N> It would be hard to imagine a more unjust world than
N> the one Eliot idealizes in After Strange Gods,
N> in the name of tradition.
The List had a long discussion in 2009 on ASG, particularly on this passage:
"You are hardly likely to develop tradition except where the bulk of the population is relatively so well off where it is that it has no incentive or pressure to move about. The population should be homogeneous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is still more important is unity of religious background; and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable." (1934)
I was recently reading Eliot's "Notes on the Definition of Culture" (1948). In the Preface to the paperback edition in 1962, he wrote:
"These 'Notes' began to take shape towards the end of the Second World War. When it was suggested that they should be reprinted in 'paperback' form, I re-read them for the first time for some years, expecting that I should have to qualify some of the opinions expressed herein. I found to my surprise that I had nothing to retract, and nothing upon which I was disposed to enlarge. One footnote, on p. 70, I have re-written: it may still be that I have tried to say too much too briefly, and that the notion needs further elaboration."
And what is that footnote on page 70, the one thing TSE decided needed further re-writing/clarification for the 1962 edition? It is this:
Footnote on page 70:
"It seems to me highly desirable that there should be close culture-contact between devout and practising Christians and devout and practising Jews. Much culture-contact in the past has been within those neutral zones of culture in which religion can he ignored, and between Jews and Gentiles both more or less emancipated from their religious traditions. The effect may have been to strengthen the illusion that there can be culture without religion. In this context I recommend to my readers two books by Professor Will Herberg published in New York: 'Judaism and Modern Man' (Farrar, Straus and Cudahy) and 'Protestant-Catholic-Jew' (Doubleday). "
-- Tom --