If you read the landscape poems, of which this is one, you find images and phrases that later appear, a bit altered, in 4Q. They seem to be ways of working out poems of landscape that he later developed. I think "Rannoch" is different, but the return to ancient history and the Stuart king in Little Gidding and other images are all part of a developing focus in Eliot on the individual's place in a larger history. So in this case, I do not intend a "monomeaning" at all, only an emphasis on the tendency of his poetry in this period to be addressing that wider interest. Obviously, how that works is very open. But if one knows what Glencoe means in Scotland, it is impossible to think he could not have encountered the attitudes it evokes, even now, when he was here. (As I am at the moment.)
It is the case that some places and events take on a permanent connection like, say, the Somme or Flanders Fields. Seeing those words, one does not think about WWII or Iraq except in some very distant sense of war in general, but their power is in the specific event. Rannoch uses the place to evoke something much larger about the Scottish/English connection.
I don't see any suggestion that it is associated with WWI in any particular way because Glencoe is not really recalled because of war but because of betrayal. It is the 9th circle, not just wrath.
It is uncharacteristic of you to ascribe a monomeaning to a poem. Surely Eliot's remarks about the Scottish massacre, which he did not experience, would naturally be associated by him with a war he did experience, albeit not on the battlefield.
These are interesting but late poems about WWII, and they are not really very good. "Rannoch" is early and brilliant, I think. But it's about the English/Scottish wars and specifically about the massacre at Glencoe.
>>> Rickard Parker <[log in to unmask]> 4/18/2009 5:21 PM >>> Diana Manister wrote: > > Returning to the theme of war in TWL, has anyone mentioned Pound's > expressions of disgust about WWI in his 1920 poem "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly?"
Not totally on topic but since you also mentioned "Rannoch, by Glencoe" perhaps you should look at Eliot's poems that are undeniably war poems: "Defense of the Islands," "A note on War Poetry" and "To the Indians Who Died in Africa."
Regards, Rick Parker
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