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Eliot was a big fan of THE HEART OF DARKNESS.

Is Kurtz de-civilised?

Mr. Civilisation, he dead!

P.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 7:19 AM
Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides


> 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