And yet I must compliment Peter Montgomery for this wonderful insight --
a state of fugue in which the 'unconscious' is free to cull up fragments
from its stock of memories and put them in an order that suits it best.
When the poet recovers from that state he makes what he can of
what the 'unconscious' (in a state of duress) has expressed.
"The Waste Land as Ground," indeed!
Now don't I surprise you, Peter? ;-)
No, it does not leave to the reader to make whatever he/she would make of it. There are enough signposts.
Of course, by 'madness' I meant whatever form it takes.
Sent from my iPhone
There is a method to this madness, if madness it be.
It is just not random ramshackle curiosity shop.
It is a work of art.
Sent from my iPhone
sure how relevant mental health analysis actually is. This is more of a fragmented cultures rammed together and laid out for whatever the reader synthesises.
Peter Dillane <[log in to unmask]
Thanks Nancy and Peter,
I am not sure how much it helps me in a reading of the
poem, but I will think about it a bit. As a diagnosis it suffers from the
taxonomy difficulties of psychiatry which is at about the level of
specificity of internal medicine in the early 20 th century. ( and which DSM -
now V, how many Rocky movies were there?- does not help you with much)
Fugue states, as you note, are one form of dissociation. I have studied the
early 20th C psychiatry on this and written on Eliot and dissociation, but I do
not think it makes sense to call the whole poem that. For one thing, it's
amnesia. But Eliot does have images throughout the early poetry that correspond
to clinical descriptions of dissociation; it is not only fugues and is far too
complex to describe here. But to use the term calls for what you studied; it's
not a clear term to apply to a whole poem.
>>> Peter Dillane <[log in to unmask]> 08/19/13 8:23 AM
I know Nancy has had a fair bit to say about fugue states in the past, but
I will put in my little bit for what its worth.
When I trained in psychiatry (not that I did much - one year undergraduate
and I did do a couple of years post graduate training ) it was said that the
amount of psychiatric illness in a community stays about the same but
expresses itself in different ways from time to time. Dissociative states
are not so common latterly - although in this country we took a lot of
people from Bosnia after the troubles there and we did see fugue states. I
have only one patient now ( my clinetele runs to about 2500 ) a middle
aged man from Lebanon who had a bad time in his adolescence who has had
continuing fugue symptoms.
No I dont know what it all means by the way.
----- Original Message -----
From: "P" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 4:34 PM
Subject: TWL as ground.
> My meditation on TWL as ground has reminded me of a Mayoress of a small
> town who disappeared. After living a life elsewhere she suddenly surfaced
> without remembering her other life, or something like that. Such an
> episode is called a fugue.
> It seems to me that TWL can be seen as a fugue. Not the person having the
> fugue but the structure of the fugue itself into which anyone can fit.
> Here is Wikipedia:
> "A fugue state, formally dissociative fugue or psychogenic fugue
> Dissociative Disorders 300.13), is a rare psychiatric disorder
> characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the
> memories, personality and other identifying characteristics of
> individuality. The state is usually short-lived (ranging from hours to
> days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves
> unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the
> establishment of a new identity.
> After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact, but
> there is typically amnesia for the fugue episode. Additionally, an episode
> of fugue is not characterized as attributable to a psychiatric disorder if
> it can be related to the ingestion of psychotropic substances, to physical
> trauma, to a general medical condition, or to psychiatric conditions such
> as delirium, dementia, bipolar disorder or depression. Fugues are usually
> precipitated by a stressful episode, and upon recovery there may be
> amnesia for the original stressor (dissociative amnesia)."