Thanks for your patience Jerry! I too don't read "Us he devours" as a punctum, but as a durative or iterative action. I apologize for messing up the tense name. The hosing I got for that on this list will insure I never forget what ypu have taught me! Diana Sent from my iPod On Mar 11, 2010, at 12:23 PM, Jerome Walsh <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > That's how I would understand it. As a non-specialist, I hesitate > to comment on Eliot, but I could not not read "Us he devours" as > having some quality of generalization, either as a continuing > process (durative) or a repeated one (iterative). For a single, > punctual action I would expect "Us he is devouring." That being > said, I recognize that poetry can stretch the constraints of prose > grammar, but prose grammar is where I would begin my attempts to > understand. (I guess I'm just hopelessly prosaic. I have only > rarely managed to commit an act of poetry.) > > Jerry > > From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> > To: [log in to unmask] > Sent: Thu, March 11, 2010 10:51:16 AM > Subject: Re: "Us he devours" was ....Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical > Accuracy > > Jerry, one more question: > > "He eats ham" is durative or iterative, right? He eats ham on > Easter, He eats ham since he stopped keeping kosher, etc. > > But you would not say "He eats ham right now" would you? You would > say "He is eating ham now." > > So...... > > "He devours us" is durative or iterative, and "He is devouring us" > is present. Is that right? > > Diana > > Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 08:21:49 -0800 > From: [log in to unmask] > Subject: Re: "Us he devours" was ....Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical > Accuracy > To: [log in to unmask] > > Yes, Diana. "I am drinking" is progressive present tense. "I > drink" is simple present. "I do drink" is emphatic present. Each > of them can be used in contexts that modify the temporal parameters > of the action. "I drink coffee from morning to night" (continuous, > durative action). "I drink a cup of coffee every morning when I get > up" (puntual, repeated action). But for punctual, non-repeated > action in the present, the progressive present ("I am drinking a cup > of coffee right now"). For simultaneous action, the progressive > past ("I was drinking a cup of coffee when you called") can be > replaced (Runyon-style) by the progressive present ("Guess who > arrives while I am drinking a cup of coffee!"). I have no doubt > there are other, even more nuanced uses of the various tenses beyond > those I've exemplified. > > Jerry Walsh > > From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> > To: [log in to unmask] > Sent: Thu, March 11, 2010 9:46:10 AM > Subject: Re: "Us he devours" was ....Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical > Accuracy > > Peter I'll allow that I'm confused about simple present tense. In > the sentence "I am drinking a glass of water right now" is it > progressive present because of the participle "drinking"? Even > though the action does not continue? > > Diana > > > > Sent from my iPod > > On Mar 11, 2010, at 7:23 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> > wrote: > > > In a sense the inversion isolates US. He doesn't devour anything > else, just > > US. > > > > P. > > ----- Original Message ----- > > From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]> > > To: <[log in to unmask]> > > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:23 AM > > Subject: "Us he devours" was ....Re: 'Gerontion' -- Grammatical > Accuracy > > > > > >> (Ignoring all Diana's comments on this.) > >> > >> The present tense in English (as in most languages) has a number of > >> different uses, and identifying the use in a particular case > offers or > >> can offer interpretive problems, especially when, as here, there > is a > >> deliberate departure from normal English word order of > >> subject-verbv-object. Obmect-subject-verb wold be perfectly > normal and > >> non-ambiguous in Latin, That English has an objective > (accusative) case > >> in pronouns (though not in nouns) makes the Latin word order > possible > >> here, and the use of non-English word order is surely the most > strikig > >> feature of the phrase. US he devours -- ie., not "them." But > since the > >> antecedent of "he" is itself an interpretive crux it's hard to know > >> where to_begin_ om cconstruing the phrase, that is, which is the > >> dependent, which the independent variable here. Le's leave the > puzzle > >> regarding "he" aside for a moment and focus on the word order and > the > >> verb. "Devours" here has an iterative feel: He is in the practice > of > >> devouring, not just anyoen, but _us_ (emphasized by word order). > The > >> iterative feel and the emphasis on us (rather than someone else) > >> suggests something like an regularly repaeated action, annual in > this > >> case. > >> > >> I don't know where to take it from here, except to note that here > we > >> have the kind of ambguity Empson was concerned with -- > ambiguities that > >> _function_ significanty in the text, not ambiguties 5that are > pulled out > >> of the air for the fun of it by someone who just thinks ambiguity > >> regardless of purpose is groovy. Weighing the various > alternatives is > >> clearly part of theaction that counts in this poem: not the > action mimed > >> by the poem (there is none) but the action of reading. Like so many > >> romantic and modernist poems, the poem is about the act of > reading (we > >> are back to cunning passages). > >> > >> *Carrol > > > > Hotmail: Trusted email with Microsoft’s powerful SPAM protection. Si > gn up now.