At once, on learning that volume 2 was out and now volume 3, I
immediately ordered Eliot's letters. I have them here and plan to start
on 3 this week. I guess I must have a profound sensibility to language.

>>> Chokh Raj 11/17/12 10:33 AM >>>

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..."


Chokh Raj wrote Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:39 AM: 

Eliot's Notes to The Waste Land: some idea of Eliot's facility with and
insight into languages apart from English 

Petronius, Satyricon 

Dedication .(Purgatorio xxvi, 117) 

V. Tristan und Isolde, i, verses 5-8. 

42. Id. iii, verse 24.

60. Cf. Baudelaire: 
Fourmillante cité, cité pleine de rêves, 
Où le spectre en plein jour raccroche le passant.

63. Cf. Dante's Inferno, iii. 55-7: 
si lunga tratta 
di gente, ch'io non avrei mai creduto 
che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta. 

64. Cf. 63. Cf. Dante's Inferno, iv. 25-27: 
Quivi, secondo che per ascoltare, 
non avea pianto, ma' che di sospiri, 
che l'aura eterna facevan tremare.

76. V. Baudelaire, Preface to Fleurs du Mal.

92. Laquearia. V. Aeneid, I. 726: 
dependent lychni laquearibus aureis incensi, et noctem flammis funalia

99. V. Ovid, Metamorphoses, vi, Philomela.

202. V. Verlaine, Parsifal.

218. Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character',
is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest.
Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the
Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand
Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet
in Tiresias. What Tiresiassees, in fact, is the substance of the poem.
The whole passage from Ovid is of great anthropological interest:

Cum Iunone iocos et 'maior vestra profecto est 
Quam, quae contingit maribus', dixisse, 'voluptas.' 
Illa negat; placuit quae sit sententia docti 
Quaerere Tiresiae: venus huic erat utraque nota.
Nam duo magnorum viridi coeuntia silva 
Corpora serpentum baculi violaverat ictu 
Deque viro factus, mirabile, femina septem 
Egerat autumnos; octavo rursus eosdem 
Vidit et 'est vestrae si tanta potentia plagae', 
Dixit 'ut auctoris sortem in contraria mutet, 
Nunc quoque vos feriam!' percussis anguibus isdem 
Forma prior rediit genetivaque venit imago. 
Arbiter hic igitur sumptus de lite iocosa 
Dicta Iovis firmat; gravius Saturnia iusto 
Nec pro materia fertur doluisse suique 
Iudicis aeterna damnavit lumina nocte, 
At pater omnipotens (neque enim licet inrita cuiquam 
Facta dei fecisse deo) pro lumine adempto 
Scire futura dedit poenamque levavit honore.

Ovid, Metamorphoses

221. This may not appear as exact as Sappho's lines, but I had in mind
the 'longshore' or 'dory' fisherman, who returns at nightfall.

266. The Song of the (three) Thames-daughters begins here. From line 292
to 306 inclusive they speak in turn. V. Götterdammerung, III. i: The

279. V. Froude, Elizabeth, vol. I, ch. iv, letter of De Quadra to Philip
of Spain: 
In the afternoon we were in a barge, watching the games on the river.
(The queen) was alone with Lord Robert and myself on the poop, when they
began to talk nonsense, and went so far that Lord Robert at last said,
as I was on the spot there was no reason why they should not be married
if the queen pleased.

293. Cf. Purgatorio, V. 133: 
'Ricorditi di me, che son la Pia; 
Siena mi fe', disfecemi Maremma.'

Dans le Restaurant. 

366-76. Cf. Hermann Hesse, Blick ins Chaos: 
Schon ist halb Europa, schon ist zumindest der halbe Osten Europas auf
dem Wege zum Chaos, fährt betrunken im heiligen Wahn am Abgrund entlang
und singt dazu, singt betrunken und hymnisch wie Dmitri Karamasoff sang.
Ueber diese Lieder lacht der Bürger beleidigt, der Heilige und Seher
hört sie mit Tränen.

401. 'Datta, dayadhvam, damyata' (Give, sympathize, control). The fable
of the meaning of the Thunder is found in the Brihadaranyaka--Upanishad,
5, 1. A translation is found in Deussen's Sechzig Upanishads des Veda,
p. 489.

411. Cf. Dante's Inferno, xxxiii. 46: 
ed io sentii chiavar l'uscio di sotto 
all'orribile torre.

427. V. Purgatorio, xxvi. 148. 
'Ara vos prec per aquella valor 
'que vos guida al som de l'escalina, 
'sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.' 
Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina.

428. V. Pervigilium Veneris. Cf. Philomela in Parts II and III.

429. V. Gerard de Nerval, Sonnet El Desdichado. 

433. Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. 'The
Peace which passeth understanding' is a feeble translation of the
conduct of this word.



From: Chokh Raj 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 11:56 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot's Facility with Language

In this regard it is well worth pointing out that Eliot acknowledged
that Laforgue was the first 'to teach me how to speak, to teach me the
poetic possibilities of my own idiom of speech.' From Dante Eliot
acknowledged having learnt 'the lessons of craft, of speech and
exploration of sensibility'. (To Criticize the Critic) A glance at
Eliot's Notes to The Waste Land should enable us form some idea of the
poet's indebtedness to other languages by way of quotations in those
very languages. 


From: Chokh Raj 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: Eliot's Facility with Language

You'll excuse me, Rickard, but IMHO, when a sharp and perceptive mind
like Eliot's comes into contact with another language, be it Greek,
Latin, French, German, Sanskrit or Pali, it is not just a language per
se but through that medium an art, a culture, a way of life that informs
his creative mind. He imbibes as well the rhythms of that language, the
syntax and structure of its thought, as well as its vision of life.
Surely it affects in many subtle ways his music of poetry. I wonder in
how many subtle ways Eliot's poetry is informed by such influences.


From: Rickard A. Parker ; 
To: ; 
Subject: Re: Eliot's Facility with Language 
Sent: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:52:33 PM 

// I've been thinking but I haven't come up with any way the Eliot's
with foreign languages actually helped his writing poetry in English. //

As for his use of the foreign phrases though he often combined several
languages rather close together. Mostly epigraphs but then there is the
closing of TWL. The quickest switch must be in the later dedication to
Verdenal where he has English and French in the first line and then goes
to a quotation from Dante in the Italian.

It seems to me to the by using the languages so close together E. was
striving to show a universality in life.

Rick Parker