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Curious how o.c. had more of a life as something to be analysed, then as a device for analysis. It was a concept
that never quite took off, but something like the elephant coming in for a landing at Frankfurt airport, sort of flapped
its ears very brashly in the wind and somewhat bounced along upon its grceful impact (if you've seen that commercial).
The gracefully bouncing elephant is my objective correlative for the objective correlative.
 
Nez perse?
 
Cheeers,
Peter
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Ken Armstrong
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2012 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: Objective Correlative in Eliot's Poetry (was Re: OT - Chapel Perilous)

CR,

Now that you mention it, I do vaguely recollect an attempted felony upbraiding by one of the usual suspects, which I generally try to ignore (avoiding my civic duty, I guess). I posed the question here (perhaps too briefly from my ipod) because I assu
med you had a specific purpose/meaning in mind for making the assertion and because I don't think I had thought of or heard of an everyday use of "objective correlative" outside of its connection with TSE.

For Eliot I think it was something highly specific and informed by his philosophic studies, particularly of F. H. Bradley. When Peter said we are maybe creeping toward the objective correlative, beastly-Yeats-like, I guess, I assumed he meant in Eliot's use of the term. With no upbraiding intended, I don't see what it gains us to use it as a synonym for symbol or metaphor, which already signify much more than their literal meaning.

Apart from that, occasionally here some one or other offers that 'objective correlative' is a useless term, which I think is perfectly true if it is conceived in a useless way. However, I think it had a legitimate life and utility and a depth of meaning for Eliot when he brought it forth and that it can still be employed fruitfully by anyone wanting to understand the problems that Eliot was trying to understand, whether with Hamlet or in poetry generally. Eliot's late remarks on feeling in the Concord address that Rickard posted a few days ago are perhaps a continuing indicator of the primacy of feeling in his view of poetry.

Ken A



On 5/2/2012 6:56 PM, Chokh Raj wrote:
[log in to unmask] type="cite">
Ken/Rickard, 

To me Eliot's poetry is replete with 'objective correlatives', i.e. with concrete images that signify much more than their literal meaning, to convey certain deep and abstract ideas/emotions, more or less a synonym for symbols/metaphors. Here are a few instances from the 'Love Song':

a patient etherized upon a table; / The yellow fog / the butt-ends of my days and ways/ a pair of ragged claws / the mermaids / the chambers of the sea / sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 

My problem arose when, at this list, I was stopped in my tracks, reprimanded for an indiscriminate use of 'objective correlative' for Eliot's images, reminding me what exactly Eliot meant by it:

"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 brought up this topic for discussion because I believe that Eliot's notion of 'objective correlative' is much more comprehensive and all-inclusive, that it does not preclude the common usage that we associate with an 'objective correlative'. 

I presume that Eliot's aforementioned enunciation was made specifically in the context of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'.