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> Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 16:48:32 -0600
> From: [log in to unmask]" target=_blank rel=nofollow ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
> Subject: Auden on Eliot & Religion
> To: [log in to unmask]" target=_blank rel=nofollow ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
>
> From the current NYRB (Dec 6) p.34
>
> Although Auden told Eliot in 1940 that he had come to something close to
> Eliot's religious position, he soon realized that this was true only in
> the sense that they both attended Christian churches and practiced
> Anglican rituals. With the greatest possible courtesy, he went out of
> his way to point out "a discordant snobbish note" in Eliot's writings on
> religion. Eliot was mistaken, Auden also wrote, to suggest that culture
> was transmitted by the higher social classes
, when in fact it had been
> transmitted by the Church for most of the past two thousand years.
 
Remarkably, in his broadcast talk in 1941, 'Towards a Christian Britain',
Eliot had stressed the need for Christian prophets who would alter
the social consciousness of the people.
 
Incidentall, Eliot's poetry hardly shows "the higher social classes"
in a flattering light. There is Princess Volupine in "Burbank", an instance
of profligate aristocracy.
 
Then there's Eliot's TWL note on "Elizabeth and Leicester".
 
The mythical Fisher King too seeks redemption from his state of
sinfulness.
 
And in  his play, 'Murder in the Cathedral', the blood of Christ and of the
martyrs is invoked "like some shower bath for the spirit".
 
Regards,
 
CR
 


Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
On the other hand, seen together they give us the dynamic for the whole bird.
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana Manister
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 6:20 AM
Subject: Re: Auden on Eliot & Religion

Auden was left-wing politically and Eliot right-wing, and surely that difference cannot be isolated from their religious beliefs or praxes. Diana

> Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 16:48:32 -0600
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Auden on Eliot & Religion
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> From the current NYRB (Dec 6) p.34
>
> Although Auden told Eliot in 1940 that he had come to something close to
> Eliot's religious position, he soon realized that this was true only in
> the sense that they both attended Christian churches and practiced
> Anglican rituals. With the greatest possible courtesy, he went out of
> his way to point out "a discordant snobbish note" in Eliot's writings on
> religion. Eliot was mistaken, Auden also wrote, to suggest that culture
> was transmitted by the higher social classes, when in fact it had been
> transmitted by the Church for most of the past two thousand years.
>
> As for the religious allegory in Eliot's late plays, Auden politely
> insisted he was "absolutely certain" Eliot never meant to suggest that
> the characters who were called to a religious vocation had been called
> because they were more intelligent and from a higher social class than
> those who were not called, "but that is exactly what the comedy
> convention he is using is bound to suggest."[11]
>
> "Nothing can be essentially serious for man," Auden wrote, "except that
> which is given to all men alike, and that which is commanded to all men
> alike." (He elsewhere wrote: "One thing, and one thing only, is serious:
> loving one's neighbor as one's self."[12] ) What he did not quite say
> publicly about Eliot's religion was that he regarded it as frivolous,
> not serious, because it was given and commanded to some people and not
> others.[13]
>
> Auden saw in Eliot a tendency he was sharply conscious of in himself:
> the wish to believe in a god who was "an image of his image of himself"
> (the phrase is from his poem "Terce"). Auden's favorite illustration of
> this flattering fantasy was the female impersonator Bert Savoy, who was
> projecting his own image when he remarked during a thunderstorm,
> "There's Miss God at it again." (The remark became famous because Savoy
> was struck dead by lightning a few moments later.) Among friends, Auden
> used "Miss God" to refer to his own fantasy of a deity with providential
> intentions for himself, as in: "Miss God has decided to keep me celibate
> this summer." The joke made a serious point about everyone's wish for a
> universe whose purposes were adjusted to their own.


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