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Thanks Jerome. I like what you have to say and pretty much agree with it.
An added dimension of my question, which I probably didn't make clear, is the
perceptual effect of repeatable, removable type. Very different from ancient
text, or medieval manuscript. It had a very powerful effect on the learning
processes almost overnight. Reading the Bible in such type would be very
different, perhaps more abstract, clinical &c. So I'm wondering what effect
those new perceptual habits might have had, as time progressed, and a new
sophisticated approach to writing developed. Would those new habits try to
impose similar values on the reading of old manuscripts &c.

I'm groping for clarity on the issue. I just have a sense that the idea of a
definitive text is suspect, esp. vis-a-vis pre-type text.

Cheers,
Peter


Quoting Jerome Walsh <[log in to unmask]>:

> Peter, 
> 
> 
> I really wouldn't hazard any opinion on the subject; intellectual history
> after 537 bce is out of my league <half-a-grin>.  The one thing I definitely
> do NOT think is true (no matter how attractive it may seem superficially) is
> that the "desire for a definitive, univocal reading" was a reflex of the
> church's (or churches') claims to authority in matters dogmatic.  That
> synergy could (and did, unfortunately) develop only when a church accepted
> the premise of Enlightenment criticism that there wasa "definitive, univocal
> reading"; but in its origins Enlightenment criticism was--or so it seems to
> me--a rejectionof ecclesiastical authority to impose dogmatic constraints on
> textual interpretation.  It seems to me that an explanation for the
> Enlightenment's love affair with definitive, univocal reading is more to be
> sought in its attitudes toward "scientific objectivity" and "reason," and,
> perhaps, with a lingering inability to conceive of the biblical text
>  asa literary artifact, rather than a historical or theological resource. 
> If it is the latter, it must be interpreted to yield a [definitive, univocal]
> historical or theological "truth"; if it is ("merely"?) the former, then, by
> Enlightenment canons, it is of negligible importance when compared with the
> Greek and Latin darlings of Enlightenment appreciation.
> 
> I think I am talking WAY out of my ambit of solid knowledge here.  I expect
> those who know to set me straight.
> 
> Jerry Walsh
> 
> 
> 
> 
> >________________________________
> >From: Peter Montgommery <[log in to unmask]>
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 6:33 PM
> >Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation  (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> Quartets'):  a PS
> >
> >Would you say, Jerome, that the desire for a definitive, univocal reading
> was
> >the result of projecting then current book reading standards on the past,
> with
> >people's noses too far into the book to notice that there actually had been
> >quite a bit of evolution and development going on, which preceded and was
> more
> >sophisticated than the few centuries of European print development?
> >
> >Cheers,
> >Peter
> >
> >
> >
> >Quoting Jerome Walsh <[log in to unmask]>:
> >
> >> I should have said that most EARLY modern biblical critical work happened
> >> outside the churches.  By the early twentieth century, most of the
> mainline
> >> churches had accepted the general principles of historical criticism. 
> >> Official Roman Catholicism was one of the last of the mainstream churches
> in
> >> the west to do so, with Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943).
> >> 
> >> Jerry Walsh
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> >________________________________
> >> >From: Jerome Walsh <[log in to unmask]>
> >> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 9:46 AM
> >> >Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation  (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> Quartets')
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Peter (et al),
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >As an outsider, I can't speak for the history of literary criticism, but
> >> this is certainly the case in biblical criticism.  Modern (read
> >> "post-Enlightenment") biblical critical work happened, for the most part,
> >> outside the churches (it frightened the dogmatically-oriented
> establishments
> >> too much to be tolerated inside)--and its goal was recapturing the
> "original"
> >> meaning of the text.  Thus it understood the text as univocal, and
> >> criticism's task as reconstructing, to the degree possible, that univocal
> >> "original" meaning.  The Holy Grail of the historical critical quest was
> a
> >> presumed "author's intention."  (Biblical studies, of course, soon found
> >> that task far more daunting than other literary fields, since the extant
> >> TEXT--and therefore the putative "authors" and "intentions"--fell apart
> into
> >> sources, oral traditions, etc., as soon as historically-aware hands were
> put
> >> to it.)
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Contemporary biblical studies (since, say, the last third of the
> twentieth
> >> century) now reckons the term "meaning" as having several referents, only
> one
> >> of which is "author's intention."  Biblical hermeneutics would also
> >> acknowledge the interaction of reader and text as a locus for the
> generation
> >> of "meaning."  In this sense, naturally, "meaning" is no longer a
> >> presumptively "objective" datum to be "retrieved," but a subjectively
> >> influenced project whose objective validity (I avoid the word
> "correctness")
> >> is measured by its ability to account for the brute phenomena of the
> text. 
