At 09:18 AM 8/1/2007, Nancy Gish wrote:

>My point in the message below is that the text is not based in obvious
>truths.  It is a complex poem and can be read in many ways.

   Amen to that!

>The focus
>on religion is only one and one that does not necessarily match what we
>know about Eliot's own religious attitudes in 1919-1921.

   Problem is, we don't agree on what we know on that subject. Part of what 
we know, or could know, is what the poems say. The autobiographical poems 
of Poems 1920 directly reflect Christ the owner of souls (Gerontion) and 
Christ the divinity above and below all creation (Burbank). Gerontion, a 
trek through history and literary styles to its dilapidated present was 
what TSE originally thought to use to introduce TWL.  Sort of a "how we got 
here" and "what it looks like to be here now" combination.

>I do not think TWL is primarily about religion though obviously it has
>religious references.  I do not think the reading that it is a prelude
>to finding faith is a sufficient explanation of what it depicts.

   Me neither. It is more a "now I've got it, how do I, in this state I'm 
in, live with it" affair.

>   I
>think anyone still claiming that needs to justify it as part of a
>framework for the poem

   In effect it is not only a framework for TWL but, as suggested above, 
for Eliot's poetic career to that point and (as it turned out) afterward. 
Of course, this may look like "hindsight" now, but what would the 
alternative be?

Ken A