My original remark, by which I continue to stand was: "If you're an Eliot scholar who is sensitive to the Dante influence, and it was BIG in Eliot even though it gets mentioned precious little on this list," I see nothing in it that is personally provocative, or critical of any specific person. It is a statement of fact, and, given the importance of Dante in Eliot's work, a legitimate target of criticism. I am not saying anyone is preventing it. I'm just saying no one is doing it, which includes me. I see it as a flaw, or anomally. You may disagree with that, Fine. Your response however, has no mention of the issue: frequency of Dante references on the list. The tone of your language seems to suggest that you took the remark personally. I found that provocative and allowed my self to be provoked. If you had dealt with the issue, my response would have been entirely different. If you would like to get down to cases, fine. There has been a lot of discussion of TWL lately. In particular the nature of the personages presented. A relevant observation, connected with Dante, would quite possibly have involved the line: "so many. I had not thought death had undone so many." P. ----- Original Message ----- From: Nancy Gish To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:33 AM Subject: Re: Interview with Robert Harrison: or, what more could one want than a weekly literary talk show with an expert as host? As you know, my "fuss" was in response to the silly and offensive remark about envy, not at all about Eliot and Dante. As no one ever was prevented from discussing Dante, what is that fuss? For those interested, there was a wonderful conference in Florence last year on Eliot and Dante (which I, despite being a scholar and so suspect, attended along with other scholars like Jewel Brooker, Stefano Casella, and Dante scholars from many countries), and the proceedings may be published at some time. I don't know if or when. It is offensive for anyone on this list to deride scholarship, which has made possible even the reading of Eliot, through editing, and the ideas most here tend to reiterate. Without scholarship, there would be no basis for any of this--how else does anyone know about his sources or date of conversion or writings on Dante? Eliot, as it happens, was himself a scholar--having done a Ph.D. that was accepted and having studied massively in European literature and Eastern religion and practically everything else. He never pretended one should simply open one's heart and read. I do not understand the reason, but it is tiresome, counterproductive, and especially silly when it creates mutual patting for others' mean remarks. No one is, to my knowledge, ever mocking interested reading by anyone. Nancy >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 4/15/2009 12:13 PM >>> The thing is that Danté's influence on Eliot's verse is BIG in Eliot's early poetry yet it seldom gets mentioned or considered on this list. It would be disingenuous to leave people with the impression that Danté did not matter to Eliot until he decided to become a Christian. I can assert my point in no uncertain terms. On July 4, 1950 Eliot gave a talk to The Italian Institute in London, in which the following passage ocurrs early on: "I do not feel that I have anything more to contribute, on the subject of Danté's poetry, than I put, years ago, into a brief essay. As I explained in the original preface to that essay, I read Dante only with a prose translation beside the text. Forty years ago I began to puzzle out the Divine Comedy in this way; and when I thought I had grasped the meaning of a passage which especially delighted me, I committed it to memory; so that, for some years, I was able to recite a large part of one canto or another to myself, lying in bed or on a railway journey. Heaven knows what it would have sounded like, had I recited it aloud; but it was by this means that I steeped myself in Danté's poetry. And now it is twenty years since I set down all that my meagre attainments qualified me to say about Danté. But I thought it not uninteresting to myself, and possibly to others, to try to record in what my own debt to Danté consists. I do not think I can explain everything, even to myself; but as I still, after forty years, regard his poetry as the most persistent and deepest influence upon my own verse, I should like to establish at least some of the reasons for it." (republished in "What Danté Means to ME" on p. 125 of TO CRITICIZE THE CRITIC). So, 1950 - 40 = 1910. Early Eliot poetry time!!! Consider the epigraph of Prufrock. Consider the multifoliate rose of "The Hollow Men" &c. &c. &c. So I think the place of Danté in Eliot's early poetry is not just a matter for scholars. It is a matter for any student of Eliot's early poetry to consider. That Danté may have played a role in Eliot's conversion is not hard to believe, although I don't happen to know how one could verify the matter. So, if anyone's interest is peaked, he or she might well want to listen to what Robert Harrison has to say about Danté in the podcast which I cited: http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ideas_20090406_13924.mp3 Harrison provides a kind of mini intro to The Inferno, and to some extent the Purgatorio. I could even believe it might help the odd teacher with Prufrock. So as far as I am concerned, in my original post on this thread, I provided an important reference, and a valid critical opinion of one point about this list. So what is all the fuss about? P. ----- Original Message ----- From: Chokh Raj To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 5:47 AM Subject: Re: Interview with Robert Harrison: or, what more could one want than a weekly literary talk show with an expert as host? Thanks, Peter, for making a crucial statement: "Being extremely aware, and being sensitive, are not the same thing." An express lesson for the critics to learn. And herein lies the rub !!! CR --- On Wed, 4/15/09, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote: From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: Interview with Robert Harrison: or, what more could one want than a weekly literary talk show with an expert as host? To: [log in to unmask] Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 6:43 AM I think both of your messages speak for themselves. I am not the one who always turns every message into a personal jibe. I've no interest in that anyway and do not intend to continue this nonsense. >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 4/15/2009 6:36 AM >>> I did, and look at the response it evoked. I responded in kind. You might find it useful to try not being patronising. P. ----- Original Message ----- From: Nancy Gish To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 12:05 AM Subject: Re: Interview with Robert Harrison: or, what more could one want than a weekly literary talk show with an expert as host? Try not to be ridiculous. Surely you must have something to say that is not just silly. Nancy >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 4/15/2009 3:45 AM >>> Being extremely aware, and being sensitive, are not the same thing. Do I detect some professional envy? P. -----Original Message----- From: T. S.. Eliot Discussion forum. on behalf of Nancy Gish Sent: Tue 4/14/2009 1:52 AM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: Interview with Robert Harrison: or, what more could one want than a weekly literary talk show with an expert as host? ** High Priority ** It would not be possible to be an Eliot scholar and not be extremely aware of the Dante influence--or, of course, that he was culturally Christian growing up. These facts are unavoidable and no one questions their significance. It has nothing to do with whether one prefers early or late poetry and it is not a matter of skewing one's readings to pretend he wasn't. But as an undergraduate he did consider becoming a Buddhist, and he was not actively engaged in being Christian in the later sense. On the first, in the new book on The International Reception of T. S. Eliot there is a very fascinating article by Stefan Maria Casella on Eliot in Italy for those who are interested in this issue. On the second, it is impossible to read Eliot at all without seeing how the poetry changed after the conversion. Nancy >>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 4/14/2009 12:26 AM >>> If you're an Eliot scholar who is sensitive to the Dante influebce, and it was BIG in Eliot even though it gets mentioned precious little on this list, you may be interested in the preeminent US scholar, Robert Harrison, and what he has to say in this podcast. http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ideas_20090406_13924.mp3 If you want to hear more of Robert Harrison, you can go to his podcast site: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/fren-ital/opinions/ It's blurb is as follows: "Entitled Opinions (about Life and Literature)" - hosted by Professor Robert Harrison - is a weekly literary talk show that ranges broadly on issues related to literature, ideas, and lived experience. The show is typically a one-on-one conversation with a special guest about select topics or authors about which he or she is especially entitled to an opinion. Past guests have included Orhan Pamuk, Paul Ehrlich, Richard Rorty, Shirley Hazzard, Andrei Linde, Rene Girard, Michel Serres, and many others. Robert Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature at Stanford University and is Chair of the Department of French and Italian, where he has been since 1985. He was trained as a Dantista at Cornell University where he received his Ph.D. in Romance Studies in 1984. His latest book is Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, and his other publications include The Body of Beatrice, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, and The Dominion of the Dead....."