I do think it somewhat futile to attempt to isolate particular themes or meanings or whatever from the multiplicity of meaning thatís TSEís genius.
Meaning is often so personal as to be, in a sense, unique.
For example, how ever can we meaningfully reduce to mere prose such as:-
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
As he put it himself, if we do indeed try,
We had the experience but missed the meaning.
And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form
A set of well-known facts is not mudslinging.† I don't know what brought that up.† Animals are very diverse, in any case, and I don't know that anyone can or does generalize about the "meaning" of copulation for those other than homo sapiens, who are also animals.†Sex without spiritual meaning is a viewpoint held by Eliot.† It is not a fact or a universal view.† It seems to be, however, what is depicted in the typist episode.† Nonetheless, as the "substance of the poem" it seems banal.† A great deal more goes on in the poem than that, and Tiresias in, say, Antigone or Oedipus, is hardly represented as finding it the core of tragedy.† So his participation as both male and female but as having "foresuffered all" seems to me a problem for interpretation rather than a simple scene of crude assault and indifference.††And the typist episode depicts a great deal more than just a casual and crude encounter: it is also about class and the changed roles of women after WWI and a representation of both characters as degraded, coarse, and without any of the context that might offer alternative ways of being.Nancy†
>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 05/12/10 4:47 PM >>>
Nancy Gish wrote:
> Dear Carrol,
> It was, though, Eliot who said that without a spiritual meaning sex
> was no more than the coupling of animals. He didn't, one might note,
> know much about sex or passionate sexual experience--unless maybe long
> after with Valerie. All those pontifications came from someone who
> was still a virgin at 26, married suddenly, had a horrific experience
> of sex, and then took up celibacy.
> So that he called it animals only tells us how he saw it, but it did
> come from him.
All that mudslinging, however, is beside the point. Sex without
spiritual meaning is the point. Without revealing your qualifying
credentials, what is your assessment of it? I'm sticking with human
beings reduced to acting like things, automatons specifically.