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Dear Tom,

I adore that 'Golding' text! I'm printing as much of it as I can and plan to lift a few lines to insert in my own poems. 

And so it goes! Writers stealing from writers. 

All the texts you posted enrich the Eliot passage.

Diana

Sent from my iPod

On Apr 23, 2010, at 11:25 AM, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Diana wrote:
> What strikes me immediately about this allusion is Eliot's assumption
> that a significant portion of his readership could be counted on
> to hear the literary echoes!
>
> Secondly, "purple" seems like an odd color for a youthful blush.
> It would be more fitting as a description of rage,
> drunkenness or high blood pressure. Why not "rosy"?
> What options were available for translation from the original?
>
> Diana
 
Diana:

Let me address the translation issue first: Clearly there are many translations of Ovid and I've looked at about a dozen. Look at the passage where Narcissus sees his own image in a pool of water (and thinks he's looking at some beautiful body, who is actually himself). The various translations of the color of the 'beautiful blush' on his face (appearing on his otherwise beautifully-white face) use words like "purple", "red", "rose-flush", and "blushing as the rose in snow-drift white". I'm posting four such translations below. You're welcome to search for others and let us know if there are any meaningful discrepancies.
 
As to whether or not Eliot expected his readers to recognize any particular literary allusion to fully appreciate any particular TSE passage, let me quote from Eliot's essay, "What Dante means to me (1950)". TSE wrote:
 
"Readers of my Waste Land will perhaps remember that the vision of my city clerks trooping over London Bridge from the railway station to their offices evoked the reflection 'I had not thought death had undone so many'; and that in another place I deliberately modified a line of Dante by altering it -'sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled.' And I gave the references in my notes, in order to make the reader who recognized the allusion, know that I meant him to recognize it, and know that he would have missed the point if he did not recognize it."

I'm sure you'll acknowledge that Eliot's poems are full of literary allusions. In TWL he provided notes to some, but not all, of those allusions. He _did_ expect the reader to recognize the allusions, and they will have "missed the point" if they don't.

As far as the young man carbuncular, I know there are no corresponding TWL notes pointing to Ovid, but I think the reference to Tiresias observing a highly vain, unsympathetic character would cause a reader trained in the classics (which Eliot probably expected of his readers back in the TWL time period of 1922) to think of Narcissus.

-- Tom --

=============================================
 
http://classics.mit.edu//Ovid/metam.html
 
Translated by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al
 
For as his own bright image he survey'd,
He fell in love with the fantastick shade;
And o'er the fair resemblance hung unmov'd,
Nor knew, fond youth! it was himself he lov'd.
The well-turn'd neck and shoulders he descries,
The spacious forehead, and the sparkling eyes;
The hands that Bacchus might not scorn to show,
And hair that round Apollo's head might flow;
With all the purple youthfulness of face,
That gently blushes in the wat'ry glass.
 
=================================================
 
http://www.elizabethanauthors.com/ovid03.htm
The first translation into English -
      credited to Arthur Golding
 
He thinkes the shadow that he sees, to be a lively boddie.
Astraughted like an ymage made of Marble stone he lyes,
There gazing on his shadow still with fixed staring eyes.
Stretcht all along upon the ground, it doth him good to see
his ardent eyes which like two starres full bright and shyning bee,
And eke his fingars, fingars such as Bacchus might beseeme,
And haire that one might worthely Apollos haire it deeme.
His beardlesse chinne and yvorie necke, and eke the perfect grace
Of white and red indifferently bepainted in his face
 
==================================================
 
http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Metamorph3.htm#_Toc64106192
 
Translated by A. S. Kline
 
He is astonished by himself, and hangs there motionless, with a fixed expression, like a statue carved from Parian marble.
      Flat on the ground, he contemplates two stars, his eyes, and his hair, fit for Bacchus, fit for Apollo, his youthful cheeks and ivory neck, the beauty of his face, the rose-flush mingled in the whiteness of snow, admiring everything for which he is himself admired.
 
==========================================================
 
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses3.html
METMORHOSES BOOK 3, TRANS. BY BROOKES MORE
 
Long, supine upon the bank, his gaze is fixed on his own eyes, twin stars; his fingers shaped as Bacchus might desire, his flowing hair as glorious as Apollo's, and his cheeks youthful and smooth; his ivory neck, his mouth dreaming in sweetness, his complexion fair and blushing as the rose in snow-drift white. All that is lovely in himself he loves, and in his witless way he wants himself.

=========================================================




Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 07:52:47 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: through eliot's kaleidoscope
To: [log in to unmask]

What strikes me immediately about this allusion is Eliot's assumption that a significant portion of his readership could be counted on to hear the literary echoes! 

Secondly, "purple" seems like an odd color for a youthful blush. It would be more fitting as a description of rage, drunkenness or high blood pressure. Why not "rosy"? What options were available for translation from the original?

Diana 

Sent from my iPod

On Apr 22, 2010, at 1:00 PM, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Diana wrote:

 

> The 'Prufrock' speaker also finds teenage acne to be an indication of
> inferiority, otherwise why mention it?
>
> Diana

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 --

===================================================

Translation excerpts provided by The Internet Classics Archive.
See bottom for copyright. Available online at
    http://classics.mit.edu//Ovid/metam.html

Metamorphoses
By Ovid

Translated by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al

(Third book)

(from "The Transformation of Echo")

---------------------------
1) Narcissus' mother consults Tiresias about her infant son:

The tender dame, sollicitous to know
Whether her child should reach old age or no,
Consults the sage Tiresias, who replies,
"If e'er he knows himself he surely dies."
Long liv'd the dubious mother in suspence,
'Till time unriddled all the prophet's sense.

2) Narcissus loves himself and his own beauty; girls love him "in vain":

Narcissus now his sixteenth year began,
Just turn'd of boy, and on the verge of man;
Many a friend the blooming youth caress'd,
Many a love-sick maid her flame confess'd:
Such was his pride, in vain the friend caress'd,
The love-sick maid in vain her flame confess'd.

. . . .

(From "The Story of Narcissus")
---------------------------
3) Narcissus is described as having a "purple youthfulness of face", that is, a blush that beautifully colors his youthful face:

For as his own bright image he survey'd,
He fell in love with the fantastick shade;
And o'er the fair resemblance hung unmov'd,
Nor knew, fond youth! it was himself he lov'd.
The well-turn'd neck and shoulders he descries,
The spacious forehead, and the sparkling eyes;
The hands that Bacchus might not scorn to show,
And hair that round Apollo's head might flow;
With all the purple youthfulness of face,
That gently blushes in the wat'ry glass.

=====================================================

Compare the Ovid passages to Eliot's passages in TWL:

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest-
I too awaited the expected guest.
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence;
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.

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.




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