Perhaps it is the scale of modern warfare that makes it impossible to process as an experience, particularly by participants. André Breton saw first-hand the incoherent madness suffered by combat soldiers in a mental hospital in which he served on the medical staff, and he said in his Manifesto of Surrealism that this witnessing fueled his vision of an art that could express what he saw. He joined the ranks of Dada artists whose works reflected the feeling of irrationality and lack of meaning in such mass slaughter. In developing the Surrealist program, he revisited Rimbaud's vision of poetry as the "derangement of all the senses" as an appropriate mode of expression.
In her book The Poetics of Indeterminacy, Rimbaud to Cage, Marjorie Perloff distinguishes this mode from that of the symbolists who derive from Baudelaire. She places the Pound of the Cantos in the former tradition, and Eliot in the latter. Diana
That could be contrasted to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in
which my father, being Canadian, fought. Learning many lessons
from others earlier in the war, the Canadians were able to take the ridge
with only some 3500 dead, 7000 wounded to the Germans' 20000
casulaties. It was one of the defining moments in Canadian nationhood.
Still, an enormous amount of blood shed for the entire contingent
of the forces of a small country.
Date: April 12, 1917.
April is the cruelest month.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: Fearing death by water
> Over 8 million people died in WWI. In Britain and the empire it was
> 947,000. On July 1, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the
> British had 57,470 casualties, of whom 19,240 were dead--in one day.
> they just stood up and walked into machine gun fire in rows and rows.
> >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 08/05/07 5:37 PM >>>
> Diana Manister wrote:
> > Peter, yes, but just about everything occasions fear in the poem. Too
> > much water, too little water, dust, rock, fire, women, a one-eyed
> > merchant, the urban environment, London's air, and on and on. Few
> > things besides hyacinths, fishermen, and churches are not fearsome.
> > When symbolism overlaps to this extent, it becomes redundant and
> > turgid. Diana
> Well, the outside world in 1920 was a pretty scary place for many people
> (and a pretty grim place, also, for the friends & family of the [how
> many million?] dead in WW1. And it was also pretty a pretty scary world
> 'inside' [the Eliot household] for TSE. (I will show you fear in a
> handful of dust.) Just what do you expect to find in a waste(d) land?
> No virus found in this incoming message.
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