Print

Print


Well, how interesting:  we agree.  Liking or disliking anything about Eliot has nothing to do with it.  That has been my point always.  One need not like or dislike to analyse.
 
So he was possibly cynical--I couldn't care less in relation to his poetry.  It is the constant idealizing of him as a person that I have objected to.  And that has not at all ever been what I initiate or care about.
Nancy

>>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>06/21/09 3:15 AM >>>
Aquinas distinguished between speculative wisdom and practical wisdom.

Seems to me this is an extraordinary piece of practical wisdom.
The immediacy of the response may well elicit a sense of compliment
on the part of the receiver (gift giver). One can always provide an
opinion later if one wants. I could believe he had a strain of cynicism
in him, that led him to behave thus, So what? I could also believe he
was inundated with books and just plain could not handle it.
I don't see what liking or disliking anything about Eliot has to do with it.
What a strange comment to make. Do you find that it take much extra
energy to selectively like and dislike things about a dead writer?

P.


Jun 20, 2009 06:35:01 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
My point is not that there is always a requirement to give an opinion.  It is, rather, the attitude expressed by a policy (not particular situation or book) of always displacing a more gracious connection.  There is a big difference between getting unsolicited books for an opinion or acquaintances who send what they think you should look at and the affectionate gift of a caring and close friend who hopes to give what will be valuable.  So I do not see wisdom in lumping all together into a policy of evasion, nor do I see that it means everyone expects a developed opinion.  If a student gives me a book they've read and wants me to know about it, I would probably do the same.  If a dear friend sends one and hopes it gives me pleasure and affection, I would want to write about it to them, whether or not I shared the reaction: it could be a way to engage in conversation and a returned affection.
 
And we are all busy.  And Eliot's letters varied a great deal depending on whom he wrote to, and in fact he did make distinctions.
 
I know this will now elicit everything from sniping to astonishment at my continuing failure to admire everything in Eliot (I do not mean by you, Rickard).
Cheers,
Nancy

> But do you really consider it wisdom?

Yes. I would call it wisdom. A way to make life go better.

> It seems to me a way to be covertly unkind to those who sent a gift.

Eliot was given a gift and thanked the giver. If it was unkind of him
to not mention his opinion of it then it must have been more unkind of
an opinion to be expected. After all, Eliot would have had to read the
book to do it justice and he was busy enough as it was. Besides, if he
wanted to, he could always send his opinion later.

Regards,
Rick Parker



> Dear Rickard,
>
> I've read it too and also don't remember where. But do you really
> consider it wisdom? It seems to me a way to be covertly unkind to those
> who sent a gift.
> Nancy
>
>>>> Rickard Parker <[log in to unmask]> 06/16/09 5:18 PM >>>
>> The OT thread on the phrase and concept "free gift" made me want to look
>> at how Eliot deals with "gifts" and "giving" in his poetry.
>
> On the subject of gifts here is something that I first send after
> Christmas 2007:
>
> Now seems a good time to pass along a little bit of Eliot wisdom.
>
> Eliot said to write a thank you note immediately for every book gotten
> as a gift. That way one avoided having to comment upon its content.
>
> I wish I remembered where I read this.
>
> Regards,
> Rick Parker
>
>