"Wonders" are things that elicit wonder.  That does not mean they signify anything.  An illusionists trick, for example, is a "wonder."  I assume Avatar is full of "wonders" though I've only seen the trailer.  That does not mean the world is full of blue aliens.  But the assumption is that the appearance of Christ and angels singing on high and the wise men, etc., were "signs." (Yet the multitude failed to see them; that failure is a constant theme in TWL and "Gerontion.) These words have long histories of signification; they are not simply random choices that share the idea of the unknown or ineffable or astonishing.
N

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>03/16/10 10:56 AM >>>
Dear Jerry,
 
So what are wonders then? If signs are good, the line must anathematize wonders, since they are set in opposition.
 
Diana


Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 07:08:37 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: signs and wonders
To: [log in to unmask]

Diana,

In the context from which "We would see a sign" comes, namely, the gospels, the term does not refer to vulgar, crowd-pleasing phenomena.  It refers, as I said earlier, to events (usually miraculous) that sign-ify something transcendent.  The disapproval the evangelist is expressing in this scene is not disapproval of the concept behind the word "sign" but disapproval of the crowd, who asks for a sign even though, by asking, they prove themselves incapable of perceiving the one they have already been given.  I can't imagine that Eliot would have missed that irony in the gospel scene.

Jerry

From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tue, March 16, 2010 8:16:32 AM
Subject: Re: signs and wonders

I'm not clear whether signs are good, and wonders only superficial spectacles, or vice-versa. "We would see a sign!" suggests signs are vulgar crowd-pleasing phenomena.

Diana

Sent from my iPod

On Mar 15, 2010, at 9:09 PM, "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 11:29:48 -0500, Terry Traynor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> from "Gerontion":
>>
>>      Signs are taken for wonders. "We would see a sign!"
>>
>> Does anybody know the difference between signs and wonders?
>>
>> Terry
>>
>
> As I wrote in another post I was reading chapter 25 of Henry Adams'
> autobiography.  As I was something put the thought in my mind that
> Eliot may have taken the technological devices written about by
> Adams' as "signs" and the Godly miracles as the wonders.
>
> He is one statement by Adams that may come closest to the idea:
>  As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines,
>  he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force,
>  much as the early Christians felt the Cross.
>
> 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
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Adams
> Henry Brooks Adams (February 16, 1838 – March 27, 1918; normally called
> Henry Adams) was an American journalist, historian, academic and novelist.
>
> Wikipedia article about the book
> The Education of Henry Adams
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Education_of_Henry_Adams
>
> Chapter 25 of The Education of Henry Adams
> The Dynamo and the Virgin (1900)
> http://www.bartleby.com/159/25.html
>
> 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)
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_Memorial_(grave marker)
>
>
> Also related to Eliot's poem "Gerontion" are allusions to
> to Lancelot Andrewes:
>
> Wikipedia article about
> Lancelot Andrewes
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
> http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=288693049002
>
> Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
> SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
> PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1622.
> Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Wednesday,
> the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXXII.
> "Christ is no wild-cat."
> http://anglicanhistory.org/lact/andrewes/v1/sermon15.html
>
> Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
> SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
> PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1618.
> Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Friday,
> the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXVIII.
> "Signs are taken for wonders"
> http://anglicanhistory.org/lact/andrewes/v1/sermon12.html
> corrupted?
>


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