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A society can however be more or less civilized. I agree that de- 
civilized is a lame term.

The typist and her young man are not highly civilized in my view,  
though they are part of a highly organized society. They seem to be in  
a state of shock, as indeed so many people were because of the war.  
Hardly anyone was not directly touched by loss and/ or disruption and  
dislocation then.

Clinically it's called flattened affect, and it can follow trauma and  
loss.

Sent from my iPod

On May 23, 2010, at 11:19 AM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Diana Manister wrote:
>>
>> Peter,
>>
>> Yes dehumanized. De-civilized too, if you will,
>
> "decivilized" (which is also not Eliot's word) is an even more
> inappropriate metaphor than dehumanized. The behavior of the clerk is
> only possible within civilization! For one thing, even in a
> pre-capitalist class societies she would not have been living alone or
> preparing her own meal. Those tins involved international commerce.
> Moreover, the entire episode presupposes the atomized social relations
> which appeared embryonically in the 175th-c (and Milton with amazing
> prescience grasped) and only fully (and only in England & the U.S.) in
> the 19th-c. They were only beginning to develop in France & Germany  
> (and
> this enters into the causes of WW1).
>
> So whatever the young man and woman are or are not, they are highly
> civilized -- and surely Eliot had enough of an historical sense and  
> was
> precise enough in his language (even the silent language of thought  
> and
> intention) that he would never have seen these characters as
> de-ciivilized. These vague, sloppy categories introduced by readers
> rather than the poem trivialize the whole poem.
>
> Carrolk
>