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And this was the follow to Arwin's response to Guy's first post:

*Arwin,*
*
*
*Thanks for your response to my post. You seem to begin to catch on to at*
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*least some of what I was saying (e.g., lion & fox) toward the end of your*
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*various asservations, so I will limit my comments to a couple of your
earlier*
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*remarks.*
*
*
*>>...You have not yet picked up, I think, on the structural parallels
between*
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*>>Bleistein and Burbank...*
*
*
*I thought I had noticed them. Without repeating myself, let me just say
this.*
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*The poem is set in or initiated by a “mask”--”Tra-la-la-la...” and*
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*(especially) Marsten’s mask (epigraph) -- in the city of masks, at
carnival,*
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*in the city of carnival (latter day Rio & New Orleans
quasi-octoberfests not*
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*withstanding). It is a mask. The most obvious and initially important*
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*masks in this mask are: “Burbank with a Baedecker” and “Bleistein with a*
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*cigar.” Notice the title of the poem, and, especially, the colon in the*
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*title. The colon is important. This is a pretty clear instance of what you*
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*would call, I think, a “structural parallel,” although I did not recall
your*
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*noticing it in your reading, which actually buries it. (Remember, I had*
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*replied to Isaac Gewirtz’ post, in which he had collapsed the title of the*
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*poem “Burbank with a Cigar”--well, with all these masks, who can tell?*
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*Perhaps I was too tongue in cheek....) In any case, some kind of*
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**equivalence* is indicated of these masks, even and especially in the
title.*
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*I made some suggestions about this equivalence in my post.*
*
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*Not to repeat what said there, I will here note only, first, that Burbank*
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*(perhaps as American as “Sir Ferdinand Klein” is every European thing
else)*
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*with his Baedecker is naive and ignorant. Without the Baedecker he is
lost,*
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*he doesn’t know what he is looking at or what is going on or where he
is, or*
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*anything.... Yet he is trying (he has the Baedecker...) He is, also,*
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*“innocent.” Just about everyone, whether or not they can tell an allusion*
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*from a metaphor, has pointed to this “innocence” in connection with the*
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*Princess. I merely drew attention to the question who or what is this*
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*Princess? (One might consider more carefully the story of St. Sebastian in*
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*this connection.)*
*
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*And, Bleistein with his cigar is worldly wise. If he is not an “innocent”*
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*(like Burbank), neither is he naive and ignorant. No fool he. But, can he*
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*float at all on these “wine-dark seas” or fly like the phoenix & turtle
dove?*
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*His name means “Lead Stone.” Will he sink the boat? Yet, his palms are*
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*“turned out.” If he is not innocent, neither is he simply guilty; I wonder*
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*whether is he asking for something, or apologizing for himself or his
lofty,*
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*ridiculous (scandalous?) vision? Has the Princess any interest in him, in*
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*every Western man merely as such? Look at the physical description of*
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*Bleistein in the 4th stanza: is he dead?*
*
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*Burbank and Bleistein are not the only masks in the poem, Arwin.
Perhaps the*
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*most important is the almost silent one -- the gondolier who suddenly
appears*
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*(*in Venice*) as “the boatman” (!) in the sixth stanza (ad fin),
preparing the*
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*seventh. Burbank had come across a little bridge (“crossed the bar” in
other*
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*poems) in the first stanza; is this 6th stanza boatman now the poet?
(We note*
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*quickly in passing that he of course does not appear *only*in Venice:*
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*“Bleistein” and “furs” are also imperial London: the way of Venice &
her great*
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*empire is the way also of London and ultimately of “the sepulchral
city,” &c,*
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*cf. stanza 6, ad init: Gibbon).*
*
*
*>>...For Canaletto does little more than paint aesthetically idealistic*
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*>>pictures of Venice... *
*
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*Arwin, read the fifth quatrain of the poem and think what you are
saying. Try*
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*to imagine the various perspectives displayed & conveyed there.