> >> One could also point to a third region of the hermeneutical spectrum,
> namely
> >> "hermeneutics of advocacy" (as some in my field call it), where the
> >> readerpole of the author-text-reader trajectory dominates.  From this
> >> perspective, "meaning" is less an adequate, subjective accounting for the
> >> phenomena of the text than it is a quest to identify the effects the text
> has
> >> had and
> >>  continues to have on society, no matter whether those effects arise from
> >> insightful reading or from superficial.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >At the risk of blowing my own horn, I will claim that I have tried to
> >> explain this much more clearly in Old Testament Narrative: A Guide to
> >> Interpretation (pp. 1-9).
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Jerry Walsh
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >>________________________________
> >> >>From: Peter Montgommery <[log in to unmask]>
> >> >>To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 5:35 AM
> >> >>Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation  (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> Quartets')
> >> >>
> >> >>Sorry to be back tracking, so to speak, but my regular computer is in
> the
> >> shop.
> >> >>I hope to be interjecting very selectively.
> >> >>
> >> >>Was there not a time in late 19th, early 20th century when there was
> >> believed to
> >> >>be a definitive reading (not aloud) of a work, and one of the tasks of
> >> >>lit discussion was to approach as closely to
> >>  that reading as poss. Variations
> >> >>had to be very carefully defended.
> >> >>
> >> >>I do seem to remember that that was one of the motivating factors when
> lit
> >> >>discussions happened in mags and newspapers before the discussions
> migrated
> >> >>primarily to the academy with the advent of publish or perish.
> >> >>
> >> >>Peter
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>Quoting Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>:
> >> >>
> >> >>> Who is "one"? If "one" is biased, "one" will see the "genuine" as the
> >> >>> biased (if there is a single "genuine").
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> For example, I once had dinner at a table with and rode in a car with
> >> >>> Cleanth Brooks to a performance of Murder in the Cathedral. He said of
> >> >>> deconstruction critics, "if these people are right, I have wasted my
> >> >>> life." I think he was quite wrong and told him they were also doing
> >> >>> close reading, as he had, but that is not the point. The
> >>  point is that
> >> >>> he was deeply certain of a way of reading that, he felt, had to be the
> >> >>> right way or all understanding was lost. "One" might call that bias.
> In
> >> >>> fact, he certainly created a framework for a way to read the poem that
> >> >>> many found satisfactory---and many did not. I think at the time it was
> >> >>> extremely persuasive and it remains valuable. But I do not tthink it
> can
> >> >>> any longer be fully satisfactory or certainly any final statement--it
> >> >>> takes too much for granted about the notes and simply does not take
> into
> >> >>> account what he could not, of course, have known--all those new
> sources
> >> >>> of knowledge.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I do not see how you can find a place on which to stand that will give
> >> >>> you such transcendent insight as to know the genuine from the biased
> in
> >> >>> very diverse serious critics rather than, say, explicitly
> narrowly-based
> >> >>> arguments insisting on a single
> >>  truth. How your feelings are affected
> >> >>> will not be a logical basis.
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 1:47 PM >>>
> >> >>> Well, I don't rule out the subjective element in my readings. 
> >> >>> But one can certainly make out the genuine from the biased. 
> >> >>> Nonetheless, I shall keep your words in mind. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Thanks,
> >> >>> CR 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 1:32 PM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I think the problem you may have in being "satisfied" is that you
> >> >>> respond to texts on a personal level by its fit with what you feel
> >> >>> already. I am not criticizing; I am stating what you yourself say
> >> >>> regularly. So to
> >>  be satisfied, any reader has to dissociate from a
> >> >>> desired conclusion and decide on the argument itself.
> >> >>> Best,
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 1:29 PM >>>
> >> >>> I have placed an order with my library for two books by Lawrence
> Rainey:
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Revisiting "The Waste Land" 
> >> >>> and
> >> >>> The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Contemporary Prose.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Well, I remember having read both of them a long while back -- and my
> >> >>> impression at the time was that, for all their intelligent labor,
> these
> >> >>> had failed to satisfy me on many counts. All the same, I look forward
> to
> >> >>> reading them again to make sure I have not missed out on anything. I
> >> >>> especially go back to these volumes in the hope of finding some
> >> >>> satisfying elucidation of the closing lines of TWL. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I shall get back with my findings.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>>
> >>  Regards,
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Chokh Raj 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:29 PM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Thank you very much, Nancy. 
> >> >>> Much obliged.
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:12 PM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Try Lawrence Rainey'sRevisiting The Waste Land. It ends on with a
> >> >>> commentary on Brooks. But of course his point--like the one I've been
> >> >>> trying to make--is that there are far too many changed ways of
> >>  reading
> >> >>> to give one alternative. That makes him helpful to you if you really
> >> >>> want to revisit.
