=Whether Eugenides is a rapist or not would not alter his status as a nomad who travels from culture to culture, as a merchant required to learn each one's customs and language. His alleged rape would not remove him from the category of foreigner adopting personae to fit into cultures not his own.However, he certainly didn't jump the speaker at their first meeting, but at a location at which they would have agreed to meet. The speaker in TWL doesn't sound as if he were interested in seeing Eugenides again.If such a rape were a leitmotif or subtext of that part of the poem why would the allusion be heterosexual in nature? Surely some classical homosexual reference would have been more appropriate.Diana
Sent from my iPod
On May 9, 2010, at 10:53 PM, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
N> How can one assert absolutely who misjudges or if anyone does?
Diana was the one who wrote of a misjudgment, so I cannot address that.
As to the Eugenides lines themselves, I don't think, as Diana states, that they are there to show that "Eugenides has to adopt new personae as he travels around from culture to culture". As I discussed last year, in my reading, Eugenides is a homosexual rapist who sexually assaults the narrator.
1) The Eugenides lines are sandwiched between a description of the rape of Philomela and the rape of the typist.
2) As Southam says, the Metropole is a "fashionable luxury hotel at Brighton, on the south coast of England, sixty miles from London. A 'week-end at Brighton' is understood colloquially as an invitation carrying sexual implications."
3) Madame Sosostris says, "And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,/Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,/Which I am forbidden to see." What he 'carries on his back' that she is 'forbidden to see' is his homosexuality (see item '2' above).
4) The one-eyed merchant is one of only a few characters explicitly mentioned by Madame Sosostris. Note that characters such as Marie, Stetson, the Thames daughters, etc., are _not_ mentioned, but Eugenides is. He has importance to the narrator on par with Phlebas and Belladonna. I believe this importance comes from the fact that he is the narrator's rapist.
5)A few lines in the facsimile edition, referring to the "ghastly hill of Cannon Street", make the Eugenides' assault much more explicit. These lines were not published in the final version, although the episode can still be inferred by a close reading with just the published lines. The facsimile edition has the lines:
(Philomela is raped)
Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
. . .
Asked me . . .
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.
. . .
(Typist is raped)
. . .
(Narrator envisions himself as Tiresias, observing the typist rape. This is a poetic device to allow the narrator as 'Tiresias' to recall his own rape, saying:
And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed . . . )
. . .
(Typist is observed after the rape)
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone.
"This music crept by me upon the waters"
And along the Strand, and up the ghastly hill of Cannon Street,
Fading at last, behind my flying feet
Cannon Street is now 'ghastly' because something makes him recall his rape by Eugenides (perhaps some music heard along the Strand that was heard during the rape), as he runs away from the Cannon Street Hotel where the incident took place.
-- Tom --
P.S. For those who think The Waste Land is (at least partly) autobiographical, I quote these remarks from B.C. Southham, "A guide to the selected poems of T. S,. Eliot", sixth edition (p170):
The events described here actually happened. John Peale Bishop reported: 'Mr Eugenides actually turned up at Lloyds with his pocket full of currants and asked Eliot to spend a weekend with him for no nice reasons . . .'
Years later Eliot told an inquirer that while working in the City he had in fact received such an invitation from an unshaven man from Smyrna with currants in his pockets.
Date: Sun, 9 May 2010 13:51:47 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides
To: [log in to unmask]
I think you are not clear because the text is not definitive. It could be any or all of these. What is known is that he is a merchant with dried fruit and that the proposition--at that time--involved a place known for gay encounters. Eliot claimed not to have been thinking of that, but then he said many things at many times, one being that he was only one reader of his own work. The text still says what does regardless of whether he was somehow totally unaware of those connotations (probably pretty unlikely), and the text only reports the encounter, not the meaning. How can one assert absolutely who misjudges or if anyone does?Nancy>>> Terry Traynor 05/09/10 12:52 PM >>>
In the exchange below, I'm not clear about who is supposed to be doing the misjudgement. Is it that:a) Mr. Eugenides misjudges the narrator in thinking that a stranger would want to spend a weekend with him?b) The narrator misjudges Mr. Eugenides in thinking that Mr. Eugenides is propositioning him?c) The reader misjudges the text in not realizing that Mr. Eugenides is propositioning the narrator?> the change in languages, the misjudgement of a stranger's> interest on spending a weekend with him,> possibly as a failure of adaptation, everything about Eugenides> says he is displaced and trying to prevail in a foreign culture.> Why do you say there is a "misjudgement" of a stranger's interest> on spending a weekend with the narrator? What in the text says> that Mr. Eugenides is not propositioning the narrator when he asks> him to lunch at the Cannon Street Hotel followed by a weekend at> the Metropole?Terry
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