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But it is precisely the issue that I am addressing. I'm just saying it's 
larger and more complex than narrowly locating it in the poet. I'm not 
making a negative (ad hominem claim); I'm making a positive claim that 
this is what the issue consists of. I make that positive claim because I 
think it is true. If I didn't make that claim, I would simply be, as it 
were, withholding evidence that I think necessary to understand the 
issue. You or anyone else is free to disagree, but I am not making the 
issue disappear or pretending that there is no issue, but enlarging it.

Nancy Gish wrote:
> The fallacy is simply the addressing of the person rather than the 
> issue. Actually, that is what these do.
> Poets are public figures, and their public words are the basis of 
> valid commentary, including their biography. I am not in a debate with 
> Eliot. Eliot, in later criticism (for example, Yeats) often addressed 
> the poet: analysis, including biography and its impact, is not the 
> same as a debate over meaning.
> Best,
> Nancy
>
> >>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 11/10/11 9:17 AM >>>
> Actually, Nancy, these are not ad hominem in the sense of a logical
> fallacy. Do you think your remarks about the range of Eliot's
> understanding of "human emotion" are ad hominem?
>
> Ken A
>
> Nancy Gish wrote:
> > Since you cannot find them, here they are. Both these comments are
> > generalizations about the kind of person who writes criticism and not
> > about the poet or poetry. They are "to the man" [sic]: that is what it
> > means to write about the other and not the issue. Just FYI. (italics 
> mine)
> > Both state an inadequacy or lack of the correct view (thougth what it
> > has to do with consumerism is unclear) in the critic as a reason for
> > what is assumed to be the true reading.
> > Nancy
> > And not assenting to this may well reflect* much more on the critic
> > *than on the poet/playwright
> > Accompanying this* lack of appreciation *in Eliot criticism for these
> > rather large
> > factors, and possibly a part of it, is* the strain of consumerism it
> > exhibits*, as if creating satisfactory verse or poetry were rather like
> > turning on the hot and cold taps just right to get the most comfortable
> > mixture for the bath water.
> >
> >
> > >>> Peter Montgomery 11/10/11 5:53 AM >>>
> > I have re-read it VERY carefully Ken, and I can find no personal
> > comments at all,
> > just a position with which Nancy chooses to disagree, which is fine. I
> > find
> > the assertion of personal attacks puzzling.
> > Cheers,
> > Peter
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > *From:* Ken Armstrong <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> > *To:* [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> > *Sent:* Wednesday, November 09, 2011 1:24 PM
> > *Subject:* Re: Eliot's 4 English drawing room plays
> >
> > Nancy,
> >
> > As you said in an earlier post, any lister is free to agree or
> > disagree with any other. I would only say that nothing in my
> > message below is meant as ad hominem -- it is meant as observation
> > for consideration. In that vein, I stick by it, because I think
> > it's accurate.
> >
> > Ken A
> >
> > On 11/8/2011 7:58 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >> >>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 11/08/11 4:02 PM >>>
> >> On the other hand, the significant emotion of art was what Eliot was
> >> after, and some points could be raised in defense of his efforts.
> >> *That is not at stake. I was talking about something else. I
> >> think the best work on Eliot's emotion in art is by Charlie
> >> Altieri.*
> >> He was under no constriction to present emotions other than what
> >> he was
> >> interested in.
> >> *No one said he was. The reviewer merely pointed out the limits
> >> of his emotional range. For a contrast, think Shakespeare.*
> >> If his plays were not fully successful, there are other
> >> places to look besides to a deficiency in the poet's appreciation of
> >> human emotions, the claim of which is at best highly problematic
> >> anyhow.
> >> *That's a fine topic, a different one.*
> >>
> >> One large bit of territory to investigate might be what Katherine
> >> Anne
> >> Porter called "the failure of love in the Western world." For the
> >> poet
> >> or artist who perceives that overarching failure, religious
> >> ecstasy or
> >> despair may very well be the proper themes of his poetry/plays.
