From: Rickard A. Parker <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 7:18 PM
Subject: Re: The Jew in Eliot's poetry (anti-semitism and objective correlative)
On 10/13/2011 2:55 PM, Chokh Raj wrote:
> Certainly, Rick. They all meld into one.
> But all this is too obvious, for all to see, and censure.
> What, however, interests me is the etiology of Eliot's anti-semitism.
> Some of it is obvious in the long history of social prejudice.
> However, there seem to be larger, and not so obvious, contexts that lie
> behind Eliot's anti-Semitic stance.
You may have noticed that I've added a few words to the subject line of
the post. For some time I've had a feeling that Eliot's use of Jewish
figures in his poetry was an objective correlative. I haven't felt any
great desire to explore this further. Now seems to be a good time to
bring it up for the list's attention though.
As a reminder, here is Eliot discussing the objective correlative:
The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an
"objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation,
a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion;
such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory
experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.
I did an internet search using the terms
eliot anti-semitism "objective correlative"
I narrowed the large list of webpages listed down to a few where
there was a discussion of a use of objective correlative that made
Eliot appear anti-semitic when he could be using the reader's
anti-semitism to do his work. Three of the cases below come from
Antisemitism and modernity: innovation and continuity
By Hyam Maccoby
As a symbolist poet, Eliot required, as the 'objective correlative' of
his sense of cultural decay, an image or symbol which would strike at
the recesses of his own and his reader's unconscious mind, and the
archetypical image of the Jew was singularly fitted to do just this.
Constructions of "the Jew" in English literature and society: racial ...
By Bryan Cheyette
It is in the discursive context of Eliot's attack on the disorderly
'"slither" of Romantic individualism', that 'the jew' became a necessary
'objective correlative' for that which is inexact and uncategorizable.
Differentials: poetry, poetics, pedagogy
By Marjorie Perloff
Reluctant to write openly about evils he could not quite put his finger
on, he invented an elaborate objective correlative based on stereotypes
of Jewish or "Oriental" or female behavior.
Some reflections about T. S. Eliot's anti-semitism
by Junichi Saito - 1997
Some critics argue that the Jew is intended as a symbol of debased
morality in human society. It may well be said that Eliot wants his
contemporaries to share a sense of crisis at a time when when Europeans
at large were turning their back on the Christian Church. Might it be
fair to say that Eliot used the Jew as the "objective correlative" to
evoke in his contemporaries a sense that Christian morality is lapsing