Admirable, so? That does not make it a professional contribution to the
discipline, an expectation not even asked prior to Ph.D. and very few
even of the best Ph.Ds become books unless very seriously revised. My
point is that this is probably fine early graduate research, especially
since at EMU it was no doubt done with Elizabeth Daumer, who would be
demanding, but there is a huge mass of material on Eliot and Dante; why
send on an MA thesis? I never denied it might be a good one. Someone no
doubt gets the Dean's award each year, and that means a promising
scholar, not an expert with new insight. One can hope Jamie becomes one.

The question is what adds to new ideas for this list, I would think.

>>> Chokh Raj 01/04/13 9:00 PM >>>

LITR MA Jamie N. Berlin won the Dean's Award for Research Excellence for
her thesis: "The Poet in Transformation: Dante’s Influence on the
Aesthetics of T.S. Eliot in The Waste Land." Way to go Jamie!
-- Christine Neufeld posted to The English Graduate Student Association
(EGSA) at Eastern Michigan University, December 2, 2012 near Ypsilanti


From: Chokh Raj 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: Dantean Aesthetics in 'The Waste Land'

opening para of the introductory chapter 


Dantean themes are at work on a deeply significant and formative level
in the aesthetics of The Waste Land. Let me introduce a few of the
ghostly allusions to Dante. The opening reference to the cruelty of
April “mixing / Memory and desire” (lines 2-3), for example, recalls the
lament of Francesca, caught with her lover Paolo in Hell’s whirlwind of
lust in Inferno, Canto V. The allusion is relevant to Eliot’s aesthetic
in the way that it suggests a relationship between the Hell of desire
experienced by Dante’s lovers and the poet’s Hell of desire, which
imprisons creativity. In Dante’s text, the pilgrim addresses Francesca,
asking her to revisit the doloroso passo or “painful/sorrowful passage”
(which is also the “fateful moment” of which their current predicament
is the result) when the lovers succumbed to their desires, and a
connection to the art of poetry is suggested in Francesca’s reference to
Virgil. Francesca begins: Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo
felice ne la miseria; e ciò sa ‘l tuo dottore (Inferno 5:121-123), or
“There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time in misery,
and this your teacher knows” (my translation). While the doloroso passo
also echoes the dangerous pass from Canto 1 which the poet has just
nearly escaped, il suo dottore refers to Virgil, implicating the
vocation of poet; and, because he is writer of the destroyed love
between Dido and Aeneas, the passage also suggests the poet’s
familiarity with the maggior dolor of memory and desire with which
Aeneas leaves Carthage and the poet’s familiarity with the doloroso
passo of love, in general, as a preliminary passage that encourages the
transformation of the poet along the trajectory of the adventure


Great glory to you, critic, for bringing up this argument. I must ponder
it awhile before I proceed. 


From: Chokh Raj 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 11:47 AM
Subject: Dantean Aesthetics in 'The Waste Land'

The Poet in Transformation: Dantean Aesthetics in T.S. Eliot's The Waste
Land (2012)

By Jamie Berlin


Dante was a seminal influence in T. S. Eliot’s poetry. Many scholars
have acknowledged Eliot’s professed debt to Dante and have examined
Eliot’s explicit imitations of Dante; however, few have pinpointed
Dantean influences in non-explicit references to Dante, and few have
credited the influence of a Dantean progress narrative across Eliot’s
poem The Waste Land. This thesis broadly analyzes the principles of
Dante’s aesthetic in the poem while analyzing the Sibyl,theory. When Dantean aesthetics and close readings of The Waste Land are
compared with Eliot’s contemporary essays on art, a fuller view of the
aspects of Dante’s fundamental influence emerges. In particular, the
prominence of Dante in the sub-text of Eliot’s The Waste Land reveals
the nature of their shared aesthetic—that art is a moral work by virtue
of a spiritual transformation endured by the artist, which involves both
a sacrifice of self and a substantiation of self. A deeper examination
of Dante’s influence on T. S. Eliot yields a vaster understanding of
Eliot’s aesthetics while helping to elucidate one of the central
mysteries in Eliot’s theory of art, the role of “personality.”