> 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/Matter_and_Memory (Bergson also
> prompted Eliot to acknowledge his anglo-catholic, royalist and
> 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,
> 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.
> 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.
> > 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.
> Rick Parker
> * Off topics (sorry if this is a bit bloggy but I can't help
> "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
> 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