I'm not sure where you found this spelling, but somewhere Eliot (I think) or someone who wrote about them gave the pronunciation to rhyme with "assuages." But according to Gordon, the name was said to derive from the fact that they reminded the settlers of "the red men, the 'savages.'"
I am not sure it is all that symbolic in some specific, particular way: Eliot used to sail up to Maine and he would pass them. They are a local site that would evoke danger on the sea. Eliot may have found all this a vivid image, but the name and history were already there to use.
Nancy>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>01/08/09 9:45 AM >>>
The name is not pronounced "salvages" as the noun "salvage" is pronounced. In Massachusetts the name is pronounced like the French "sauvage" by those who sail around them, and means roughly "savage" not something salvaging or salvaged.
I can't help you with "dry."
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 02:27:03 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The Dry Salvages - what's in a name?
To: [log in to unmask]
I have been searching for a discussion of the name of the poem,
Dry Salvages. All anybody ever does is identify the object to which the name refers,
and perhaps gives a little history of it as a deadly place. Supposedly
the name comes from the French, trois sauvages or three savages,
three deadly rocks. But how and why does one get from trois sauvages to
Dry Salvages? Does German come in there somewhere? Drei in German means three.
There is too much punning in the name to just pass it by as a place name.
Eliot is too much a lover of word play ever to pass up such an obvious marker.
The rocks are wet especially in their savage condition but they are called Dry.
They are destructive in the extreme, yet they are called Salvages -- things that have
been salvaged or saved. So it can be seen as an oxymoron,
an opposite of that which it describes. Perhaps even it is a contranym,
a phrase that means its own opposite, as with mandate, or cleave, or sanction.
Common folks, we can't pass this one by!!!?
Has it been dealt with and I just have not found it?
Has Eliot pulled a sneaky one that has really worked
by remaining undealt with, even though it is so obvious.
Perhaps it has just been considered too obvious to be worth dealing with,
and I am the sucker who has fallen for it -- crashed out on the rocks.
The problem is, every time I admit my ignorance on this list, it backfires.
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