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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.
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>