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 11:58 AM >>>
> >> >>> All this does not elucidate the lines in question in any manner
> >> >>> whatsoever --
> >> >>> let alone whether Weston and 'Notes' hold good or not.
> >> >>> I'm looking for an alternative reading that improves upon Brooks. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 11:38 AM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> The point is that there are many "lines," not one. The poem ends with
> a
> >> >>> series of "lines" that are not simply pessimistic but apocalleaves off
> >> "Om,"
> >> >>> which does seem
> >>  to raise a significant question.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Part of "what we know" is that the reading by Brooks assumes that the
> >> >>> Weston story is a "scaffold" on which the poem is placed and that
> >> >>> therefore we see a pattern throughout of two kinds of life and two
> kinds
> >> >>> of death revealed by the Weston story. But Weston's "pattern" only
> >> >>> appears, if at all, in section V; Eliot later repudiated the notes and
> >> >>> the fact that he sent a generation off on a wild goose chase after all
> >> >>> those allusions. He also said it was just his own "relief of a
> personal
> >> >>> and wholly insignificant grouse against life"; we now know far more
> >> >>> about his marriage and the profound impact on him of the War as well
> as
> >> >>> the implications of what was then defined as "neurasthenia" (his
> >> >>> diagnosis in 1921); we know that the poem was not (and this is a fact)
> >> >>> written as a unified work but was carved out of a mass of many
> >>  parts
> >> >>> written over several years--a few bits as early as 1913, and that the
> >> >>> organization of those parts was deeply indebted to Pound. All of this
> is
> >> >>> post-Brooks, whose famous article came out in 1937.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> This is just a slight list from memory, but if it is not enlightening
> to
> >> >>> you, I suggest you read a great deal of later critical work other than
> >> >>> what reinforces very early readings. And that includes Eliot's own
> later
> >> >>> views.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> And a more important point is that the poem is not an artifact that
> only
> >> >>> a few can see truly and that is not open to any alternative reading,
> >> >>> despite the fact that from its publication it has evoked contrasting
> and
> >> >>> conflicting readings. Just go through the early reviews in the
> >> >>> collection edited by Jewel Brooker to see the broad range from the
> >> >>> beginning. 
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj
> >>  09/10/11 10:53 AM >>>
> >> >>> Okay, let me be precise and to the point.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> The point here is the closing lines of The Waste Land. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I'm curious to know how the much more that we now know modify/improve
> >> >>> upon Brooks' reading of these lines.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I shall be obliged if anyone throws any light on the subject. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Regards,
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Chokh Raj 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 10:11 AM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> nil nisi divinum stabile est; caetera fumus 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 'The Waste Land' - it's a story of the human spirit. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> As for "we know too much more than we did when Brooks wrote," 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> "Where is the
> >>  wisdom we have lost in knowledge?" 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Cheers,
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 9:49 AM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> What it evokes in you is not what it evokes in everyone. I suggest you
> >> >>> read some views that are not reinforcements of what you already think,
> >> >>> including Eliot's own later statements about the poem.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> No text is entirely subjective for the reader or entirely an objective
> >> >>> thing (a "verbal icon") made by the author: it involves a
> relationship,
> >> >>> and not that of only one or a few. As I said already, we know too much
> >> >>> more than we did when Brooks wrote to take it as final.
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 11:40 PM >>>
> >> >>> What is "simply fact" is only a half truth.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> The truth of poetry also lies in what it evokes. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> "Those are pearls that were his eyes."
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> CR 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 11:00 PM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I know Broooks's view. It is one of many. But my point is that none of
> >> >>> this is simply fact; it is interpretation.
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 10:28 PM >>>
> >> >>> London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina 
> >> >>> Quando fiam ceu
> >>  chelidon—O swallow swallow 
> >> >>> Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie 
> >> >>> These fragments I have shored against my ruins
> >> >>> Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe. 
