Oh nonsense. Can you never address ideas instead of persons with snide implications of a secret group who know and all others who are somehow ignorant or foolish or incompetent?

>>> Chokh Raj 03/31/10 10:15 AM >>>
This one too. It helps clear the air. 

Ah, "The sapient sutlers of the [word] / [have drifted too long] across the window-panes." "The masters of the subtle schools / Are [indeed] controversial, polymath."


--- On Wed, 3/31/10, Ken Armstrong wrote:

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.