Nancy Gish wrote:
> I appreciate the serious response.  I cannot address it now because I 
> have class.
     No problem. I'll look forward to it when you have time.
> But it is now clear how we fundamentally disagree about the very 
> nature of literature.
   Yes, I'm thinking that is a distinct possibility.
> I did not--at the time--find any of Brown's claims convincing, for 
> example, but as I did not keep them, I cannot argue that. 

   Agreed. But there was much more there than claims, and our different 
responses to the Brown reading goes back again to item one above.
> But there are many appropriate ways to approach any literature, not 
> one.  That is our basic disagreement.
    I subscribe to Thompson's oft repeated statement that there are many 
mansions in the house of criticism, and all have a legitimate function 
in relation to understanding literature. I remember his taking exception 
to Yeat's little poetic diatribe against critics -- "All wear the carpet 
with their shoes" --  by pointing out the great service that so many 
biographers and editors did Yeats. The problem comes when the occupant 
of one mansion tries to step into the role of the occupant of another 
without changing the basis of his role, i.e. when the biographer 
occupies the interpreter's room without understanding the the rules of 

<Moreover, the extensive study, research, careful reading and extensive 
knowledge of many critics who do not take that approach suggests a very 
questionable view of the significance and value of the education you 

I'd be willing to entertain this if I thought you understood what I'm 
affirming. To be plain, I'm fairly sure you do not. And I think you can 
stop saying you do not find my statements significant or correct, very 
much as I do not find yours. I think everyone on the list understands 
that we dispute each other's position. Repeating it does not make it a 
better case.

< Moreover, if there were only one way to approach Eliot, I feel quite 
sure it is not the one you affirm.>

 Yes, we've pretty well covered that ground.

< But since I have read Eliot criticism for decades, I appreciate that 
you are not alone in taking it and that it can be argued thoughtfully.  
I don't think it is "right.">

 Well, that's three times! I guess if incantations worked, that would 
put you over the top. However, since I dropped out of graduate school 
for the third and final time in 1974, I've been haunting library stacks 
looking for an Eliot critic the equal of Thompson. I joined this list in 
1998 in part to entertain that search. I can't tell you how surprised 
and gratified I was to find Guy Story Brown.  Ultimately, I think you're 
talking about something else than what I'm talking about.  But I look 
forward to your more time-privileged response.

 Ken A