On 5/3/2012 1:10 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
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Carrol did not "overlook" anything,

   Sure he did. Here's the entire post:
"The theory, not always labeled "objective correlative," presupposes that
there _can_, in principle, be a 'formula' for a particular emotion. There
cannot be, and the discussion of the theory is pointless from its roots."

The roots of the term are in Eliot's studies. Cox does not mention them. Pick another verb if you don't like "overlooks"; say "ignores" or "fails to mention" or, perhaps most probable, "is unaware."

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and this constant presumption of a superior knowledge gets increasingly distracting from any serious discussion.

  You have a very selective detection organ for assumed superiority. You indulge in it certainly more than I, and Carrol was apparently born with it. I'd say at an honest minimum we cancel each other out on the superiority score and you can in good conscience stop pretending it distracts from serious discussion. Often it seems to be the spur of any discussion at all.

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 Eliot's expertise in philosophy (always a discipline with many many conflicting views--like literary criticism) does not mean he had a god-like absolutist knowledge.

    There you go again. Argument by extension. Ask Carrol. No one said Eliot was god-like. I said he was not the "nothing special" intellect that Carrol and you are so determined to portray him as. And what is the point of saying philosophy is a discipline with conflicting views; does this relieve you from understanding how Eliot understood it?

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The objective correlative has been a long subject of debate,
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but all Carrol said was that there cannot be a "formula" for emotion.

   And all I said was that Carrol is ignoring the basis for Eliot's use of the term, which clearly he is.

   TSE: "Hey, Buddy, your house is on fire!"

   Carrol: "I'm not your buddy! Now go away."

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I would say that this is simply a fact for, ironically, the general reason CR insists on all the time--that readers bring different life experience to any image. (Where I disagree with CR is that that different experience must fit the text, not simply be whatever one likes it to mean.)

  I've made my disagreement with CR. I don't recall him saying that what he brings to the poem doesn't "fit" the poem. But I agree with your statement here that an interpretation must be supported by the text, not by just any old thing any reader wants to bring to it, such as a prejudice based in emotion against Eliot's life. But the fact is that people bring to it what they want, and it colors, sometimes severely, their readings. Even people who can pronounce the rules.

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Nonetheless, I do think the basic idea of using images rather than assertion to evoke emotion--to that extent--Eliot made an important point and provided a key term.

    Do you not worry that in expressing yourself this way you are not assuming a position of superiority; as if your grasp of art and literature has put you in a spot where you can typically make such judgements over a great poet? Here I am telling you that Eliot's use of the term (and others) was deeply based in his philosphic studies, and you have not even touched on that claim and instead purport to pass judgement on the relative worth of what Eliot did. I don't know how you can be comfortable doing that, save the obvious explanation. And notice that Eliot said no such thing, in relation to "objective correlative," that images evoke emotion.

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It is not beyond critique or consideration as to meaning. But it is not new: as Mark Twain said, "Don't say 'the old woman screamed; bring her on and let her scream."

   No claim was made for its being beyond critique or consideration (indeed, consider away, start any time!), nor that it was new. The claim was one only: that the term was based in his studies, particularly of F. H. Bradley. I mention it one more time, singular and limited as it is, in the hopes that, otherwise ignored,  it might yet get through.

  Ken A