Dear Ken,

Multiform ambiguity occurs as the writer's unintended meanings distort  
his ostensible intent.

The narrator of Gerontion is unreliable in a conventional way, in that  
his self-characterizations are undermined by implications of which the  
author is unaware. N's distaste for others is presented as ostensible  
evidence of his superiority, but it betrays intolerance and grandiosity.

Eliot allows his personal animus to cloud his characterization of  
Gerontion's narrator, which he no doubt intended to be a pious seeker  
of faith but who is easily deconstructed as a snobbish misogynistic  

Gerontion's author's intention is contradicted by unintended signifieds.

Postmodern authors allow for multiple intentionalities in their texts,  
and their texts can often withstand deconstruction as Gerontion cannot.


Sent from my iPod

On Feb 27, 2010, at 9:30 AM, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>  

> DIana Manister wrote:
>> Who says the Jew is Jesus? He's depicted as negatively as Fresca  
>> and von Kulp. Who are they? Mary Magdelene and The Blessed Mother?
> You have to place yourself in the poem. Where is Gerontion while  
> being read to by a boy? What is being read? Where does one find "the  
> jew" (not "a jew") squatting on a window sill? One who owns "the  
> house"? One who has been spawned, blistered, patched and peeled,  
> i.e. the "fish" in stained glass in just those city-centers of  
> Europe? What is the significance of the poem's locale to "the field  
> overhead"? You'd have to give up your fantasy Eliot, the negative  
> one for whom all things created in his poetry somehow equate to  
> psychological fissures and fractures, to dig to the real one whom  
> the critics you quote do not touch. The odd thing to me is how  
> obvious it is that he hasn't been touched, that such an easy  
> identification of "the jew" is so difficult for the Eliot  
> Distraction League to simply see, not to say they couldn't sober up,  
> gather themselves, and push on from that obvious beginning
> What happened to your championing of multiform ambiguity? What are  
> the windy spaces and who supplies the wind?
> Ken