> Thanks, Tom. This is quite provocative.
Thanks for the kind words, Marcia.
If it's right that Eliot is alluding to Narcissus, the differences between Ovid's and Eliot's description is interesting. Narcissus is presented as vain, totally self-absorbed, not an admirable character. But the young man carbuncular is even worse: he is not only as vain and self-absorbed as Narcissus, he is physically ugly. I take that to be a metaphor for his ugly soul, the soul of a rapist.
-- Tom --
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 13:26:22 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: through eliot's kaleidoscope
To: [log in to unmask]
Thanks, Tom. This is quite provocative.
Tom Colket wrote:
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I think Eliot's "young man carbuncular" is an allusion to Ovid's Narcissus in Metamorphoses. This has been written about before, but perhaps it is worth re-stating. I have copied some lines below from a translation posted by MIT, along with some comments of my own that I believe tie Narcissus to the young man carbuncular.
-- Tom --
In other words:
1) Tiresias appears in both passages and prophesizes (In Eliot: "Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest").
2) Eliot turns the plot of Narcissus loving only himself and his own beauty into "His vanity requires no response,/And makes a welcome of indifference".
3) Eliot turns the "purple youthfulness of face" that Ovid uses to describe a beautiful youthful blush into "the young man carbuncular", that is, a face full of purple pimples, not the beautiful blush of Narcissus.