't you say? Disjunctions and indeterminacy, and deconstruction of conventional narrative.  Diana


From:  Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Rewrite The Waste Land
Date:  Sat, 21 Jul 2007 23:59:01 -0800
The various interruptions to or contortions of the narrative
help to create a sense of synchronicity or all at onceness in
the poem. One of the technical messages of the poem
(ie. the medium as message) is that the narrative is pretty
much kaput in the modernist perception of reality.

Cheers,
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:46 AM
Subject: Rewrite The Waste Land


> In the thread "The Context of Marie ( Was Re: a Jeremiah sighting?)"
> Nancy Gish wrote (Fri, 13 Jul 2007 13:43:25 -0400):
> >
> > The poem was, as Aiken said, composed of many parts from many
> > periods--some at least as early as 1913.  So even if he fit them into a
> > mosaic with all the conscious intention you see, they do not fit into a
> > single unified intention in their creation.  I don't think they ever do,
> > but that is a different way of reading.
>
> Peter Montgomery then replied (Sat, 14 Jul 2007 20:41:28 -0800):
> >
> > Something on which we agree,
> > although the order is not necessarily arbitrary.
> > They work in this order. Their interpenetration reflects
> > perhaps an intuitive or subconcious sense of a state of mind.
>
>
> Calvin Bedient in his "He Do the Police in Different Voices: The Waste
> Land and Its Protagonist" (p. 159) brings up the point that if Part IV
> were deleted totally then TWL would have the imagery of the Buddha's
> fire sermon "burning" leading into Part V's "After the torchlight red
> on sweaty faces". (Bedient has some other pros and cons on the
> deletion but I'll leave them be for now.)
>
> In correspondence between Eliot and Pound about the editing Pound
> suggested that most of "Death by Water" be left out.  Eliot then
> wondered if he should also remove the remaining portion about Phlebas.
> Pound replied:
>    I DO advise keeping Phlebas.  In fact I more'n advise. Phlebas is an
>    integral part of the poem; the card pack introduces him, the drowned
>    phoen. sailor.  And he is needed ABSOlootly where he is. Must stay in.
>
> While Eliot may have had a reason for placing "Death by Water" after
> "The Fire Sermon" when he wrote his draft (perhaps to make an
> exception to lust for sailors ;-) with the deletions suggested by
> Pound maybe there should have more thought given to the placement of
> now much shorter section.  I'm suggesting that possibly "The Waste
> Land" would be stronger if the redacted "Death by Water" had been
> placed between "A Game of Chess" and "The Fire Sermon".
>
> As Bedient wrote, with "Death by Water" out of the way, the image
> transition between "The Fire Sermon" and "What the Thunder Said" would
> be going from burning to torchlight.  But, additionally, the imagery
> in "A Game of Chess" would go from the "Good night" allusion to
> Ophelia and her later death by water (with her arms full of flowers, a
> la the hyacinth girl) to Phlebas entering the whirlpool.  This would
> have made connections to Part I and II's hyacinth girl and the phrase
> "Those are pearls that were his eyes" more explicit through closer
> proximity.  Also, the transition from "Death by Water" to "The Fire
> Sermon" would then have been from the current picking Phlebas' bones
> in whispers to the Thames River litter, an excellent contrast I think.
>
> Besides the imagery, the broader ideas would be rearranged and I don't
> think that this would harm the poem much and may help.  I've assigned
> a keyword or two to each of TWL's parts to show how the progression of
> meaning would change:
>    ORDER  ORIGINAL              MODIFIED
>    I      Memory                Memory
>    II     Reality/trapped       Reality/trapped
>    III    Desire                Death
>    IV     Death                 Desire
>    V      Purgation/redemption  Purgation/redemption
> The new ordering would place Desire and Purgation closer together and
> I think that the sequence Memory -> Reality -> Death isn't too bad.
> Think past, present, future.
>
> I'm seeking comments and opinions about this.  At any rate, this might
> make an interesting classroom discussion topic.
>
> Regards,
>    Rick Parker
>
>
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