objective correlative
"But it is easy to see why this particular coinage is successful.
Its scientism -- with its misleading scientific connotation of
"formula" -- is a rebuke to belle lettrism. Yet, the idea is obvious."
"The objective correlative...is an account of the artist straining
to objectify and embody his subjective inner murk -- his buried life."
It's worthwhile perusing pp.133-136 of T.S. ELIOT by Craig Raine
(p.133 para beginning "As for repetition...") online at

--- On Sun, 12/28/08, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The patterns in TSE's carpet
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Sunday, December 28, 2008, 9:08 PM

Tom Colket quotes: "...apart from a few notorious phrases which have had
a truly embarrassing success in the world"

Indeed Eliot had every reason to be embarassed about almost all of those
phrses. I imagine the damage they did is slowly dying out (having for
the most part been confined to my 'generation" and the preceding ones,
with only a scattering of younger critics poisoned. Probably the worst
(and perhaps most notorious) was the objective correlative, the bizarre
idea that any delection of objects or events could mechanically evoke a
specific emotion. At some point in his early life Eliot must have been
tainted without being quite conscious of the fact with the vulgarities
of late 19th-century positivism! Just the facts, Maam! Just the formula
for the emotion.