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Ask Eliot: I was quoting him.



>>> Chokh Raj 09/10/11 10:13 AM >>>
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 fragments
from his "ruins" from which he seeks light for a lasting peace. 

Yes, 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.
Hieronymquotations. 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 positive tone, but then
that's what the lines say."

A 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 
>