Print

Print


Objective Correlative: The Soul of Eliot's Poetry 

"Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!"

The Symbolic versus the Literal 

"Desolate and empty the sea"

"Who is the third who walks always beside you?"


Objective Correlative: "Objects of Knowledge"

"The single Rose / Is now the Garden" 

"We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars."

"And the fire and the rose are one." 

A set of objects etc., as Eliot enunciates, which shall be the formula for that particular emotion -- here the emotion of the absolute


Obviously, when a poem is presented in such terms, it may mean different things to different readers. Eliot admits as much in a letter to Philip Mairet, 31 October, 1956; the collection of Violet Welton. All the same, he felt that it was still necessary to assert its (the poem's) 'absolute' meaning. (Peter Ackroyd, p. 271) The overall context of Eliot's poetry, interspersed with hints in a poem of an absolutist view of things, I guess, sufficiently goads the reader to view the poems in that light. 

In sum, the term 'objective correlative' has a specific value for Eliot's poetry. And even though it might seem that the term did not take off, it is a legacy that endured after Eliot as a viable mode of poetic expression. 

CR 
 



________________________________
 From:  Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>; 
To:  <[log in to unmask]>; 
Subject:  Re: Objective Correlative in Eliot's Poetry (was Re: OT - Chapel Perilous) 
Sent:  Sun, May 6, 2012 3:50:07 AM 
 

"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,	 
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?	 
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?	 
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,	 
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chumlee/5456090993/lightbox/

Dig a little deeper, reader.

CR 



________________________________
 From:  Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>; 
To:  <[log in to unmask]>; 
Subject:  Re: Objective Correlative in Eliot's Poetry (was Re: OT - Chapel Perilous) 
Sent:  Sat, May 5, 2012 9:57:56 PM 
 

I like that, esp since orangutans don't have the 
means of making vocal sounds.
 
;->
P.
----- Original Message ----- 
>From: Chokh Raj 
>To: [log in to unmask] 
>Sent: Friday, May 04, 2012 6:33 AM
>Subject: Re: Objective Correlative in  Eliot's Poetry (was Re: OT - Chapel Perilous)
>
>
>
>
>the  correlative of a correlative -- a gesticulating orangutan 
>
>
>"Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my  own." 
>
>
>"Not the cicada 
> And dry grass singing 
> But sound of water over a rock 
> Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees 
> Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop"
>
>
>CR
>
>
>
>________________________________
> From: Peter Montgomery  <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask] 
>Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2012 8:56  PM
>Subject: Re: Objective  Correlative in Eliot's Poetry (was Re: OT - Chapel  Perilous)
>
>
> 
>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: Ken  Armstrong 
>>To: [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 
    assumed 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: 
>>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'.
>>>
>
>