I wrote (in reference to TSE's Tradition essay): T> Is he being sarcastic when he says "It is a method for which T> the horoscope is auspicious"? And Rick wrote: R> Sorry, I've thought some on this but I have no idea how to read R> this other then to ignore it as an aside. Rick: In context, here is the line in the essay: "In using the myth, in manipulating a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, Mr. Joyce is pursuing a method which others must pursue after him. . . It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history. . . . It is a method for which the horoscope is auspicious. . ." Given the line's prominent placement, it's got to be more than an aside. I've been thinking that the idea of a horoscope, the idea of astrology, is that the planets and the stars greatly influence our individual lives and fate. In other words, something "bigger than ourselves" plays a vital part in our lives. Perhaps what TSE is alluding to is that the "mythical method" is also trying to establish a link between us and something "bigger than ourselves". In other words, when Joyce uses the Greek myths of Ulysses' amazing multi-year voyage and his eventual return home, and parallels it with a one-day "journey" around a city in Ireland (and his eventual return to Molly Bloom), Joyce is stating an implicit comparison/equivalence between the mythical Ulysses from antiquity and a contemporary "ordinary person". So maybe, for Eliot, the horoscope/astrology, which claims that the fate of an "ordinary person" has its roots in the heavens is "auspicious", that is, is yet another promising metaphor by which some other author can "control, order, give a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history". Just a thought. -- Tom -- > Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 18:36:35 -0500 > From: [log in to unmask] > Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method > To: [log in to unmask] > > Sorry for the very quick replay to your questions Tom but it was a > summer afternoon and the wild blackberries were ripe and calling.* > > I don't know much about Henri Bergson or Eliot and Bergson but > Bergson did write about time and memory and Eliot did attend some > Bergson lectures in his Paris year of 1910-11. TSE was critical of > Bergson later but I think many critics see TSE under Bergson's > influence early on. You may want to explore this. A start: > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Bergson > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_and_Free_Will > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matter_and_Memory (Bergson also > prompted Eliot to acknowledge his anglo-catholic, royalist and > classical tendencies.) > > Now on to some of your earlier questions: > > > 2) Is he being sarcastic when he says "It is a method for which > > the horoscope is auspicious"? > > Sorry, I've thought some on this but I have no idea how to read > this other then to ignore it as an aside. > > > Also from the above quote, Eliot writes, "Psychology . . , > > ethnology, and The Golden Bough have concurred to make possible > > what was impossible even a few years ago." > > > 3) Does anyone have a clear idea of how these three particular > > things make it "possible" to now (that is, post-1923) write in the > > "mythical method"? > > Time has marched on and I don't see James Frazer as the > popularizer of myth; I see Joseph Campbell. But I think what Eliot > is getting at is that with the knowledge of psychology, ethnology > and myth that wasn't available before we could go beyond reading > myths as stories to see them as an attempt to get us to think > about the meaning of humanity. > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Frazer > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell > > In a later posting Tom wrote: > > > By the way, the Tradition essay specifically calls out > > **literature** ("Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the > > form of European, of English literature . . ."), but I wonder if > > there is any evidence that Eliot thought the idea of the present > > changing the past was a much more general concept that applied to > > the human condition. I'm thinking about things like his marriage > > to Vivienne, which, in hindsight, must have seemed to Eliot like > > quite a different thing than it did when they first met. Would > > that be an example of the present changing the past, at least in > > one's judgment of the past or recollection of it?? > > For the main question here I fall back to my earlier comment on > Bergson but as for the specific mention of literature remember > that at this time Eliot was trying to make his mark as a critic. > By specifically mentioning literature he his reinforcing his > expertise in the field. > > Regards, > Rick Parker > > > * Off topics (sorry if this is a bit bloggy but I can't help > myself): > > "Summer afternoon--summer afternoon; to me those have always > been the two most beautiful words in the English language." > -- Henry James > > I prefer a New England autumn but a Virginia spring is awfully > darn nice. > > Eliot wrote about Wensleydale cheese being part of England's > heritage (this is a favorite of mine; try some if you can get it.) > I'm not really sure if blackberries and vanilla ice cream is part > of New England's heritage but it should be. And this reminds me, I > haven't had my lobster roll or Woodman's fried clams yet this year > and the sweet corn is almost ripe. I've got to get to work on this > stuff.