Peter, while Eliot is not above simplistic satire, as evidenced by the excised Fresca section, his treatment of Madam Sosostris is more ambiguous. If her prediction about death by water comes true, as the poem illustrates that it does, than she does have the power of prophecy, but she profanes her gift. Diana
Peter wrote: One could of course simply keep the text in its owncontext as a warning from Mad. Sos. to stay awayfrom water. Maybe that's how she got her bad cold.
I vaguely remember McLuhan's comment in classwas a chuckling observation about what having abad cold said about Mad. Sos's powers. In effectthe whole passage is a satiric comment by Eliot onthe whole occult thing.Cheers,P.----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Chokh RajSent: Sunday, July 29, 2007 9:25 AMSubject: Re: Water in TWL -- HeraclitusThanks for your thought-provoking comments, Barnwell.To me, Ophelia too is swayed by the "waters" of passion-- and her death by drowning reveals the destructive aspectof "water" (her passion). The allusion to her at the end of"A Game of Chess" helps to place the tragedy of Lil and thelady (with her nerves) in a historical perspective. "Water"(passion/love) has proved fatal in all these cases.Then, there is the daily "death" of the Thames daughters -- the water(the passion) which should be life-giving is vitiated -- it has becomedestructive.Well, that's how I read it.As for reading Heraclitian flux in the image of Thames, yes, a senseof the flux of history and time is certainly evident in the image of"the turning tide" -- "The nymphs are departed" -- "The river bearsno...testimony of summer nights" -- "Southwest wind / Carried downstream / The peal of bells / White towers / Weialala leia...", as alsoin the image of "A current under sea...the whirlpool".Regards,CRBarnwell Black <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Folks,One interesting exception to the symbol of water as a purifying agent or as an agent of passion in a positive sense in TWL is T. S. Eliot's use of the words of Ophelia at the conclusion of "A Game of Chess" -- "Good night, ladies, good night sweet ladies, good night, good night." Elizabeth Drew, in her book "T. S. Eliot:The Design of His Poetry," says "The good nights of the group modulate into the voice of the mad Ophelia, the preface to another death by drowning, but a death which is self-destruction, the end of frustrated love, not a baptism and regeneration into a new birth."I wonder if the reference to the Thames in "The Fire Sermon" (another water allusion), in addition to being a comment about the decline of Western culture/civilization ("The river sweats oil and tar..."), might not also be an allusion to the philosophy of TSE's "hero of pessimism", Heraclitus, the real Father of Quantum Mechanics -- Heraclitian flux: "a person cannot step into the same river twice." As Bertrand Russell wrote in 1946, "The doctrine of perpetual flux, as taught by Heraclitus, is painful, and science can do nothing to refute it." -- but poetry can. :-)Regards,Barnwell
Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not web links.
No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.476 / Virus Database: 269.10.22/923 - Release Date: 7/27/2007 6:01 PM