The Jew in Eliot's Poetry
 
Incidentally, "the one-eyed merchant" in TWL could be an allusion to the jew in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. He is "one-eyed" presumably because of his exclusively mercenary character. And he is devoid of the other eye, presumably the eye of 'faith'.
 
IMHO, it is a particular section of the jewish race that lends itself to satire in Eliot's poetry -- the type portrayed in 'Burbank' and 'Gerontion'. So that, excepting this specific section of the jews, Eliot treats both 'Gentile' and 'Jew' at par, as in his admonition in the closing lines of 'Death by Water' in TWL. Evidently, the Unitarian clergy in 'The Hippopotamus' and 'Mr Eliot's Sunday Morning Service' are made as much an object of satire as the jews devoid of 'faith'.
 
In 'The Hippopotamus', Eliot comes down hard on the Unitarian clergy of New England for having strayed away from the high ideals of its office. He realizes their degradation in terms of gross animality. The clergy of this debased chuch combines in it the sins of the slothful, the gluttonous, the avaricious, the prodigal, and the carnal. (cf. Dante's Inferno)
 
Likewise, 'Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service' is a scathing attack on the religious deception perpetrated by the Unitarian clergy on the hapless laity. Here, the epigraph from 'The Jew of Malta' alludes to two friars who, tempted by the love of lucre, undertake to absolve a jew of the ghastly sin of poisoning a convent of nuns. They are, however, duped in this as the jew, knowing them to be 'religious caterpillars', merely plays on their pecuniary vulnerability. In the fifth stanza of the poem, the 'sable presbyters' pass 'a gaping collection plate among the pews', peddling the word like 'a catchpenny commodity'. The young sinners with red and pimpled faces, a mark of their dissolute living, wait with expiatory pennies to purchase the remission of their sins. In the last stanza, the presbyters are likened to Sweeney, the vulgarian, in the bathtub.
 
CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 5:49 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot and literary culture

a lament vis-a-vis the demise of the culture
 
"He who was living is now dead
 We who were living are now dying
 With a little patience"
 
"here is the one-eyed merchant"
 
"I do not find / The Hanged Man."
 
-----
 
the pen of the scribes is in vain
http://www.bartleby.com/108/24/8.html
 
a resonance
 
CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2011 10:17 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot and literary culture

T.S. Eliot and the Demise of the Literary Culture
Joseph Epstein
8 Nov 2010
 
http://site.douban.com/widget/notes/134616/note/99639279/
 
Compels you to sit back and take note.
 
CR