So who is complicatng them? They are already complicated.
Remember Eliot's Becket and his perception of patterns?
 
P.
 
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 8:09 AM
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?

All of these places had very personal meanings for Eliot.  He went to Burnt Norton with Emily Hale after decades and when he was seeing her again after not having ever acted on his very young experience of at least thinking himself in love with her.  East Coker is the origin of his family.  The Dry Salvages are rocks off the coast where he spent summers  and past which he sailed in New England.  Little Gidding is a place where Nicolas Ferrar had a kind of almost-monastic community and where Eliot also visited in his religious period.  I see no reason to complicate these names as puzzles because the world is full of odd names, and these are ones where he experienced intense emotions.  They are the ones that happen to be central to key times and experiences in his life.
Nancy

>>> Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>01/30/09 7:57 AM >>>
Peter wrote (1/18/09):
P>
Clarification of the meaning of the title does not

P>
answer the question as to WHY he used it,
P>
and WHY it was important enough to keep it in spite of the
P>
potential for confusion.
P>
Surely many other sea hazards were available to him.
P>
P>
It IS ironic is it not that a poem which focusses so
P>
eloquently, beautifully and subtly on water, has a title that
P>
begins with the word DRY.

And Peter wrote on 1/17/09:
P> Such title confusion does not arise with the other 3.


I've been away for a few weeks, so I hope it's not too late to answer this.

My main comment is that the all four of the quartets have odd titles if one chooses to look at it that way, not just "The Dry Salvages":

a) "Burnt Norton" - A poem about a beautiful garden starts with the word "burnt".

b) "East Coker" - The Modernists glorified the Western canon, and this poem begins with the word "East".

c) "The Dry Salvages" - As you say, "focuses
so eloquently, beautifully and subtly on water, has a title that begins with the word DRY".

d) "Little Gidding" - A poem that directs out attention to God and God's ultimate _big_ plans for the universe ("All shall be well . . .")
has a title that begins with the word "little".

Was Eliot doing some kind of deliberate word-play with the titles? Were the titles just names of significant places that happened to be two-word names in which the first word inverts the expected meaning of the following poem?

Maybe.

-- Tom --






Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 12:08:36 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?
To: [log in to unmask]


Clarification of the meaning of the title does not
answer the question as to WHY he used it,
and WHY it was important enough to keep it in spite of the potential for confusion.
Surely many other sea hazards were available to him.
 
It IS ironic is it not that a poem which focusses so eloquently,
beautifully and subtly on water, has a title that begins with the
word DRY.
 
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Tom Colket
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2009 7:27 AM
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?

Peter wrote:

P> Such title confusion does not arise with the other 3.

That's probably why there is no explanatory note from Eliot for the other three poems.

As is clear from the correspondence with Hayward, Eliot did not mind if he made a reference that was "obscure" (that is, it required the reader to do some homework, such as consulting the OED, to figure it out). However, he DID mind if the diligent reader would be lead on "the wrong track" because no reference material was readily available. So, after thinking about Hayward's confusion over the title and Hayward's suggestions for addressing the problem, TSE added the two notes that now follow the title of DS.

-- Tom --



Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 04:13:32 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?
To: [log in to unmask]

Such title confusion does not arise with the other 3.
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Tom Colket
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 1:15 PM
Subject: Re: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?

Nancy wrote:

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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