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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
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
interesting language these assertions
"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
something E published or personally
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.
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
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
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
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..