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An artist in any field may have certain aesthetic or technical tasks that he
wants to accomplish,
and may well accomplish them, all very deliberately, but there is nothing to
say that the deliberate
achievements are themselves the absolute meaning. Shame on Eliot for even
saying absolute meaning.
Very sophomoric. A Babbit influence? A joke? The very concept of absolute
meaning evokes so
much metaphysical and theological dark matter.

P.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 7:10 AM
Subject: Re: THE LINE ABOUT THE BURGLAR AND THROWING MEAT TO THE DOG


> Eliot said many things, very often contradictory; any one statement is not
an absolute Eliot even.
>
> If there were such a thing as absolute meaning in words, there would be no
need for a Supreme Court or for any kind of religious figure because the
text would be sufficient.  An author may have an intention--though as Eliot
notes in many cases, even they may not be conscious of it--but it can only
be put down in words that "slip, slide, will not stay still."
>
> It is not only theorists of most of the 20th and 21st century who
recognize the slippage of language: it is Eliot over and over.  Diana, since
you read this material, I assume you question the notion that any absolute
meaning can be simply inscribed by an author who consciously knows exactly
what it is and makes it total and absolute--contra 4Q and all Eliot's
comments on the subconscious and/or disease pushing into language.
> Cheers,
> Nancy
>
> >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 04/01/08 10:22 AM >>>
>
>
>
> Dear CR: Presumably Eliot felt the author would be the source of that
"absolute meaning?" Diana
>
> Incidentally, Eliot once explained (to Philip Mairet, 31 October, 1956;
the collection of Violet Welton) that, even if a poem meant different things
to different readers, it was still necessary to assert its 'absolute'
meaning. [Peter Ackroyd, T.S. Eliot: A Life, p.80]
>
> CR
>                                       Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
>
> Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> While trying to find the line about the rhythmical grumbling, I chanced on
another instead--the line about distracting the reader that was queried
earlier:"The chief use of //the 'meaning' of a poem, in the ordinary
sense//, may be (for here again I am speaking of some kinds of poetry and
not all) to satisfy one habit of the reader, to keep his mind diverted and
quiet, while the poem does its work upon him: much as the imaginary burglar
is always provided with a bit of nice meat for the house-dog."It is in the
conclusion to THE USE OF POETRY AND THE USE OF CRITICISM (1933;London: Faber
and Faber, 1964), 151.//I hope whoever was looking for it gets this.//
> Nancy
>
> Of course, those who look for it "in the ordinary sense" get this, and
this only.
>
> CR
>
>
>
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