You are, for sure, Ken!

From: Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Re: Eliot's Facility with poetry; imperfect critics
Sent: Sat, Nov 17, 2012 8:46:40 PM

 I didn't intend my post to be about you, CR. But to be sure, in regard to welcoming the good, I said only that so many critics miss so much; not that all miss all. It's a positive pleasure to read thoughtful, insightful, balanced criticism. It just seems to me that that pleasure is more rare than perhaps it ought to be. But maybe I'm an optimist.

On 11/17/2012 2:41 PM, Chokh Raj wrote:
Only I don't throw away the baby with the bath water, Ken.
I welcome what good I find, anywhere!

From: Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 1:47 PM
Subject: Eliot's Facility with poetry; imperfect critics

Reading on in the passage linked to below, it's arresting how critics miss even the most fundamental action in Eliot's poems, including in his earliest. Eliot's life may have been imperfect (however ridiculous it may be for any of us to stand in that kind of judgement on any other one of us), but the imperfections don't abate when Gordon remarks of "Conversation Galante" that the young woman in it "blocks the truth." It wouldn't be so egregious a critical error were it not that the at the center of the poem's action it is the young woman who at each turn prevents the young man from ensnaring the truth for his own low purposes, allowing it, as it were, to continue to roam free. The young woman does not block knowledge; she foils the young man's attempts to misuse knowledge and seduce her. It is, to quote one of Eliot's favorites, elementary.

With so little facility for even a basic understanding of Eliot's poetic way, it's not surprising that she and critics like her miss and misrepresent so much in Eliot's life and art.

Ken A

On 11/17/2012 10:32 AM, Chokh Raj wrote:
Just one instance of the alacrity, the sensitivity and the pace with which Eliot's sensibility responded to Laforgue's influence. Here's Lyndall Gordon's insightful account: 

p. 42  "At once, on discovering Symons, Eliot ordered three volumes of Laforgue from France. The Oeuvres completes must have arrived in the spring of 1909, certainly in time for Eliot to read them over the summer, and late in the autumn he began to pour out new poems..."