> >> *That topic has been explored since the first reviews. Discussing
> >> something else is not a failure to know about it or even agree.*
> >> And not assenting to this may well reflect much more on the
> >> critic than on the
> >> poet/playwright. Isn't this something that critics should keep in
> >> mind
> >> and be sensitive to, that there judgments may reveal more about them
> >> than about their alleged subject?
> >> *Ad hominem remarks (and ad feminem) are not arguments, just
> >> name-calling.*
> >> Too, Eliot was trying to revive verse
> >> plays and wrote somewhere (don't remember whether it was about
> >> the plays
> >> or the poetry) about the advantage of having a form delivered
> >> developed
> >> into your poetic hands vs. the difficulties of trying to
> >> (re)establish a
> >> form.
> >> *Also well known: no one denied it.*
> >> I think this is a more promising area in which to look for Eliot's
> >> difficulties than to his appreciation of human emotion.
> >> *By all means, look. Let us know.*
> >> Accompanying this lack of appreciation in Eliot criticism for
> >> these rather large
> >> factors, and possibly a part of it, is the strain of consumerism it
> >> exhibits, as if creating satisfactory verse or poetry were rather
> >> like
> >> turning on the hot and cold taps just right to get the most
> >> comfortable
> >> mixture for the bath water.
> >> *More ad hominem/feminem.*
> >> While I suppose just about everyone would
> >> agree that that is not what creating art is about, I can't help
> >> wondering why then people persist in talking about it that way.
> >> *Perhaps careful reading of a great deal more contemporary
> >> criticism would be illuminating. I don't find myself wondering.*
> >> **
> >> *What I do not understand is why anyone on this list assumes
> >> either that they are experts who can assert truth and others are
> >> somehow utterly absurd, or that we cannot have a civil discussion
> >> without any personal attacks or constant assertions of personal
> >> feeling that lead nowhere.*
> >> Nancy
> >>
> >>
> >> Ken A
> >>
> >> Nancy Gish wrote:
> >> > That is not what I meant at all, that is not it at all. I wish
> >> this
> >> > discussion could have remained a discussion, but that seems
> >> impossible.
> >> > Nancy
> >> >
> >> > >>> Chokh Raj 11/08/11 7:18 AM >>>
> >> > The significant emotion of art.
> >> > CR
> >> >
> >> > *From:* Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> >> > *To:* [log in to unmask]
> >> > *Sent:* Monday, November 7, 2011 1:55 PM
> >> > *Subject:* Re: Eliot's 4 English drawing room plays
> >> >
> >> > Dear John,
> >> > I agree with what you say, though as an actor ( English
> >> professor who
> >> > acts for fun in a Shakespeare ensemble), I think one could do a
> >> > fabulous and exciting performance of /Sweeney Agonistes/. I
> >> also saw a
> >> > brilliant performance of /Murder in the Cathedral/ in the
> >> Cathedral at
> >> > St. Andrews. It was performed all through and around the audience.
> >> > That seems to affirm what you say about the comedies: //he
> >> really had
> >> > not figured out that there are living humans with a much wider
> >> range
> >> > of emotion than religious ecstasy or despair.// But I wonder why,
> >> > then, you chose them. Do you think they could be directed and
> >> acted in
> >> > ways that would make them work now?
> >> > Nancy
> >> > P. S., of course he seemed much changed by human love when he
> >> finally
> >> > experienced it.
