----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Tom ColketSent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 1:15 PMSubject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?
N> This is really great context--revealing and also personal.
N> . . .
N> It shows how essential it is to know both personal and
N> historical context in reading and especially knowing local meanings
N> of words. . . But assuming the meaning of "salvage"
N> as the common one is an example of the need to find sources.
Yes, I agree. I found it very interesting that Eliot, known for complex allusions and complicated word play, was upset that Hayward thought that "dry salvages" was _not_ the name of a place ("'The Dry Salvages' _is_ a place name. . . It doesn't matter that it should be obscure, but if it is going to lead people quite on the wrong track, then something must be done. I don't like the idea of a note of explanation. Please advise.").
I found that "wrong track" comment especially interesting ("if it is going to lead people quite on the wrong track, then something must be done"), expressing the view that a reader's interpretation of a poetic phrase _can_ be on the "wrong track" (i.e., not what the poet intended). Apparently this is what lead to the unusual note that Eliot reluctantly added to the poem explaining that it is a 'place name' (and even giving guidance as to pronunciation). This seems to be a far cry from some literary criticism views (such as "death of the author") that the poet is "just another reader" of a finished work, with no "special privileges".
-- Tom --
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 00:17:22 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?
To: [log in to unmask]
This is really great context--revealing and also personal. Living on the Maine Coast, I find the images familiar and specific. Even without the particular story of the ship wreck off Thacher's island, the N.E. Coast resonates with stories of such wrecks and dangers of the sea. I think Hayward's confusion about the name would not occur to anyone in the East of the U.S. It shows how essential it is to know both personal and historical context in reading and especially knowing local meanings of words. The OED also often does not have Scottish words that are common and never the huge vocabulary of Jamieson's. But assuming the meaning of "salvage" as the common one is an example of the need to find sources.And it is not only, of course, the coast but, as TSE says, the urban images that are part of New World culture.Cheers,Nancy
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