Well, read Hope Mirlees's poem, Paris--written before TWL and both French and English. Or Read MacDiarmid's A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle; he also used many languages. Eliot's own way of using many languages may be his own, but using them is not.

>>> P <[log in to unmask]>11/13/12 4:40 PM >>>
My point was that he was able to bring this enviable skill to bear on his poetry. It added a depth and richness that were peculiarly his own.

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Unless you have never known many people who have great facility with language, and many do, I do not understand this. There is no marvel at all--he knew Latin and several modern languages: I don't but many do.

>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>11/13/12 10:40 AM >>>
That facility and through that facility getting at the essence of things.
Thus, for instance, not merely learning Sanskrit but through it
getting at the heart of ancient Indian wisdom.
The marvel ceases not.


From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: OT (sort of) Philology. Sort of.
Sent: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 8:35:53 AM

Mark Twain once said, "My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years."

Eliot seems to have learned them all, all at once, not to mention Latin and Sanskrit.

I don't recall our having discussed Eliot's facility with language, which it seems to me to have been quite phenomenal and one of the things that makes his work so incredibly attractive. I know it is gauche on this list to say nice things about Eliot, but there it is. I've done it and I'm very glad.