> >> > >>> John Angell Grant 11/07/11 1:31 PM >>>
> >> > Hi Nancy,
> >> > Thanks for the thought. I am a theater person myself, and have
> >> talked
> >> > with other theater folk about the issue. Draw is always an
> >> issue. My
> >> > sense is that Eliot's plays have a smug "I know the secret to
> >> life"
> >> > feel to them, which is alienating and, in my view, paradoxically
> >> > unchristian--a link to his Puritan heritage. Here's a 1950
> >> review by
> >> > of the The Cocktail Party, by William Barrett from the Partisan
> >> > Review, which Jewel Brooker includes in her Contemporary
> >> Reviews book,
> >> > which nails some of it, in my view. Barrett is referring to the 2
> >> > choices of life offered in The Cocktail Party (2 choices
> >> represented
> >> > by the Chamberlaynes, and Celia):
> >> >
> >> > “Here we must remember that Eliot, the last great product of the
> >> > Puritan mind, has never shown in his poetry any real belief in the
> >> > possibility of human love. The moment of love is presented
> >> always as
> >> > the moment of withdrawal and renunciation, the awful daring of a
> >> > moment’s surrender, one of ?the things that other people have
> >> > desired’; and consequently the beauty of the world is never
> >> present
> >> > in the fullness of joy, but always with that painful clutch at the
> >> > heart as at something taken away, lost, uncapturable. No doubt,
> >> > resignation is necessary to get through life at all, and Freud
> >> himself
> >> > stated that the aim of analytic therapy was to enable the
> >> neurotic to
> >> > bear the sufferings inevitable in human life; but this is only
> >> half
> >> > the picture, for the work of the analyst may also be to
> >> liberate the
> >> > patient for the positive joys that life can hold, even perhaps
> >> for the
> >> > possibility of love, and if the neurotic were told that he is
> >> to be
> >> > resigned only for resignation’s sakes, it is very unlikely
> >> that he
> >> > would have the strength to go on.
> >> > “I was surprised to read that one critic found in the play the
> >> > gaiety that Stendhal recommends for all art, for it seems to me
> >> that
> >> > at bottom the world of The Cocktail Party is the same empty
> >> world of
> >> > Prufrock, except that 37 years ago Eliot did not disguise his
> >> contempt
> >> > for this emptiness. So I feel at the heart of this play some
> >> immense
> >> > tricherie [cheating], or at least self-deception, for I can’t
> >> > believe that Eliot takes the Chamberlaynes as serious as he
> >> pretends
> >> > to. Here again, comparison with Sweeney Agonistes becomes
> >> instructive,
> >> > for in this earlier fragment Eliot fully realized all his
> >> hatred of
> >> > human life and really enjoyed himself in the raucous company of
> >> Doris,
> >> > Sweeney, Klipsteins, and Krumpacker—in comparison with whose
> >> vulgar
> >> > vitality the characters at the cocktail party are genteel
> >> skeletons.
> >> > As a writer Eliot has never really given us God’s plenty: the
> >> > qualities of his genius are not robustness and richness, but
> >> > precision, terseness, and intensity; and the shadow which
> >> haunts these
> >> > qualities is a certain tendency to thinness and brittleness
> >> that here
> >> > in The Cocktail Party has at last caught up with him.
> >> >
> >> > On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 9:57 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]
> >> > <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> >> >
> >> > Dear John,
> >> > I would think you could learn more about that from theater people
> >> > than TSE enthusiasts. You might want to ask some theater faculty
> >> > or directors.
> >> > My guess is that they are not only rather outdated for
> >> > contemporary audiences but are in verse. I imagine directors would
> >> > doubt that they would draw. That's only a guess based on what is
> >> > produced.
> >> > Best,
> >> > Nancy
> >> >
> >> > >>> John Angell Grant 11/07/11 12:48 PM >>>
> >> >
> >> > I'm writing a Master's Thesis on Eliot's 4 drawing room plays
> >> > (Family Reunion, Cocktail Party, Confidential Clerk, Elder
> >> > Statesman). Does anyone have thoughts about why they are rarely
> >> > performed these days. I set up Google Alerts for all 4 a few
> >> > months back, and only one production popped up, and that wa 6
> >> > rehearsed staged readings of The Cocktail Party by the
> >> > English-language theater in Abu Dhabi! Donmar did a series a few
> >> > years back. And there was an NYC production a year or so back.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >