Hello Pete,

 I've read through your and Carrol's posts and mostly I'm puzzled, perhaps fittingly, as you say you don't understand Eliot's assertions, while I must say I don't understand yours. By which I don't mean I reject them; rather so far I can't even translate them into terms I can state with misprision, never mind precision. Maybe that will come. But to answer your last question below first, Dobree uses the paragraph on truth to illustrate how Eliot's letters would veer from more or less lighthearted topics and tones to somber and serious ones, and he does give examples from the same letter of the different turns one letter could take. He doesn't (I think; I don't have the book now) give the context for that particular response on Truth, which obviously is in reference to something Dobree previously wrote or said to E. That said, let me try to work through the issues you've raised.

On 1/17/2013 11:24 PM, Peter Dillane wrote:
interesting language these assertions from Eliot.
"misprision" for example - what is he implying about Dobree's position?

    Position? What position? Isn't he saying flat out (no "implying" here) that Dobree has misunderstood Eliot's operative understanding of truth? Seems like it's Eliot's position that's under discussion and he is simply elaborating for Dobree something he thought Dobree didn't represent aright about something E published or personally communicated.

That of one supporting a less than reputable thought and that he is abetting a questionable proposition from Eliot or at least one not in the common understanding  of their time? I would have expected that for their contemporaries some version of Natural Law or omnipotent theism or Revelation was at least not likely to get the knee jerk it might now.

   Where does "a less than reputable thought" come from here? Seems to be out of the blue. Ditto "abetting a questionable proposition from Eliolt"!! Yikes! Haven't you been listening to Carrol on conspiracy theories? But seriously, you can't mean, I assume, that a misunderstanding is ipso facto less than reputable? And apologies, but I really don't know what the nature is of the "knee jerk" you're referencing or why it or the correspondents' contemporaries should enter the scene. It's starting to look like you're arbitrarily importing dynamics and stage directions into the scene that otherwise wouldn't be there at all.

And then "I would not wish.to make truth..etc ...." This strikes me as quite odd unless seen as the patois of the  urbane who might raise any issue of core importance in light conjectural fashion.

    And now I'm totally lost.  And not to be cheeky, at this point, it occurs, so are you. What you for all appearances unaccountably characterize as Eliot's raising "any issue of core importance in light conjectural fashion" seems to me your misreading an attempt in a personal letter sincerely to explain something of core importance to a friendly correspondent. If you really think the paragraph merely "in light conjectural fashion," then there is probably not much more to say. From where I'm sitting, it looks like your attempt to discredit something the content of which you don't like, the conspiratorial, not to say paranoid, Jason Harding notwithstanding. Can we say, anyhow, cuteness can take more than one form?


He seems to be speaking of dogmatic matters in the timbre of the discretionary which is a bit cute in men who wrote a lot to each other.  Jason Harding's book on the Criterion describes  the rhetorical subtleties of Eliot's letters to Dobree suggesting that Eliot manipulated the sort of review he would get by the way he used language in his letters to him - the choice of verb mood and so on.

    Gosh you have a great vocabulary. Hard to believe that "misprision" threw you. Maybe there's a virtue in adjusting one's rhetoric to the understanding of one's correspondent?...though I wouldn't doubt that Eliot's explanations and "rhetoric" could also have been aimed at getting the sort of review he honestly thought more accurate (admit it now, Pete; that is a possibility). The adjustment of one doesn't necessarily cancel out the sincerity or character of the other, does it?  I assume you're not a stranger to elaborating a belief to an interlocutor in the hopes that that person might in future understand and represent it better, or at least not go off half-cocked about it?

I must get Tate's book which I have never read but can you say what Dobree was on about to initiate the exchange.
   
ps those of us who have put our faith in the hypothetico deductive process find it all a bit alien and can't quite see its terms to take the proposition on.

    If you mean you have put your faith in science (an act that Dr. Walker Percy refers to it as "The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind"), I get it. And I accept it, gladly; science that is, not scientism. What you're doing then in Eliot's non-hypothetico garden could be a question. But that aside, what I don't get, or perhaps do but don't accept, is the immediate leap to a negative, not to say terminally so, deconstruction often ending in the death camps. If you sincerely have questions, wouldn't it be better to delay your train of thought's trip through the slums and arrival until after posing them and getting some response?

 Sorry, but it bothers me to see the poor guy cut off at the knees, usually quite arbitrarily, while being criticized for not having a leg to stand on. It often occurs to me that Eliot may have been dead right in ASG when he noted that people are in camps the gap between which is so wide that attempts at communication must be fruitless. But maybe not.

 One numb arm up his sleeve, and so on..

 Thanks,
 Ken A