Are you forgetting the countless one-liners you post dismissing serious thoughtful comments of others about Eliot and his work?
That's not even subtle incivility.
What privileges you to be the bearer of the civility standard for this list?

Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 22:08:48 -0600
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: civility
To: [log in to unmask]

No I didn't suggest your disagreement was uncivil per se.

It was the dismissive way of suggesting there was newer stuff, but not
saying what it was, that was unfair. Why didn't you mention this material
at the time. Since some of it hasn't even come out, how could Rickard
even know about it?

Rickard deserves more respect. Incivility can be very subtle, almost
masquerade as civility... a man  may smile and smile and be a villain.
Such incivility if intended and not just happening from lack of thought
is much worse than blatant rudeness.


Aug 27, 2009 12:11:10 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
Factual statements about information are not uncivil.  Personal remarks are uncivil.  Rickard is always civil, and my reply was a civil disagreement based on what defines any serious discussion--sources, evidence, and reason.  To cite Kirk at this point is to treat Eliot's friend, who could not have known what is known now is not, as it happens, to deal with a debate occurring now that uses material Kirk did not have.  That disagreement has nothing to do with civility. 
The new material is almost all Eliot scholarship since the 1990's.  For a review of research, I suggest you read Cassandra Laity's introduction to T. S. Eliot and Desire, Gender, and Sexuality.  It is almost a total resource for recent and current Eliot scholarship, brilliantly defined.  If you want to know arguments before that, read my chapter in David Chinitz, ed., Blackwell's Companion to T. S. Eliot, just out this month.  There has never been one Eliot or one opinion or one way to read his work.  And the debates go back to his first publications in 1915.  I reviewed the reception up to 1965.

>>> Peter Montgomery 08/27/09 2:42 PM >>>
Well I wasn't going to say anything, but since the topic has come up,
and since my concern is, I think important, I must confess, Nancy, to
a great degree of disappointment at a response you gave to Rickard.
If anyone on this list is civil, it is Rickard. Also he has my vote for the
most generous person on this list for finding and providing information.
So when he took the risk of stating his contrarian view on Eliot's anti-semitism
and provided serious references to the matter, I was saddened by your lack of civility
in telling him that his source material was out of date and that new material
was available, without saying at least what the material was, let alone providing some of it.
That was a closing off, not a debate, as far as I'm concerned.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:58 AM
Subject: civility

Dear Tom,
I very much appreciate your kindness and civility.  Thank you.  Nancy

>>> Tom Colket 08/27/09 11:52 AM >>>

CR> As for Nancy's observation, it shows a dismal ignorance

CR> of what poetry, or any creative writing, is all about,

CR> in the main if not wholly


Even when we strongly disagree with the content of a post, I think it is essential to show respect for the poster and appreciation for the time they took to contribute (for free) to this poetry discussion list. Using aggressive phrases such as "it shows a dismal ignorance" embarrasses the poster (and embarrasses me). This type of remark shuts down discussion, when the purpose of the List is to promote it.

Let's discuss, let's disagree, but always respectfully. Thanks for listening. I'm off my soapbox now.

-- Tom --

Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 06:36:15 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Waste Land Sex
To: [log in to unmask]

Amen!  I'd love to second that.
As for Nancy's observation, it shows a dismal ignorance of what poetry, or any creative writing, is all about, in the main if not wholly:
. . . the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
No dying cadence nor long sigh can sound . . .

--- On Thu, 8/27/09, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

N> There is really no sex that is not sordid or crude or violent
N> (think of the many rapes in TWL) in Eliot's poetry. 
N> There are moments of sensual longing (like the brown hair
N> in both "Prufrock" and "Ash-Wednesday"

N> or the moment in the rose garden),
N> but there is no sex act that is presented as beautiful or loving.

I would nominate these lines from Prufrock and TWL (which I suspect refer to the same relationship, the Prufrock lines being 'before' and the TWL lines being 'after' the relationship became intimate).

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep � tired � or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

              what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed

-- Tom --

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 17:43:09 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Waste Land Sex
To: [log in to unmask]

The business between Viv and Bertie was well after the Harvard class that evoked "Mr. Appollinax," and Russell was a good friend to Eliot for quite a long time after Eliot married:  he lent Tom and Viv his flat and helped them in many ways before the affair caused a break.  It is not at all clear that the affair was mainly due to Russell either, despite the fact that he seems to have had more affairs than one can count anyway.
I think there is some truth to both points that keep being made here, and they are not mutually exclusive.  There is really no sex that is not sordid or crude or violent (think of the many rapes in TWL) in Eliot's poetry.  There are moments of sensual longing (like the brown hair in both "Prufrock" and "Ash-Wednesday" or the moment in the rose garden), but there is no sex act that is presented as beautiful or loving.  At least I cannot think of one.  Sweeney's are coldly vicious, as in "Sweeney Erect," or menacing, as in "Sweeney Agonistes."   
On the other hand, Diana is quite accurate about the language used for lower classes.  It is true that the narrator of "Dans le Restaurant" is revolted that the old waiter had desires like his own.  But it ends in the scene of death by water, a kind of purification.  And it is also the case that the waiter is recalling a time when he was seven years old..  The narrator is presumably an adult.  So his horror is a bit odd, to say the least.  Also, the sailors seem an exception, as I noted..  There are many presumably wealthy or cosmopolitan figures who are represented in very negative language, but it is not the language Diana notes.

>>> Diana Manister 08/26/09 2:10 PM >>>
Dear CR:
First of all, I'd like to know how any foetus could be responsible.
Secondly, TSE would not compare a ditch-digger to Priapus. Yes, I get the jibe. But Russell is not summarily dismissed; he is in fact treated quite well considering that he went off for a bit with Eliot's wife. A high-class lecher.
Think of the sordid atmosphere of Lil's section in TWL; a woman with missing teeth and too many children who aborted herself with something from the pharmacy, not even a doctor. The typist's squalid amours with her pimply indifferent lover. These are described as lower forms of life.
These characters are written in a different key from Priapus in the garden. It's a matter of the language used and the imagery.

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 08:51:48 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Waste Land Sex
To: [log in to unmask]

Photo of Bertrand Russell
Photo by Larry Burrows
Bertrand Russell
"He laughed like an irresponsible foetus."
"What paradoxes! Man is a cunning creature of many devices." 
In "Mr. Apollinax", Eliot does not fail to take a jibe at the high-class Bertrand Russell's irresponsible sensuality. The poet is reminded of "Priapus in the shrubbery / Gaping at the lady in the swing."
Some ennobling light, that :)

--- On Tue, 8/25/09, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
There is nothing ennobling about the sexual misadventures of the high class "heirs of City Directors" -- their sexual exploitation of the Thames daughters is shown in a poor light.
In 'Dans le Restaurant", there is an admission by the high class narrator that his own (sexual) "experiences" are as reprehensible as the waiter's -- how shall the waiter pay back for experiences quite like his own, he asks.
And in 'Burbank', the 'gondola' fragment of the epigraph takes its full meaning in relation to Princess Volupine's pleasure boat landing beside the old palace where the foxy voluptuary entertains Sir Ferdinand Klein. The boatman smiles as one who shares in their secret. In the epigraph, the old dilapidated palace, emblematic of degenerate aristocracy, gets associated in the poet's mind with unabashed lust.
Diana Manister 08/23/09 9:50 AM >>>

My point is that he portrayed the upper class in an ennobling light, as if social status precluded casual sex or unattractiveness. 

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