From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 11:59 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The " abstract - isolated - human individual" was Can less be more?
On 2/25/2013 4:30 PM, Peter Dillane wrote:
Thanks Carrol will have a proper look later. In Paediatrics it is often said
"there is no such thing as a baby" which suggests at least one industry
I'm not entirely unsure what "this" refers to (I'm tempted to say I'd be more impressed if pediatrics said there was no such thing as a foetus), but the exchange put me in mind of Eliot's intro to Nightwood
. He says of Puritan society past that, "Failure was due to some weakness or perversity peculiar to the individual; but the decent man need have no nightmares. It is now rather more common to assume that all individual misery is the fault of 'society,' and is remediable by alterations from without. Fundamentally the two philosophies, however different they may appear in operation, are the same." I can't help wondering if in trying to sniff out what is abstract and what is more real in terms of individuals and society, this isn't the principle at work. For Eliot, at any rate, the proper tension between real and abstract is indicated in the observation that "so far as we attach ourselves to created objects and surrender our wills to temporal ends, [we] are eaten by the same worm."
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Carrol Cox
Sent: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 7:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The " abstract - isolated - human individual" was Can less be more?
(Comment at end)
Peter Dillane wrote: in the Milton essay you say:
'As Arthos notes Adam and Eve are separated from any historical context, any
web of social relations, [ he] presumably sees this as reflecting a basic
reality, corresponding to the human condition or the permanent (ahistorical)
nature of man, rather than a powerful and necessary illusion grounded in
historically determinate social relations. This latter assumption, however,
would have the advantage of freeing the critic from either engaging in
ideological quarrels with Milton or from attempting to defend Milton or any
other poet for his moral or political profundity,'