Print

Print


Dear Peter,

I'm just leaving for a reading so have only a minute to respond. Why  
do you focus so exclusively on Christian topoi in the poem? There are  
other
aspects to it that might inform your main interest, like the role of  
nature, for example.

I'm off now to Greenwich Village and the Dada Salon!!

Cheers,

Diana

Sent from my iPod

On Mar 19, 2010, at 12:51 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>  
wrote:

> I put off answering this until I could give it some time.
> Even still I'm not sure how to respond.
>
> Is the question whether Eliot was manifesting or even asserting a  
> Christian
> faith?
> I demure on that because I get the sense of a kind of sitting on the  
> fence
> in the poem --
>  the effect that caused several to say the poem doesn't have a  
> dramatic
> arch
> ( I disagree, having been in one two many Beckett plays.[pun  
> intended, of
> course.])
>
> I am still taken with the idea that G. may represent or somehow be  
> connected
> to St. Paul's "old man",
> in effect he stands for human nature as fallen or decrpit or flawed or
> whatever, a crucifer of original sin,
> even if St. Paul didn't use the word "geron" to describe the old guy  
> (a
> penny for, &c.).
>
> I wonder if the tiger is Blake's, esp given Blake's illustration.
> Blake's tiger is awesome. Eliot's is vicious.
> Eliot's tiger emerges in spring; Blake's is in the forests of  the  
> night.
>
> Inevitably Blake's cat comes up, but I don't think that is why ELiot  
> is
> using
> this particular practical cat. The tiger ius everything geron. isn't.
> Geron. is just cat food, or so he seems (pretends?) to see himself.
> The cavern of the tiger's gut could well be a very windy house.
>
> Is that windy house a church?
>
> Or maybe Geron.is just good old Guy Fawkes ruminating as a failed  
> member of
> Al Qaeda,
> the Catholic Church, lost in the bowels of Gitmo.
>
> Sorry. My imagination is starting to take over, so I better quit  
> while I'm
> still
> on the fence. Quit. Quite. Quiet.
>
> P.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ken Armstrong" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 1:14 PM
> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc
>
>
>> Gerontion may be an old man, but he/it certainly is also something  
>> else,
>> perhaps two or three something elses, a house of a certain sort with
>> windy spaces for sure. So packing the whole emotional content into  
>> one
>> Geron may not make a true, or at least a final, yield. In a way, a
>> Gerontion is the diminutive of Geron, so Gerontion could be a knock- 
>> off
>> of a little old man, a small something made by man.
>>
>> Peter Montgomery wrote:
>>> Well he seems to be a frustrated old man who has literally
>>> lost his senses. I feel so much irony in what he says, but  that is
>>> just the effect it has for me.
>>>
>>  But irony and frustration in Gerontion's words are not the same as  
>> TSE
>> mocking, although he seems to be qualifying the thought of many poets
>> and philosophers here. That he is doing it in an age of unbelief  
>> has to
>> constitute some of the ground of the poem and therefore some of the
>> effect. As McLuhan observed, just making an observation about  
>> something
>> in the descendent comes off as criticism, while about the ascendent  
>> the
>> effect is praise, even though in both cases it is neutral  
>> observation.
>>> Then there is the fact that he is not using a standard Christian  
>>> image.
>>> Christ is
>>> usually associated with the lion as a king image.
>>>
>>   Blake's Tiger broke that ground, though, so the effect of TSE using
>> Tiger here is not in its innovation.
>>> The tiger has a vicious, emotional character, the kind of thing that
>>> is dead in Gerry.
>>   Yes, but again, what kind of person is it who sits and listens to a
>> boy reading  --SANS ALL SENSES? The kind who is not a man, right?
>>> There is a certain fatalistic quality.
>>> Us he devours once and for all, the whole sinful human race, down
>>> the gullet all at once present, past and future.
>>>
>>> The idea of a similar tiger doing a similar thing in our modern
>>> culture rather appeals, even though it's already been done, once for
> all.
>>>
>>   OK, so I've gotta ask: isn't this somewhat like taking a sign for a
>> wonder?
>>
>>  I'm still grappling with that "changing human nature" thing.
>>
>> Yrs.
>> Ken
>>> "Christ who had no sin, became sin for us."
>>>
>>> Cheers,
>>> Peter
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Ken Armstrong" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:22 PM
>>> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>  Peter,
>>>>
>>>>  Do you think he's mocking it? Yes or no make very different poems.
>>>>
>>>>  Is it that human nature is transformed?
>>>>
>>>>  My impression, just to be out front, is that it is an unmocking,  
>>>> or
>>>> rather unmocked, Christian vision at work in Gerontion.
>>>>
>>>>  Ken
>>>> //
>>>> Peter Montgomery wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Thanks Ken. It doesn't mean that Eliot believed that; he just
> understood
>>>>>
>>> the
>>>
>>>>> theology very clearly, and was perhaps mocking it.
>>>>>
>>>>> That he later came to believe it creates an interesting shadow  
>>>>> effect.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> ...this is very nice
>>>>>> Peter, and makes sense in a number of ways. Christ the Tiger thus
>>>>>> assimilates us to the Body of Christ. In Eliot, the way up and  
>>>>>> the
> way
>>>>>> down are often the same, and what appears to be a negative has an
>>>>>> ostensibly positive import.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Peter Montgomery wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I suspect that the tiger's pouncing in spring is Jesus'
> resurrection.
>>>>>>> In overcoming death, he devours the old man and transforms
>>>>>>> human nature into something new which actually participates in
>>>>>>> the divine nature as adopted sons of God.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Jesus did say at one point in one of the gospels, "You are as  
>>>>>>> gods."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Hope that adds some zest to your being munched.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>
>>>
>