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You ask the key question, for of course the poem could only incompletely "be" the author's meaning, were there such a thing as an author's absolute meaning.  To say otherwise is to assume there is a way to state absolutely unambiguously a single absolutely unambiguous "meaning" in absolutely stable words that cannot be read in other than one way.  How Eliot seemed to long for and recognize the impossibility of that, though why it seems so attractive is another puzzle.
Nancy

>>> Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> 04/01/08 10:54 PM >>>
Were such a thing to exist, wouldn't the poem be the source?

Best,
Marcia

Diana Manister wrote:
> Dear CR: Presumably Eliot felt the author would be the source of that 
> "absolute meaning?" Diana