"Heterogeneous", that is. - CR

--- On Mon, 5/3/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: TS Eliot: The Metaphysical Poets
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, May 3, 2010, 11:23 PM

I'm afraid there is some confusion here. If you go back to my post, you'll find that I purposely left out of account Eliot's notion of "unified sensibility". It is this, I guess, what Nancy had in mind in making her replies. The focus of my post, instead, was on the unity imposed by the poet on hetrogeneous material or disparate experience -- what Eliot calls "amalgamating disparate experience".

--- On Mon, 5/3/10, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

// Unity of what? //  Eliot was talking about sensibility--not simply a notion of the form of a poem.  "Dissociation" is drawn from the psychological condition discussed by Pierre Janet and William James, and a common clinical term than and now.  It influenced Vittoz, who treated Eliot.  Eliot was so drawn to Dante in large part because he thought Dante was the last poet to be able to write when there was what he considered a world in which there was unity of thought and feeling.  So the idea that TWL must have what came to be called "organic form" does not follow from any narrowly defined or limited aesthetic ideal. 
So "unity" does mean "unity"; it just is not simply a notion of poetic form: it's a complex term applicable to many things and concepts.  I suggest, if you want a discussion, you read my article, since to explain it would be to rewrite all that here.  Simply announcing that your notion of it stands because it has been said does not follow either.

>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 05/03/10 10:17 PM >>> 
Well, of course unity is not new with the new critics or with their 
immediate predecessors, and you haven't said anything to indicate what 
you do think it is, so for now that "unity" does mean "unity" seems very 

Ken A 

Nancy Gish wrote: 
> Actually, it's not safe to say. It is not just the notion of an 
> aesthetic unity in the sense of New Critics--who came slightly later 
> and were influenced by Eliot but not these sources. 
> N 
> >>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 05/03/10 5:37 PM >>> 
> Nancy Gish wrote: 
> > What he means by this is extremely complicated, and it draws on many 
> > sources. I traced the terminology through his texts over several 
> > years, and the origins of his terms can be demonstrated. 
> > 
> > If anyone is interested, it is in the book with Cassandra. 
> Nancy, 
> I'll have to take a look. But for now, when he says "unity," it must 
> be safe to say that he means "unity," telescoping and Diana's statement 
> notwithstanding. And esotericisms be as they may, one cannot form a new 
> whole without a unity. The "trick" is to find the unifying element. 
> Ken A 
> > 
> > 
> > >>> Chokh Raj 05/03/10 11:54 AM >>> 
> > Apropos the Metaphysical poets, of their poetic virtues, Eliot takes 
> > note of, in particular, a certain "telescoping of images and 
> > multiplied associations", and a "heterogeneity of material compelled 
> > into unity by the operation of the poet's mind" -- a "put[ting] the 
> > material together again in a new unity". 
> > 
> > In fine, 
> > 
> > "When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is 
> > constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man's 
> > experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in 
> > love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do 
> > with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of 
> > cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming 
> > new wholes. " -- T.S. Eliot, 'The Metaphysical Poets' 
> > 
> > 
> > <> 
> > 
> > refreshing the memory -- 
> > 
> > CR 
> > 
> >