Eliot's Poetic Image, an Emblem of Unified Sensibility

Here's how thought and feeling coalesce in images, a set of objects, an objective correlative. 


(The Dry Salvages - presumably les trois sauvages - is a small
group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann,
Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages.
Groaner: a whistling buoy.) 

"So runs the little note at the beginning of T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages,” third poem in his sequence Four Quartets. The note is a poem in itself, really: factual-sounding at first, nearly pedantic, a miniature lecture (on etymology, pronunciation, definition) that nonetheless deepens on every side into shivery Eliotic resonance. He could have used pages, our poet, orrages—but no, it had to be the King James-y assuages. Suffering and succor. The name of the rocks themselves: aridity, salvation. And floating out there somewhere, the hopeless, enduring, sad old groaner." -- James Parker, 'A pilgrimage to T.S. Eliot’s Dry Salvages' 




Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> Friday, October 26, 2012 11:43 AM wrote: 

image(s) as objective correlative

Tradition and Creativity:
T S Eliot "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
Trevor Pateman 

an excerpt

// The poet is someone who excels in having a feeling for words, not one who readily finds words for a feeling. Indeed, for Eliot, poets need make no distinction between emotions they have experienced , and emotions they have not, in fashioning feelings in words. And fashioning feeling in words requires not that one looks inside oneself, examining the phenomenology of subjective experience, but rather that outside oneself one is able to locate an `objective correlative' for an emotion. As Eliot puts it in the other essay of 1919, that on Hamlet, `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'.

This seems to be a particular way of stating a more general view, that one should distinguish between the live expression of an actually occurring emotion (as when I jump for joy) and the repeatable representation of such emotion, as when a dancer is choreographed to jump joyfully. For purposes of art, the important thing is to be able to find such representations which evoke in others feelings appropriate to them. This is rather different from being oneself filled with emotions. // 

a fine elucidation of 'objective correlative' as a 'representation' of emotion



Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> Thursday, October 25, 2012 12:05 PM wrote: 

ps - permit me to preface this thread with a picture.



Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:55 AM wrote: 

image as a mode of embodying truth

'Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.' 

So wrote Yeats in a letter days before his death.  

Now shall we say this of poetry?
Well, here's an interesting page to peruse.



Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:02 PM wrote:

Poetry to Keats was a sensuous incarnation of ideas. And he would not be 

convinced of any truth unless it made its presence felt in concrete terms.
It should be interesting to observe how this dictum holds water vis-a-vis 
the modernist poets. What come to mind on the instant are 

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens 

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams


In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound

You may accuse me here of the heresy of ascribing value to an Imagist piece.
But, once created, a poem to me is in the reader's domain, and he/she is free to 
perceive what truth he/she might.

Well, you may add, if you like, to the brief and tentative list of poems
on this subject. The veracity of Keats' observation seems to endure. 

I'd be interested in exploring such statements as Eliot made from time to time 
and see if they stand the test of time as much, any critical opinion to the contrary



Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> Tuesday, October 23, 2012 8:03 PM wrote: 

Peter, Google brings me to a preview of 

Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot

Edited by Frank Kermode 

Please go to the CONTENTS and click

from The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism 

The quotation in question is at pp. 89-90.

Incidentally, there is an interesting footnote at p.89. 



P <[log in to unmask]> Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:21 PM wrote: 

One has to press the Newsletter heading to get to it. Basically a quote from UPUC, section number not given. I got partly through quote and was snapped rudely back to the ToC. Entry costs $10.00/month.

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

T. S. Eliot on Idea Incubation, Inhibition, and the 
Mystical Quality of Creativity
by  Maria Popova