Well whatever might have been Eliot's stand with regard to things, and whether things have had no co-relation in time , what I'm concerned with is how I as a critical reader put things in perspective, how I put two and two together, notwithstanding apparent contradictions. This is 'my' perspective. If it is others' too or not does not matter to me.
This is from his dissertation in 1915. The quotation in which he said he may be contradicting himself or only had had an adolescent sense of the concept before is from 1940. So which notion? My point was that he did not say the same thing at all times, and on this in particular he explicitly questioned his own earlier ideas by 1940. Moreover, he said somewhere later in his life that he did not even understand his dissertation anymore. (from memory) That may have been joking or simply dismissive, but he did not maintain whatever he thought as a graduate student throughout his life. No doubt at the time he wrote this he understood what he was intending and believed it, but there is no single notion of impersonality that he never changed.
>>> Chokh Raj 01/12/13 10:10 AM >>>
Some light, that, on Eliot's notion of 'impersonality' ???
the paradox of experience
"And we have the right to say that the world is a construction. Not to say that it is my construction, for in that way 'I' am as much 'my' construction as the world is; but to use the word as best we can without implying any active agent: the world is a construction out of finite centres. Any particular datum can be certain only with regard to what is built upon it, not in itself: and every experience contains the principle of its own self-transcendence. Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself." -- TS Eliot, 'Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F.H. Bradley', Chapter VII. Conclusion. p. 166.
To me the inverted commas around 'absolute' in the quotation tend to modify its (absolute's) meaning. The quotation would mean that while different readers could view a poem in different lights, it was necessary to view it in the light of the 'absolute'.
"[E]ven if a poem meant different things to different readers, it was still necessary to assert its 'absolute' meaning."
- TS Eliot (to Philip Mairet, 31 october, 1956;
the collection of Violet Welton)
A humble endeavor in that direction, TSE!
Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest