It is apropos to post again what belongs here. 'Ritual and Experiment in Modern Poetry' by Jacob Korg pp. 41-42, beginning with: //In concluding his chapter on Eliot's attraction to primitivism, William Skaff writes, "Eliot wrote three long poems which are rituals. Eliot the poet performs through poetry the same rite that the ritualistic structure would dictate a religious celebrant to perform. Early evidence of Eliot's commitment to ritual appears in the paper he read at a Harvard seminar in 1913 defending the mystical insight of primitive ritual. ... // http://books.google.com/books?id=IUHvdHCSs5gC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false CR ________________________________ From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Sunday, September 9, 2012 9:39 AM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' Hieronymo’s mad againe Mostly, the consummation of a ritual is wrought by one who is overtaken by a divine frenzy -- a creative madness, if you like -- and it is in that state of divine ecstasy, as it were, that certain miracles are wrought. In the face of certain calamities, certain primitive communities look forward to a god-man's moment of (recurring) ecstasy so that they can have their dilemmas resolved. Hieronymo’s mad againe is such an auspicious moment when, in this case, the wasteland can be got back into shape. Just reminds me of the creative frenzy in Coleridge's Kubla Khan: A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me That with music loud and long I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed And drunk the milk of Paradise. Cheers, CR ________________________________ From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 11:14 PM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' A ritual ending to The Waste Land In the Brihadaranyak Upanishad, after each clap of the thunder, a batch of recepients explains to the Lord what message they got from it. And the Lord says, yes, that's what he meant. I view the poem's elaboration of each Da as a choral chant by the community to whom it is addressed. Each elaboration is spelt out in terms of a certain realization. It is only after the lessons have been taught and learnt that the task of restoring the lands is undertaken. By way of a formal ritual, then, the fragments "saved" from the ruins are submitted to one who will "fit" them into a cohesive order. There is a choral invocation of the three-fold virtues of Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata. The poem closes with a choral chant of Shantih, invoking "the peace that passeth understanding". Well, just a reading. CR ________________________________ From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 2:03 PM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' ps - Even though it goes without saying, it needs to be stressed that when the poem ends with the invocation of Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata, it is invoking them in terms of a certain resolution implied in the poem's elaboration of these mantras -- the elaborations having a close bearing on what has transpired in the course of the poem. Datta: what have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment’s surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty rooms Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in his prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus Damyata: The boat responded Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar The sea was calm, your heart would have responded Gaily, when invited, beating obedient To controlling hands --- These invocations are supposed to usher in "a peace that passeth understanding", which peace is then ritually invoked. CR ________________________________ From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 11:31 AM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih --- evoking rituals CR ________________________________ From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:05 AM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' Thanks for that most valuable pointer, Rickard. Incidentally, a most cogent and lucid exposition of the poem, in this regard, remains one by David Chinitz. One may not entirely agree with his view of the poem's closing section, though. Well, here's a link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/92465588/17/T-S-Eliot-The-Waste-Land an excerpt Eliot’s Notes on The Waste Land explain “the title,...the plan, and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem” by referring readers to the legend of the Holy Grail, whose history was traced in Jessie Weston’s From Ritual to Romance, and to the fertility rites inventoried in James G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough. Most treatments of the poem since the 1970s have downplayed the importance of this material to the extent that earlier readings made it central. That much of the Grail-quest material was added late, and that it hardly underlies a “plan” for the entire poem, is demonstrable, and Eliot himself expressed “regret [for] having sent so many enquirers off on a wild goose chase” after his sources (1957: 110). The fact remains, though, that Eliot’s use of symbolism drawn from Frazer and other anthropological sources is already visible in the poems, such as “Sweeney among the Nightingales” and “Gerontion,” that precede his composition of The Waste Land. Such material was thoroughly enmeshed in Eliot’s thought and perception, and it is integral to the themes and methods of The Waste Land as well (Crawford 1987: 127–49). --- CR ________________________________ From: Rickard Parker <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:54 AM Subject: Re: Ritual and Experiment in 'The Waste Land' Don't forget the note mentioning Frazer and Weston. They were dealing in ritual. On Wed, 5 Sep 2012 12:45:10 -0700, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >Modes of Ritual in 'The Waste Land' One of the radical poetic experiments most obvious in the composition of The Waste Land is to see if the rehearsing of certain rituals imposes patterns of coherence and order on certain chaotic fragments of a wasteland. It is well worth taking into account rituals, implicit as well as explicit, that are discernible in the body of the text. No critical account, I suppose, can afford to set aside such a consideration in any meaningful appreciation of the work. Here's a tentative outline. It is remarkable that these rituals cease to operate in a wasteland, not without, however, making their absence felt rather painfully through their memory. Their invocation is finally answered, though, in terms of rain.