> >> >>> Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Shantih shantih shantih 
> >> >>> -----
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> While the civilization is crumbling, the poet has "saved" some
> >> fragmenYes,
> >> >>> this is only 'one' interpretation of the closing lines but, to me,
> >> >>> the most valid so far.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> I hold fast to Cleanth Brooks' interpretation of the closing llines
> >> >>> (quoted above) and oppose it to yours which chooses to look only at
> the
> >> >>> negative aspect of things -- "violence, chaos and murder" -- closing
> >> >>> eyes to what positive might emerge out of them, so as to make what
> Yeats
> >> >>> aptly called "a vineyard of the curse". 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Here's the relevant excerpt from Brooks: 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>>
> >>  -----
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> The bundle of quotations with which the poem ends has a very definite
> >> >>> relation to the general theme of the poem and to several of the major
> >> >>> symbols used in the poem. Before Arnaut leaps back into the refining
> >> >>> fire of Purgatory with joy he says: "I am Arnaut who weep and go
> >> >>> singing; contrite I see my past folly, and joyful I see before me the
> >> >>> day I hope for. Now I pray you by that virtue which guides you to the
> >> >>> summit of the stair, at times be mindful of my pain." This theme is
> >> >>> carried forward by the quotation from Pervigilium Veneris: "When shall
> I
> >> >>> be like the swallow." The allusion is also connected with the
> Philomela
> >> >>> symbol. (Eliot's note on the passage indicates this clearly.) The
> sister
> >> >>> of Philomela was changed into a swallow as Philomela was changed into
> a
> >> >>> nightingale. The protagonist is asking therefore when shall the
> spring,
> >> >>> the
> >>  time of love, return, but also when will he be reborn out of his
> >> >>> sufferings, and--with the special meaning which the symbol takes on
> from
> >> >>> the preceding Dante quotation and from the earlier contexts already
> >> >>> discussed--he is asking what is asked at the end of one of the minor
> >> >>> poems: "When will Time flow away."
> >> >>> The quotation from "El Desdichado," as Edmund Wilson has pointed out,
> >> >>> indicates that the protagonist of the poem has been disinherited,
> robbed
> >> >>> of his tradition. The ruined tower is perhaps also the Perilous
> Chapel,
> >> >>> "only the wind's home," and it is also the whole tradition in decay.
> The
> >> >>> protagonist resolves to claim his tradition and rehabilitate it.
> >> >>> The quotation from The Spanish Tragedy--"Why then Ile fit you.
> >> >>> Hieronymo's mad againe"--is perhaps the most puzzling of all these
> >> >>> quotations. It means, I believe, this: The protagonist's acceptance of
> >> >>>
> >>  what is in reality the deepest truth will seem to the present world mere
> >> >>> madness. ("And still she cried . . . 'Jug jug' to dirty ears.")
> >> >>> Hieronymo in the play, like Hamlet, was "mad" for a purpose. The
> >> >>> protagonist is conscious of the interpretation which will be placed on
> >> >>> the words which follow--words which will seem to many apparently
> >> >>> meaningless babble, but which contain the oldest and most permanent
> >> >>> truth of the race:
> >> >>> Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
> >> >>> Quotation of the whole context from which the line is taken confirms
> >> >>> this interpretation. Hieronymo, asked to write a play for the court's
> >> >>> entertainment, replies:
> >> >>> Why then, I'll fit you; say no more.
> >> >>> When I was young, I gave my mind
> >> >>> And plied myself to fruitless poetry;
> >> >>> Which though it profit the professor naught
> >> >>> Yet it is passing pleasing to the world.
> >> >>> He sees that the play will give
> >>  him the opportunity he has been seeking
> >> >>> to avenge his son's murder. Like Hieronymo, the protagonist in the
> poem
> >> >>> has found his theme; what he is about to perform is not "fruitless."
> >> >>> After this repetition of what the thunder said comes the benediction:
> >> >>> Shantih Shantih Shantih
> >> >>> -----
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/wasteland.htm
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Nancy Gish 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 7:41 PM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: 'The Waste Land' - a recitation (was Re: vis-a-vis 'Four
> >> >>> Quartets')
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> That is an (not "the") interpretation of "Shantih." But the lines
> above
> >> >>> that are about violence, chaos, and
> >>  murder. Moreover, Cleo Kearnes has
> >> >>> pointed out that the full ending of the Upanishad starts with "Om,"
> and
> >> >>> Eliot omits it (though we know he studied them). 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> So you are free to interpret one line as shaping all the rest, but
> that
> >> >>> interpretation is not "what the lines say": it is one reading of very
> >> >>> mixed lines.
> >> >>> Nancy
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> >>> Chokh Raj 09/09/11 7:20 PM >>>
> >> >>> apropos TWL's ending 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Peter Montgomery wrote: "They end it with a very poA valuable
> >> observation,
> >> >>> Peter. Thanks. 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Regards,
> >> >>> CR
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> From: Peter Montgommery 
> >> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> >>> Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 2:07 AM
> >> >>> Subject: Re: vis-a-vis 'Four Quartets'
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Interesting to see that presentation
> >>  again. 
> >> >>> They end it with a very positive tone, but then that's what the lines
> >> >>> say.
> >> >>> I suppose one could render them in an ironic way, but that would seem
> >> >>> rather forced.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> P.
> >> >>> 
> >> >>> Quoting Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>: 
> >> >>> > 
> >> >>> > THE WASTE LAND - read by Edward Fox, Eileen Atkins, and Michael
> Gough
> >> >>> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1TXBzw98ng 
> >> >>> > 
> >> >>> 
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >
> >
> >