Yes, it's a problem. Many fine scholars are, for example, working now on editing all Eliot's prose. What comes out may change our sense of how to read the works. I am quite open to having something new change my perspective. I don't claim competency in all perspectives: that's the point. I don't, for example, work as much on the prose or the plays as many do. But I'm aware of a very wide range of readings of, for example, TWL, and many can be justified--even conflicting ones. Moreover, I had to reread masses of material to write a reception of Eliot article, and there has never been a single way to "get" his work--not ever. It's true that what Brooks wrote had a big influence for a long time, but new material has led to other views. So there is no equivalence between assuming you know what is true about Eliot and assuming that there are many views and new ones will appear.

No, it's not a double standard unless you can demonstrate that there is one way to "get" it. I can show many readings: it's a fact.

Also, I never said all perspectives are equally convincing or true. I only said you assume you can exclude those who disagree with yours. And you do. So fine--it's mutually exclusive, and I think you are quite wrong. But by your assumption, nearly everyone is now.

>>> Ken Armstrong 01/10/13 7:14 PM >>>

On 1/10/2013 10:57 AM, Nancy Gish wrote:

The unstated assumption in your claims here is that you do "get" Eliot and therefore are in a postion to judge whether others do.

I don't think that assumption is there, but let's say it is. Would it be a problem? How would it differ from your saying, "But that is simply one of many perspectives"? Is it your assumption that you have competency in all perspectives and can therefore make the judgement that any perspective is "simply one of many perspectives"? Would it not be a double standard to object to my doing in kind exactly what you are doing: making a judgement? You certainly don't live by the principle that any perspective is simply one of many. Just read back through your posts.

"But that is simply one of many perspectives."

At least let's notice that our claims are mutually exclusive. No paradox here; either/or, not both.

Ken A

On 1/10/2013 12:17 AM, Nancy Gish wrote: 
For anyone on this list who cares about Eliot's poetry, I think it 
matters very much to realize the degree to which it has been read 
from many, many perspectives. 

This is an oft repeated truism and hardly needs repeating to people on 
this list, at least to those who post to it. People agree and disagree. 
To varying, not to say maddeningly so, degrees. "But," to quote Artie 
Johnson's German soldier, "vut duz it mean?" Now I realize that "read 
from many, many perspectives" does not have to mean the same thing as 
"agree and disagree," at least on the face of it, but it seems to come 
up with great regularity when the need is felt to reign in and tamp down 
some escaping molecule of thought or speculation or assertion that 
might, blush, put Eliot in a positive light. That might even make him 
seem, well, exceptional. That seems to be the cardinal sin. For, as we 
know, views proliferate, people disagree. 

Is entertaining "many, many perspectives" in reading Eliot's poetry an 
end in itself? The reader who rests at that station, which may be 
necessary in some measure to pass through, has everything, potentially, 
and knows nothing. So because I worry about people on this list who 
actually care for Eliot's poetry, let me suggest that the answer to 
Artie Johnson's question when applied to "many, many perspectives" is 
that some people, to varying degrees, get Eliot, and some, to varying 
degrees, don't. Try to affirm the former and move past the latter. The 
truth doesn't lie in consensus.