Canaletto’s*
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*vision of heaven on earth, of the city of man as the perfection of man’s*
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*art--the *aesthetically idealistic,* all it stands for, and everything
related*
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*to it (the “pathology of rhetoric” and whatever else) is what is up for
grabs*
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*here.*
*
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*>>The idea that the eye belongs to Bleistein comes from structural*
***paralellism: "saggy bending of the knees" vs "a lustreless,
protrusive***
*eye." The other is grammatico-semantic necessity - there is no other*
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*character introduced to whom the eye can be attributed to, so the natural*
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*thing to do is to attribute the eye to Bleistein. Should you be interested*
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*in studying late 19th century, early twentieth century anti-semitism, you*
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*would soon recognise that linking the appearance of a Jew to "the
Decent of*
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*Man" was a quite common and predictable phenomenon.>>*
*
*
*Not a chance. Let’s just face it: the idea (which is of course not new)
comes*
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*from sloppy, inattentive reading, which is surely "quite common and*
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*predictable" enough with or without bad faith or any ideological
blinders. *
*
*
*Look at the eight quatrains of the poem. Forget you ever heard of Henry
James*
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*or Darwin or anyone else, and merely note that the first four quatrains
are*
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*independent. They are related to each other, surely, but they are also
self-*
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*contained. Gramatically, they all end in periods. *
*
*
*Much might be said of them, and needs to be said, but for our immediate*
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*purposes, it is more than enough merely to compare them formally to the
last*
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*four quatrains. These last four, unlike the first four, are closely*
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*interconnected, as you say, *grammatico-semantically*. They go
together, and,*
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*as I have tried to indicate, their theme is “Perspective” and “Decline”
of the*
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*city of man. *
*
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*The 5th quatrain provides the anchor or rock of the 6th
(“time/Declines.” look*
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*at the quatrains); the 6th flows into the 7th (“smiles,/ Princess....);
and*
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*the seventh provides the anchor or rock of the last (“Sir
Ferdinand/Klein.”)*
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*See? To say no more, the “protozoic slime”--primoridality--goes with the*
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*“seven [alleged] laws” of immortal art. But, are these seven laws enough*
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*to attain & obtain what is sought? (They are a little “romantic,” eh? That*
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*is, according to Eliot, they escape rather than master the real.) Can it*
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*really be attained & obtained? *
*
*
*Return to the opening of the poem and look at some of the questions I
raised*
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*in the earlier post--e.g., whether the Princess is ascending or
descending.*
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*If she is not merely Cleopatra/Babylon--which, we all know, she may be,
&c--or*
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*if, in other words, the “small hotel” (stanza 1) is the church (cf.
Hebrews*
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*11:13-16) is the Princess then ascending now with Klein to heaven
(i.e., to*
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*above or beyond “the axletree” stanza 3)? Or, what is the same thing,*
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*descending with him to the Jew who is much solider even than lead stone
and*
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*who is “underneath the lot” (stanza 6)? Do you see? These alpha & omega*
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*places there above & beyond & beneath at the extremes of the
waterstair, like*
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*Venice-London *here*, are the same place... *
*
*
*Get it?*
*
*
*To return to the fourth stanza and the description of Bleistein, I can
only*
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*say, with due respect, that the “structural parallelism” to which you
appeal*
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*is as illusory as it silly. You are not thinking or reading the poem but*
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*stacking your own baggage all over it. Where’s your Baedecker? Look at
these*
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*lines:*
*
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*But this or such [what has gone before in stanzas 1-3] was Bleistein’s
way:*
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*a saggy bending at the knees*
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*and elbows, with the palms turned out [cf. "monkey" in the epigraph],*
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*Chicago Semite Viennese. *
*
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*Now, e.g., these:*
*
*
*Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees*
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*Letting his arms hang down to laugh,*
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*The zebra stripes along his jaw*
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*Swelling to maculate giraffe.*
*
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*The poet is at the same occasion or place in each instance: here his
ironic-*
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*comical self among the nightingales singing near the Convent of the Sacred*
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*Heart. The former, his common-everyman self confronting the “aesthetic
ideal*
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*on earth” in concert with imperialism is the second poem in the 1920*
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*collection (an intellectual autobiography). Eliot is not the same thing as*
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*Adams and James; he has his own, different cigar. The latter (“Sweeney
Among*
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*the Nightingales”) is the closing poem. (Emerson, the American so
interested*
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*in transcendence and the world-soul, &c, had not seen and knew not the
breadth*
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*and depth of “Sweeny”--“Sweeny Erect,” the poem following “Burbank:
Bleistein”*
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*in the collection.)*
*
*
*Hope this clarifies some of my earlier remarks, beside which these
comments*
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*should be set. Thanks for your reply.*
*

*
*Guy Story Brown, Dallas & LA*