Dear Rick,

I'm on my iPod so I'll reply briefly to your post, which deserves more  
comment. ( My keypad is two inches wide.) We were discussing the  
different status of Mary in the Anglican and Catholic religions. That  
brought us to arguing about whether It could be said that she is  
"worshipped" as a deity, since orthodoxy may proscribe that.

I know that Mary is worshipped as a deity in the ethnic neighborhoods  
in which I grew up, despite what the church fathers forbid or permit,  
and I suggested that Eliot knew that genuine faith is the cure for  

Nancy suggested that Eliot followed orthodox Christian dogma, which we  
know is true. So some confusion remains about why he was so intensely  
fascinated with pagan nature worship (which obviously relates to the  
Resurrection, but is anything but orthodox Christianity.) I cited John  
X Cooper's essay in which he asserts that powerful irrational forces  
drive The Wasteland from below, wrenching it's form like an earthquake.

My guess is that Eliot had a healthy respect for religion's  
inexplicables. What else is faith after all?


Sent from my iPod

On Mar 15, 2010, at 9:01 PM, "Rickard A. Parker"  
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I can't remember how we ended up on the topic of the Virgin in
> discussing "Gerontion" ("Ash Wednesday" I can see.) I made a
> comment about it being off topic and you came back with (a few
> days ago, the 11th):
>> If you read my post concerning Eliot's attraction to primitive
>> religions, myths and genuine heartfelt faith you would see my point
>> that worshipping Mary as a deity is an expression of the kind of
>> spiritual experience that brings rainfall to the desert or warms
>> someone under a windy hill. Prayers to Mary are as "valid" as those
>> mentioned in Little Gidding that are felt and not validated
>> intellectually, to wit:
>> ...
>> Not off-topic, but right on target. Gerontion is a condition of
>> ennervation, anomie, aboulie, due to a dearth of the kind of faith
>> simple believers exerience.
> I was reading Chapter 25 of Henry Adams' "The Education of The  
> Education
> of Henry Adams" (1918) reviewed by Eliot in 1919. This book is noted
> in Eliot commentaries as a source for "dogwood and chestnut,  
> flowering judas"
> and "an old man driven by the Trades / To a sleepy corner" (Adams, ch
> 21: "sleep forever in the trade-winds")
> In chapter 25 (entitled "Dynamo and the Virgin (1900)" Adams talks
> about the Paris World's Fair of 1900 and the scientific and
> technological exhibits.  Some have conjectured that Eliot may have
> based his vision of history in this poem on this chapter of Henry
> Adam's autobiography.  Perhaps the reason for sexing history as a she
> is from this.
> Adams' paragraph 17 (next to last) of chapter 25 (entitled "Dynamo
> and the Virgin (1900)"
>   Yet in mechanics, whatever the mechanicians might think, both  
> energies
>   acted as interchangeable force on man, and by action on man all  
> known
>   force may be measured. Indeed, few men of science measured force  
> in any
>   other way. After once admitting that a straight line was the  
> shortest
>   distance between two points, no serious mathematician cared to deny
>   anything that suited his convenience, and rejected no symbol,  
> unproved
>   or unproveable, that helped him to accomplish work.
>   The symbol was force, as a compass-needle or a triangle was force,
>   as the mechanist might prove by losing it, and nothing could be  
> gained
>   by ignoring their value. Symbol or energy, the Virgin had acted as  
> the
>   greatest force the Western world ever felt, and had drawn man’s
>   activities to herself more strongly than any other power, natural or
>   supernatural, had ever done; the historian’s business was to foll 
> ow
>   the track of the energy; to find where it came from and where it  
> went
>   to; its complex source and shifting channels; its values,  
> equivalents,
>   conversions. It could scarcely be more complex than radium; it could
>   hardly be deflected, diverted, polarised, absorbed more perplexingly
>   than other radiant matter. Adams knew nothing about any of them, but
>   as a mathematical problem of influence on human progress, though all
>   were occult, all reacted on his mind, and he rather inclined to  
> think
>   the Virgin easiest to handle.
> Regards,
>    Rick Parker
> Here are some links and other bits of information that may be
> helpful in a reading of "Gerontion" or else just a start on some
> surfing. I'm including this information redundantly in two different
> Eliot list posts on "Gerontion" that both mention Adam's chapter 25
> of his autobiography.  One post deals with signs and wonders and the
> other with the Virgin Mary and history.
> Henry Adams was a third cousin of T.S. Eliot's father, Henry Ware
> Eliot, Sr., whose mother was Abigail Adams Cranch, a grandchild of
> Mary (Smith) Cranch, sister of Abigail (Smith) Adams.
> Wikipedia article about
> Henry Adams
> Henry Brooks Adams (February 16, 1838 – March 27, 1918; normally cal 
> led
> Henry Adams) was an American journalist, historian, academic and  
> novelist.
> Wikipedia article about the book
> The Education of Henry Adams
> Chapter 25 of The Education of Henry Adams
> The Dynamo and the Virgin (1900)
> Eliot wrote a review of Adams' book.
> C79. A Sceptical Patrician. Athenaeum, 4647 (May 23, 1919) 361-2.
> A review, signed: T.S.E., of The Education of Henry Adams, An  
> Autobiography.
> In Chapter 25 of his book Adams writes of the Paris World's Fair of  
> 1900.
> Two prominent men mentioned are Langley and St. Gaudens.
> Wikipedia article about
> Exposition Universelle (1900)
> The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in
> Paris, France, to celebrate the achievements of the past century
> and to accelerate development into the next.
> Wikipedia article about
> Samuel Pierpont Langley
> Samuel Pierpont Langley (August 22, 1834, Roxbury, Massachusetts –
> February 27, 1906, Aiken, South Carolina) was an American astronomer,
> physicist, inventor of the bolometer and pioneer of aviation.
> Wikipedia article about
> Augustus Saint-Gaudens
> Augustus Saint-Gaudens (March 1, 1848, Dublin, Ireland – August 3,
> 1907, Cornish, New Hampshire), was the Irish-born American sculptor of
> the Beaux-Arts generation who most embodied the ideals of the  
> "American
> Renaissance".
> Adams had previously commissioned Saint-Gaudens to produce a memorial
> for his wife (who had committed suicide).  The public reaction was
> disappointing to Adams.
> marker)
> Also related to Eliot's poem "Gerontion" are allusions to
> to Lancelot Andrewes:
> Wikipedia article about
> Lancelot Andrewes
> Lancelot Andrewes (1555 – 25 September 1626) was an English
> clergyman and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of
> England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I.
> During the latter's reign, Andrewes served successively as Bishop
> of Chichester, Ely and Winchester and oversaw the translation of
> the Authorized Version (or King James Version) of the Bible.
> Lancelot Andrewes: T.S. Eliot's Essay on Bishop Andrewes
> Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
> Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Wednesday,
> the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXXII.
> "Christ is no wild-cat."
> Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
> Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Friday,
> the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXVIII.
> "Signs are taken for wonders"
> corrupted?