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George Carless wrote:
> Ken Armstrong ([log in to unmask]) wrote the following on Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 09:30:08AM -0500:
>   
>> 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
>>     
>
> Go on, then. Where *is* Gerontion, while being read to by a boy? What is being read? Where *does* one find "the Jew" 
> (and is it too much to hope that you can justify in some way, from the text, your implication that the 'the' in "the 
> Jew" makes it Christian rather than derogatory?   Justify, indeed, *any* of this from a reading of the text that 
> doesn't simply fall back to "why, it's so obvious!  how can you not see it?"
>   
    George,

  The questions sort of answered themselves, I thought. Once you see 
them, at least, you have to give up the superficial view that Gerontion 
is hate speech composed by an out of control poet. I mean, what foolishness.
> All of this talk of the "Eliot Distraction League" and its like becomes quickly tiresome. 
  Perhaps you should expend your limited energies elsewhere?
>  What of the Eliot 
> Sycophancy League?
>   
    If you were right, why bother with Eliot at all? The League of 
Distracted Eliot Scholars (just like that, an upgrade to 2.0) is in the 
oddest of positions: its members claim Eliot to be the crassest of 
individuals while at the same time being a poet who created......what? 
What's worth "recovering" of Eliot if you honestly think he is the 
small-minded, mean-spirited poet whose treatment of Jews and others is 
"sordid"? Sorry, but these critics are fashion mongers who add nothing 
to Eliot studies, except of course bean hill after bean hill of 
distraction. Based on the fanciful idea that if they just find ENOUGH 
ELIOT LIFE BEANS, the scale will be tipped in their favor. It will never 
happen, of course, but they do not realize it, nor wish to.

  Do you recollect what Eliot said would be the fate of his Poems 1920? 
Gerontion is waiting for rain, the spirit. Where do you think he is?

Ken