The real problem with Lehmann's commentary seems to be a total lack of
fact checking. Sweeney Agonistes was first published in the Criterion in
1926 and 1927--six or seven years before Eliot left Vivienne. Vivienne
was not rich or an "insider." I suppose by "course" he meant "coarse"
(we can all make typos, but for something to publish or put on the web,
I would assume some copyediting.) And the play is hardly in a pub: just
when do women answer the phone in a pub? And why does Dusty say "Yes
this is Miss Dorrance's flat--"? A flat is not a pub, obviously (it is,
however, a setting--one that can be seen as more disturbing since
Periera "pays the rent" and these men come into their space--"a woman
runs a terrible risk"). How is one supposed to bother sorting out a text
that does not even get the simplest available facts and dates right?

I think Peter is right about the music hall. Nancy Hargrove has shown
how constantly Eliot used music hall songs. If you have not been to one
of Nancy and her husband Guy's presentations, you have missed a fabulous
experience: she has done massive research and show the images and
characters; Guy has a great voice and sings the songs, including this

>>> Peter Dillane 01/21/13 5:24 PM >>>

Sam’s interesting isn’t he. Veteran of a celebrated single minded force.
I suppose the CEF would have been pin up boys with Ypres still in the
mind. I think anyone who brings an aphoristic pair like K and K around
to see some girls has more than one arrow in his quiver.


From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of P
Sent: Monday, 21 January 2013 4:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Sweeney Agonistes: Eliot’s raw underbelly

I tend to trend your way Pete, but surely there are them's as cain't or
won't. And what's your take on the Canadian? ;->

Peter Dillane wrote:
Hey CR,

this is not at all the way I see Sweeney A. I only have small
observations to make but to the extent that Lehmann sees it in a
particular kind of place - a course (sic) pub - and that the bamboo tree
business is supposed to be a referential nod to any worldly idyll viz
Gauguin's world. Well I can't see it. I know that the boys arrive and
Doris calls down to them in the street but the notion that the play can
be imagined in a setting is at odds with the irreal sense of space and
time. And the Bamboo tree is more a link to the music hall than the
actual South Seas. ( I think of Judy Garland in Meet me in St Louis
doing the song by the way)

Cheers Pete.

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Chokh Raj 

To: [log in to unmask] 

Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 3:31 PM

Subject: Re: Sweeney Agonistes: Eliot’s raw underbelly

Sweeney Agonistes: Eliot’s raw underbelly

Is Poetry Fiction?


Gary Lehmann