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I shall not want Pipit in Heaven:
  Madame Blavatsky will instruct me
In the Seven Sacred Trances;
  Piccarda de Donati will conduct me…
    .    .    .    .    .
But where is the penny world I bought         
  To eat with Pipit behind the screen?

-- 'A Cooking Egg'


From: P <[log in to unmask]>;
To: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method
Sent: Sat, Jul 28, 2012 4:29:07 AM

Researching Madame Blavatsky is also worth the time. She fleshes out,as it were, Madame Sosostris, Mrs. Porter, and Julia Shuttlethwaite

P.M.

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

That's interesting. Google gets me to this page:


Thanks, Peter.
  CR


From: P <[log in to unmask]>
To: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 7:20 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

E. is using something mickey-mouse? to explain a serious literary principle. He compounds it by using an adjective, auspicious, which is rooted in another form of fortune telling, bird flight. In those years, 1923?, fortune telling was rife, esp. with Madame Blavatsky and theosophy. She is the great grandmother of Tom Cruise. Would one use Scientology to exemplify Modernism?
Its a joke. Irony.,

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Yes, Peter. Just as a certain configuration of planets in a horoscope is deemed auspicious, Eliot finds a certain configuration of events (Psychology, ethnology, and The Golden Bough) auspicious for the mythical method. Well, that to me is the obvious meaning of the line in question.  In comparison, Tom Colket's deduction, I'm afraid, seems to be a stretch. 

CR


From: P <[log in to unmask]>
To: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 2:29 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

Could it be that some attention here needs to be given to //the word 'auspicious' esp. as it relates to the word 'horoscope'//? Surely that is a pun, and a pun by a writer not easily given to punning. Why then the word play, think you?
Peter M.


Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Let me also "wonder" if Eliot meant that.  

CR 



From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 11:58 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

CR> There is point in your deduction, Tom. But that does not seem to be
CR>  Eliot's point here which finds elaboration in what follows.
CR>
CR>  Certain events have "concurred to make possible what was
CR>  impossible even a few years ago". 

Here's how I read that part of the essay:

Eliot is making these four _separate_ points:

 
==============

1) There is a newly discovered method for creating literature called the "mythical method."

"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. They will not be imitators, any more than the scientist who uses the discoveries of an Einstein in pursuing his own, independent, further investigations. 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."

===============

2) This method, that I (Eliot) am crediting to Joyce, was "foreshadowed" by Yeats.

"It is a method already adumbrated by Mr. Yeats, and of the need for which I believe Mr. Yeats to have been the first contemporary to be conscious."

===============

3) This method could be expanded on fruitfully by future authors to express insights about humanity. For example, future authors could use the myth of astrology rather than the Greek classical myths.

"It is a method for which the horoscope is auspicious."

===============

4) The reason this method wasn't known to authors earlier than 1922 is that certain breakthroughs in other fields had to occur first to allow Joyce to discover the mythical method.

"Psychology (such as it is, and whether our reaction to it be comic or serious), ethnology, and The Golden Bough have concurred to make possible what was impossible even a few years ago."

-- Tom --




Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 08:33:59 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method
To: [log in to unmask]

"a method for which the horoscope is auspicious"

There is point in your deduction, Tom. But that does not seem to be Eliot's point here which finds elaboration in what follows. Certain events have "concurred to make possible what was impossible even a few years ago". 

CR


From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

CR> To me the line in question simply implies that time is favorable
CR>  for future authors to pursue the mythical method. I don't think it
CR>  suggests using the myth of astrology to gain similar insights into
CR>  the (timeless) human condition.

CR, here's how I understand the syntax of the line:

"It is a method for which the horoscope is auspicious"

1) "A" is a newly discovered method that can now be used to create literature.

2) It is possible that you will use "B" in your writing because you decided to apply the principles you learned while contemplating "A".

3) If you do use "B" (in accordance with the principles of "method A"), it seems promising that you will be successful.


"A" = 'Mythical method' discovered by Joyce

"B"= 'horoscope/astrology'

-- Tom --


 

Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 10:59:52 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method
To: [log in to unmask]

Tom, here's the passage from 'Ulysses, Order, and Myth': 

"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. They will not be imitators, any more than the scientist who uses the discoveries of an Einstein in pursuing his own, independent, further investigations. 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 already adumbrated by Mr. Yeats, and of the need for which I believe Mr. Yeats to have been the first contemporary to be conscious. //It is a method for which the horoscope is auspicious.// Psychology (such as it is, and whether our reaction to it be comic or serious), ethnology, and The Golden Bough have concurred to make possible what was impossible even a few years ago. Instead of narrative method, we may now use the mythical method. It is, I seriously believe, a step toward making the modern world possible for art, toward that order and form which Mr. Aldington so earnestly desires. And only those who have won their own discipline in secret and without aid, in a world which offers very little assistance to that end, can be of any use in furthering this advance." 

http://people.virginia.edu/~jdk3t/eliotulysses.htm 

To me the line in question simply implies that time is favorable for future authors to pursue the mythical method. I don't think it suggests using the myth of astrology to gain similar insights into the (timeless) human condition.

CR 


From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 11:07 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

P> I think the reference is definitely satiric
 
CR> Apparently a tongue-in-cheek remark. 
 
Just in case it wasn't clear from my post, I wasn't saying that TSE personally believed in astrology and horoscopes.
 
I also assume TSE didn't believe that someone named Odysseus/Ulysses battled a real Cyclops and saw a real sorceress named Circe turn men into pigs.
 
Nonetheless, TSE saw great value in using the Ulysses myth from antiquity to gain insights into the (timeless) human condition.
It's in that context that I wonder if he was //anticipating some future authors using the myth of astrology as a tool to express similar insights.//
 
-- Tom --
 

Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 07:36:33 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method
To: [log in to unmask]

T>"It is a method for which the horoscope is auspicious"

Apparently a tongue-in-cheek remark. 

CR


From: P <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 8:22 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot, the past, and the mythical method

Before you go too far down that road you may wish to check out Madame Sosostris and Madame Blavatsky. I think the reference is definitely satiric. A related satire is to be found in Charles Williams' THE GREATER TRUMPS. Also don't forget the lines about fortune telling in 4Q. They actually explain what the satire is all about.

Peter M.

Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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.