Dear Pete,  

There are two places where I give a basic background on dissociation. My
article in Cassadra's and my book, T. S. Eliot and Desire, Gender, and
Sexuality (Cambridge 2004) also traces his use of the term and his own
imagery. But it is not on TWL. It is connected with "hysteria" (as then
defined) in my article on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (this is on line and
you can just put in my name and the book title, and it comes up): that
is, of course, about dissociation as including duality. I also discuss
it in my article on "Gerontion" as a prelude to TWL in the Cambridge
Scholars book edited by Paul Douglas. That is short because it was
originally a conference paper, but it does focus on TWL.

Sorry about listing my own stuff, but if you are interested, the notes
also send you to what was being said and thought then on the topic. 

I'd love to hear your reaction to In Parenthesis. So little has been
written on it even now--a couple books by Dilworth and one in 2007 by
Paul Robichaud. But it is truly a great poem, as Eliot, Yeats, and Auden
all attested. I find it much more difficult at first than TWL because of
the kinds of sources he uses. But the narrative of the war itself is so
vivid and visual. I would think it would be very apt to look at it from
a figure ground distinction if one sees all those ancient Welsh sources
as ground and the experience of John Ball as figure (or maybe the

>>> Peter Dillane  08/20/13 11:35 PM >>>
Thanks Nancy, when last you posted on this some years ago Imeant to
follow up some of this for personal interest more than any
connectionwith  The Waste Land.   So this is a useful outline to follow 
-withthanks.  I cant explain  to myself  yet what I think about fuguein
the context of reading the poem.  I am interested in figure
grounddistinctions in the plastic arts so I will tinker with my thoughts
a bit but Imust say I have not felt compelled to shore up the fragments
with thisorganizing idea. Maybe I*m failing an empathy test. By the way
I havestarted reading In Parenthesis and finding it rewarding.
Cheers Pete
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Nancy Gish
Sent: Wednesday, 21 August 2013 5:29 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: TWL as ground.


My research and commentary is all based in what was then
clinicaldefinition--especially by Janet because his work was very
important in Bostonand explains Eliot's images far better than others.
But the study of"hysteria" was a major project during and just after
WW1, and forJanet it was always a form of dissociation. Vittoz's book
was a kind of watereddown Janet, and Eliot specifically went to him
rather than to a psychoanalyst.So I am not trying to offer a diagnosis,
only what was then thought aboutdissociation and what was a major topic
in Harvard when Eliot was a graduatestudent in the department that
William James was in. And James was influencedby Janet, whom he invited
to Harvard in 1906. I don't think one can apply ideasof psychiatry now
to any of it with any specificity, but Janet, Freud, andBabinski, by
1910  and after, were all very specific in what theyconsidered it meant,
and Eliot knew the first two at least.

>>> Peter Dillane 08/20/13 2:05 AM >>>

Thanks Nancy and Peter,
I am not sure how much it helps me in a reading of  thepoem, but I will
think about it a bit. As a diagnosis it suffers from thetaxonomy
difficulties of psychiatry  which is at about the level ofspecificity 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)
Cheers Pete
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Nancy Gish
Sent: Tuesday, 20 August 2013 5:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: TWL as ground.


Fugue states, as you note, are one form of dissociation. I have studied
theearly 20th C psychiatry on this and written on Eliot and
dissociation, but I donot think it makes sense to call the whole poem
that. For one thing, it'samnesia. But Eliot does have images throughout
the early poetry that correspondto clinical descriptions of
dissociation; it is not only fugues and is far toocomplex to describe
here. But to use the term calls for what you studied; it'snot a clear
term to apply to a whole poem.

>>> Peter Dillane  08/19/13 8:23 AM>>>
Hey Peter

I know Nancy has had a fair bit to say about fugue states in the past,
I will put in my little bit for what its worth.

When I trained in psychiatry (not that I did much - one year
and I did do a couple of years post graduate training ) it was said that
amount of psychiatric illness in a community stays about the same but 
expresses itself in different ways from time to time. Dissociative
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.
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.

cheers Pete

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "P" 
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
> town who disappeared. After living a life elsewhere she suddenly
> 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
> fugue but the structure of the fugue itself into which anyone can fit.

> Here is Wikipedia:
> "A fugue state, formally dissociative fugue or psychogenic
> Dissociative Disorders 300.13[1]), is a rare psychiatric disorder 
> characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including
> 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
> unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the 
> establishment of a new identity.
> After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact,
> there is typically amnesia for the fugue episode. Additionally, an
> of fugue is not characterized as attributable to a psychiatric
disorder if
> it can be related to the ingestion of psychotropic substances, to
> trauma, to a general medical condition, or to psychiatric conditions
> as delirium, dementia, bipolar disorder or depression. Fugues are
> precipitated by a stressful episode, and upon recovery there may be 
> amnesia for the original stressor (dissociative amnesia)."
> P