Print

Print


Nancy Gish wrote:
> We can certainly agree that it is what it is.  (I presume that it is 
> not what it is not.) But that you know what it is, and serious lovers 
> of poetry who devote lifetimes to thinking about it simply don't, is 
> too absurd to consider.  What "it is" is not a given or a reified object.
    Serious lovers of poetry who have studied Eliot for thirty years and 
more disagree with one another about his poetry. They can't all be right.
>  
> *I* *never said* that every time Christianity and Eliot come up that 
> he didn't write allegory.  Many of his poems have allegory or 
> allegorical elements--not all and not all his life.  I stand by the 
> statement about reading back.
   If you were to go back through your posts, you would see that one of 
your stock replies to the notion that Christianity is essential to 
Eliot's poetry is that he does not write mere allegory.That is how you 
have used the term to reject the notion that Christianity is essential 
to the poetry under discussion. If you are now changing your position, 
glad to hear it.
>  
> To say Eliot is not just one thing is no more general than to claim he 
> "was" a Christian.  Of course he was at some point.  That point is 
> probably not yet determined.
    But this is such a fascinating idea! "That point is probably not yet 
determined." When do you think it will be? Who will have the authority 
to determine it? And who has said that "Eliot is just one thing"? Again, 
to say that Christianity is essential to Eliot's poetry is not to say he 
is "just one thing"; is it? Of course the phrase is not precise. Every 
body, when they write, is some thing or things or another, so I assume 
the problem is not in identifying that thing or things, but in defending 
the veracity of one's claim.

  The point of Eric Thompson's book, by the way, which of course I would 
recommend to any serious lover of Eliot's poetry, is that Eliot brings a 
discernible metaphysical vision to all of his poetry starting with the 
Prufrock collection. As ET points out, it is not there in the juvenilia. 
Then it appears and stays and is central throughout. It manifests 
relations an understanding of which one requires to grasp very deeply 
the poems. Of course you (the general "you") don't have to go to 
Thompson for this insight; perhaps you have discovered it for yourself. 
If not, there is no better exposition of it.

Ken