Well, on WWI, see also Paul Fussell and Jewel Brooker and many others.  This is, I'm sorry to say, not just my own idea (I wish I had seen it first, but of course Fussell was way ahead of everyone).  Also read Eliot's letters.
You're right, if I could not bring external evidence as from the original manuscript or Eliot's comments outside the poem, my statement about its being a personal statement wouldn't hold up.  But then, of course, I can.  Eliot made all those comments quite publicly; I did not put them in his mouth.  And TWL was described as such when first heard by Mary Hutchinson, a close friend of TSE.
Constantly making New Critical generalizations as counter-arguments does not counter any point I make.  And New Criticism was and is a theory, not a given or a truth.  It is one way among many that critics have read poetry.  It's useful and it's limited.

>>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 07/12/09 11:16 PM >>>
From: Nancy Gish

I have no idea what this is supposed to demonstrate since Eliot has no
consistent point of view on the use of personal experience. But that he
repeatedly asserted the personal origins of TWL is not simply a description
of "embryology" when events in his life and feelings he had and experiences
he acknowledges are consistently present in the poems.
From Peter Montgomery,

Of course Eliot's personal experience is in the poem, but it is transmuted
into the poetic needs of the poem, and is very hard to identify as his
personal experience. If you could not bring external evidence as from the
original manuscript or comments made by Eliot outside the poem,
your point about its being a personal staement just wouldn't hold up.

What matters is what is in the poem itself. The rest is just interesting
I find very little evidence specifically about WWI itself in the poem. In
I can find more evidence about 9/11 than WWI.