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On the other hand, why Eliot used the Elizabethan
acccusative first in the phrase, is an interesting question.
It certainly puts a lot of emphasis on the object.

P.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 7:57 AM
Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical Accuracy


> Apparently Diana is s till having considerable difficulty in
> distinguishng factual from interpretive questions. That "devours" is
> simple present is a factual question; it merely asserts that "eats" and
> "is eating' are not identical. One word is not identical with two
> words.  The phrse does raise interpretive puzzles, puzzles which Diane
> seems to want to transform into the nonsense of arguing about tense.
> "Devours" does, to some extent, FEEL LIKE an ongoing action. But that
> feeling cannot be explained by idiotic arguments that the present tense
> is not the present tense.
> 
> Carrol
> 
> Jerome Walsh wrote:
> > 
> > Sorry, Diana.  That's what "parse" and "tense" meant when I went to
> > school.  Maybe those terms have changed since.
> > 
> > Jerry
> > 
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Sent: Wed, March 10, 2010 9:04:11 AM
> > Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical Accuracy
> > 
> > Dear Jerome,
> > 
> > This is middle-school sentence diagramming, not a complete
> > consideration of all the syntactical nuances the statement implies.
> > 
> > I would like you to explain why you think "devours" is in the simple
> > present tense. You are saying that the tiger is devouring the narrator
> > in the poem, and the action is completed in the present. That's
> > ridiculous.
> > 
> > The tiger "always" devours us, if and when he (or she!) is
> > encountered. That's not simple present tense.
> > 
> > Diana
> > 
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2010 06:51:25 -0800
> > From: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical Accuracy
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > 
> > Diana,
> > 
> > "Us" is the objective case of the first person plural personal
> > pronoun.  It is used as the direct object of the sentence here.
> > "He" is the nominative case of the third person singular personal
> > pronoun.  It is used as the subject of the verb.
> > "Devours" is the third person singular (simple, ordinary) present (not
> > "progressive present") tense of the verb "to devour."
> > 
> > Jerry Walsh
> > 
> > (My knowledge of the complexities of [English] grammar, however, is
> > limited; so I would gladly defer to those who can unravel these
> > complexities more accurately than I.)
> > 
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Sent: Wed, March 10, 2010 8:21:26 AM
> > Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical Accuracy
> > 
> > Dear Terry,
> > 
> > You are noticeably silent in response to my request that you provide
> > the "accuracy in grammatical identifications" that I obviously could
> > not achieve.
> > 
> > Please parse "Us he devours" with all the grammatical accuracy you can
> > muster. I look forward to reading it.
> > 
> > Diana
> > 
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 19:46:57 -0500
> > From: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > 
> > Diana,
> > 
> > You seem to be under the impression that poetic ambiguity,
> > multiplicity of meaning, and interpretive range provide rationales for
> > a critic to make errors in grammatical identifications. 'T'isn't so.
> > Whether or not sentences such as "Us he devours" and "Don't touch me"
> > imply ongoing action (an interpretive matter), it is inaccurate to say
> > that they're in the progressive present tense (a factual matter).
> > Whether or not a poem such as "Gerontion" implies movement, the noun
> > "Gerontion" is not a verb or verbal phrase. Claims to the contrary are
> > not interpretations; they're just errors. Critics who feel "free to
> > select the tense of your choice" are writing their own text, not
> > interpreting the one the poet wrote.
> > 
> > You also seem to assume that a call for accuracy in grammatical
> > identifications is ipso facto a rejection of poetic ambiguity,
> > multiplicity of meaning, and interpretive range, that the expectation
> > of critical accuracy necessarily entails an insensitivity to the
> > richness and suggestiveness of a poem. This assumption is so
> > ridiculous I'm not going to comment on it.
> > 
> > Terry
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Dear Terry,
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Don't credit me with interpreting Jesus's statement to Mary
> >      as an ongoing action that continues beyond the present
> >      moment; biblical scholars have developed arguments on both
> >      sides of that debate. Try googling Noli me tangere for
> >      details.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      If you like things to be unambiguous, you ought to steer
> >      clear of poetry. I've said that "Us he devours" seems like
> >      an ongoing action of the tiger, rather than a devouring that
> >      completes itself in the poem as a conversion experience. But
> >      even as the progressive present, a conditional quality might
> >      be implied, as in "If the tiger arrives us he devours" or
> >      "When the tiger arrives us he devours." Poetry is enriched
> >      by ambiguity; if we could point to one meaning Gerontion
> >      would not fascinate us as it does. You of course are free to
> >      select the tense of your choice for "Us he devours" and
> >      settle on one interpretation.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      As for the discussion on the poem's title, I believe it
> >      could signify both the name of the narrator and the state or
> >      condition of old age. I must have posted something that
> >      suggested I believed the title signified an action, which is
> >      why Nancy tried to disabuse me of that notion. We got it
> >      cleared up. I was arguing that ageing was not a static
> >      condition, and that the narrator reacts to time passing him
> >      by, since someone said the poem was static. The poem, not
> >      the title, implies movement.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Do try to pay attention so you don't need replays of
> >      discussions to clear up your misconceptions.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Diana
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      >appeals to tense don't always settle disputes about meaning
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Diana,
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Now that Jerry has twice corrected your claims about Greek
> >      tenses, you say that appeals to tense don't always settle
> >      disputes, but you are the one who has been making such
> >      appeals - and erroneous ones at that. You say "Us he
> >      devours" is the progressive present tense, which it's not.
> >      The progressive present in English requires an "ing" verb.
> >      (Jerry gave "I am touching" as an example, but you
> >      apparently paid no attention to that part of his post.) "Us
> >      he devours" is no more the progressive present than are the
> >      negative commands "don't touch me" or "don't hold me" or
> >      "don't cling to me." If you want to interpret those as
> >      continuing actions, that's fine, but please stop using
> >      labels you don't understand. (You did this before in your
> >      syntactical misreading of the poem's title, about which
> >      Nancy's efforts to correct your error seem to have made no
> >      impression.) I'll file your current "appeals to tense don't
> >      always settle disputes about meaning" with your previous
> >      "this tense can radically change meaning" (Sun, March 7,
> >      2010).
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >      Terry
> > 
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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