Well, humour has been known to be a relief when one has serious, even painful matters clouding one's consciousness. Misprision is an entirely new word to me. I shall have to try yet again to look it up.
I am glad to see Eliot having fun, but I don't see how E. could be drinking with B.D. if B.D. was in Egypt.
Peter Dillane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I do not understand misprision as the opposite of precision but as wilful misrepresentation or collaborative misrepresentation. That is I understood it only as a legal term.So by 'position' I meant to ask was Eliot being flippant and saying his own thoughts were a crime against prevailing values and that Dobree was abetting him. My mail yesterday was on another computer so I will have to rely on your quotes of what I said by the way, but today I am near books and have found the letter concerned from 12 November 1927. Today I see the levity all around it.
The Letters vol III do not provide context but it comes from the long line of letters increasingly scatological after Dobree went to Egypt and they have some quite charming asides ( including Eliot asking in one letter to pay for the booze after he left early the night before which as a drinker I find more impressive than any other assertion of deontological seriousness in a person) but I now see that the conversation was predominantly extravagant humour. In the letter concerned the passage comes after a channel swimmer with bald balls and the death of Professor Krapp and he returns to the channel swimmer and a pun on soul/sole after this paragraph to end the letter. So the mood is set when he interpolates serious matters ( as I guess he thinks them ) and perhaps I understand why he would use 'misprision' now. It is the last letter to Dobree in Vol III. I am not by the way suggesting that the passage is trivial for this placing between the trivial as I see he similarly speaks of organising Vivien into a sanatorium within an earlier Bolo letter to Dobree and I expect that was a serious matter for him.
By knee jerk I meant that perhaps a man could say he believed in his Truth with a big 'T' in the 1920s without the expectation of a fight. This hasn't been the case at least since the great American philosopher Johnny Cash asked "What is truth?" and that's a while now.
I don't have any desire to ridicule Natural Law believers - in the spirit of scientific tolerance Russell's teapot does not animate me much.