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Yes, I'm taking note of all this to the last detail -- an instance of
profound scholarship, Tom -- my best compliments.

--- On Mon, 12/15/08, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: A TSE reference to Inferno XV before 'Little Gidding'?
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, December 15, 2008, 7:19 AM

#yiv1881502285 .hmmessage P
#yiv1881502285 {


My last post mentioned that I thought there is a link between the Little Gidding section alluding to Inferno Canto XV and lines from Prufrock that also appear to allude to Canto XV. Looking again at LG, Eliot may have explicitly signaled that link. Notice the lines from LG that talk about "revisiting streets" and compare them to Prufrock:
And he: 'I am not eager to rehearse
     My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten.
     These things have served their purpose: let them be.
.. . . 
So I find words I never thought to speak
     In streets I never thought I should revisit
     When I left my body on a distant shore.
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
.. . .
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
As far as the reference to  "I left my body on a distant shore", consider TSE's friend Jean Verdenal, killed at Gallipoli. Rick Parker's web site has lots of good information about Verdenal:
-- Tom --

Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 19:47:13 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A TSE reference to Inferno XV before 'Little Gidding'?
To: [log in to unmask]

I can only say, Tom, there is strong point in your observations here, 
as elsewhere in your earlier posts on 'Dans', and on The Fire Sermon 
much earlier. Material enough up your sleeves, I guess, for a paper
if not a book.
IMHO, "homosexuality" must have formed part of Eliot's experience(?)/
perception of man's fallen state.

--- On Sat, 12/13/08, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: A TSE reference to Inferno XV before 'Little Gidding'?
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008, 10:20 PM

#yiv1881502285 .ExternalClass #EC_yiv1535043457 .EC_hmmessage P
#yiv1881502285 .ExternalClass #EC_yiv1535043457


A few weeks ago, the list was discussing an allusion in Little Gidding to Dante's Inferno Canto XV, where Dante meets Ser Brunetto Latini in the circle of the sodomites. In that Canto there is an image of smoke and dusk that is echoed in Little Gidding: 




Inferno XV, 16-19 (image of men looking at each other at dusk, with sexual implications) 

quando incontrammo d'anime una schiera 

   che vevian lungo l'argine, e ciascuna 

   ci riguardava come suol da sera 

guardare uno altro sotto nuova luna; 

[we met a troop of souls that were coming alongside the bank, and each looked at us as men look at one another under a new moon at dusk; (translation - Charles S. Singleton)] 


Inferno XV, 115-118 (image of rising smoke in the circle of Hell punishing the sodomites) 

Di più direi; ma 'l venire e 'l sermone 

  più lungo esser non può, però ch'i'veggio 

  là surger nuovo fummo del sabbione. 

Gente vien con la quale esser non deggio. 

[I see yonder a new smoke rising from the sand; people are coming with whom I must not be (translation - Charles S. Singleton)]. 


Little Gidding: 

Between three districts where the smoke arose . . . 

 . .  I fixed upon the down-turned face 

That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge 

The first-met stranger in the waning dusk. 




I had some off-list correspondence about this topic with Rick Parker, who generously supplied me with a web link to a Dante paper that discussed Brunetto (among other topics). I highly recommend the essay that Rick found. The link is: 


After I read that essay, I began to think more about Canto XV. The image of rising smoke and dusk from Little Giddling rattled around in my head and it occurred to me that Eliot had used those same images before. I don't have time to write out my reading of Prufrock (nor would anyone care to read it), but I believe that some of the same conflicts about homosexuality that I detect in "Dans le Restaurant" and "Little Giddling" are also in Prufrock. After reflecting on Eliot's use of  Canto XV, I have come to believe that Canto XV is the controlling image in this passage from Prufrock: 




Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes 

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . . 




Here the "lonely men in shirt-sleeves" are images of homosexuals that the narrator sees during his journey through "certain half-deserted streets". Because (according to certain religious beliefs) homosexuality is a sin, the "lonely men in shirt-sleeves" are condemned to Hell, whether they realize it or not. They are getting an early "Dantesque" warning: the smoke that rises from their pipes echoes the smoke that rises from the circle of Hell in which the sodomites will spend eternity. The narrator contemplates a trip at dusk to echo both the specific language of Canto XV as well as to echo the dusk-like, smoky image in this canto, in which Dante encounters Brunetto, the sodomite. 


As always, comments, criticisms, and corrections are welcome. 


-- Tom -- 


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