The use of "forgivable" in this phrase does not mean that anyone is "forgiving" Eliot as an individual. It simply means that the fact of bad poetry at 17 is in a general sense a forgivable event. As I noted, I can "forgive" the very bad poetry of Keats or MacDiarmid for their first tries. No one is being theological or judicial. It's a common expression. One might say of a small child that a tantrum is forgivable because of age; adults lying on their backs and screaming and kicking are probably not forgivable. This is a pointless red herring.
But we are all in a position to evaluate any poet or poetry. One "forgives" Pound his Facism, I presume, in order to appreciate the poetry. This is hardly comparable. But I presume my own love of Eliot's work always includes a similar "forgiving" of its inclusion of misogynist images and many views I think wrong. In fact, it is no doubt the very mixed and struggling person who was able to write like that. He was not a saint or a god but an often very troubled human. The word--and many English words--is used in many ways, as you know. And you know better than to read it this way for any serious reason. In a moral sense, I don't forgive Eliot at all or not forgive him for things I consider wrong (I never met him and have no personal stake--nor do you I presume): I study the work. This is about the poetry, though I have no idea why there should need to be any explanation.
Whatever is the point of making an issue of something so clearly not an issue?
I have written this in this way because I do not explain in the face of mere meanness but for a genuine debate or discussion.
Nancy>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>02/19/13 9:32 AM >>>
Rosen cites only Poems Written in Early Youth for the two stanzas quoted with no further mention of the poem in the article.
My initial reaction to it was that I hoped Eliot wasn't the author of the extended poem, but really, I can't see why it's unfortunate or how any one of us would be in a position to "forgive" him.
On 2/18/2013 10:56 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
[log in to unmask] type="cite">
Does he have a source or citation? That's interesting; unfortunate if he wrote all that awful stuff, but forgivable at 17.
N>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>02/18/13 8:11 PM >>>
Rosen in the Modern Language Quarterly article from 2003 quotes the first two stanzas of the graduation poem and writes:
Neither this poem nor “Convictions,” for obvious reasons, made it into
Eliot’s official canon. These stanzas are excerpted from a much longer
piece Eliot wrote for his high school graduation (1905),....<[log in to unmask]>