Print

Print


On 10/19/2011 11:13 AM, Ken Armstrong wrote:
> On the other hand, if I had somehow to perch in one of my windows,
> whether at home or in my office (in an old reasonably well appointed
> post office), I'd have no choice but to squat. On the third hand, after
> thirty plus years in my office and 22 in my house, not even once could
> you have found me squatting in a window. Wasn't even tempted. So do you
> think Gerontion's landlord was a flesh and blood person squatting in a
> window? Is that a custom in Brussels or London?

I see Perloff's argument as being a valid reading (but I haven't taken
it as my reading.) The landlord would be a private symbol of Eliot's
outsideness, an uncomfortable position.

I can't remember seeing either a flesh and blood person or a symbol
squatting in a window though I have seen cymbals squinting through a
window.

Off topic for Eliot but on topic for squatting is this exchange that I
had many years ago in New Zealand.  I was in a pub on the North Island
having a conversation with a local when he pulled out a
pre-decimalization shilling still circulating as a 10 cent piece.

Perhaps it's best to take a look at the coin before reading further.
http://s.ecrater.com/stores/16898/46085a95b294a_16898b.jpg

He showed me the depiction on the reverse of the coin of a Maori warrior
crouching with his weapon and asked "Do you know why he is crouched like
that?" I had been in NZ for many months and I was quite familiar with the
coin but I hadn't given any thought about the warrior so I had to give
the answer sought for: "No, why?"  I was expecting to learn some cultural
fact or how the warrior would thrush upward to strike an enemy.
I didn't expect the only answer proper to give to a foreigner:

"There's no room for him to stand."

Regards,
    Rick Parker



> Rickard A. Parker wrote:
>> On 10/15/2011 8:44 AM, Tom Colket wrote:
>>> Nancy and Ken,
>>>
>>> I do not have a full reading of Gerontion, but maybe I can contribute to
>>> a discussion.
>>>
>>> I've been thinking more about these lines :
>>>
>>> -----------------------------------------------------------
>>> My house is a decayed house,
>>> And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
>>> Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
>>> Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.
>>> -----------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>
>> I'm pretty far behind the conversation now with what I had intended to
>> send earlier but with Ken's posting of
>> > Just to highlight a couple of his points about Burbank:Bleistein, the
>> > poem is a poem of masks, with Eliot playing the roles of the two main
>> > characters who are if effect opposite sides of the same (banker's)
>> coin.
>> this is not coming too late.
>>
>> One of the links I sent in my post about the Jew being a objective
>> correlative was to a page in in book by Marjorie Perloff.
>> Differentials: poetry, poetics, pedagogy
>> http://books.google.com/books?id=dX1wu6vA1SMC&pg=PA30
>> In that section Perloff had spent about two pages discussing Eliot's
>> being a foreigner in England and not feeling at home in America. She
>> saw Eliot using the landlord as a symbol of himself. To quote a bit:
>> We see the speaker threatened by a "Jew" who, far from being a
>> successful grasping landlord, squeezing money out of poor old
>> Gerontion, is himself a squatter, a victim of poverty, misery,
>> and disease, a figure who in Julius's words, "becomes what he expels"
>> Squatting on the window sill, he belongs neither inside the "decayed
>> house," nor can he escape its precincts.
>>
>> As I think about this I can see why TSE didn't put the Jew in a
>> doorway, too easy to pass through, and why the Jew is *squatting* in
>> the window, it's an uncomfortable position.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Rick Parker
>>
>