I basically agree with you, both with your thought that Eliot turned people/events from his life into art, and with many of the specific images you identify in TWL.

The one I disagree with is your identification of Mr. Eugenides with Bertrand Russell. In TWL, Mr. Eugenides invites the narrator to lunch at the Cannon Street Hotel followed by a weekend at the Metropole. This is understood to be "code" for a homosexual proposition, Bertrand Russell was a lady's man who had numerous affairs, including one with Eliot's wife Vivienne. It's doubtful that Russell inspired the Mr. Eugenides character.

On the topic of Mr. Eugenides, a big question to answer in TWL is why he appears as one of only a handful of images specifically called out by Madame Sosostris as the narrator's fortune is being (accurately) told. This elevates him to an importance not accorded other figures in the poem who are left out of the told fortune. For example, consider the characters _not_ mentioned by Sosostris, such as Marie, Stetson, the Thames daughters, the young man carbuncular, etc. I believe it's important to understand why the Eugenides character is so prominent in the narrator's "fortune."

-- Tom --

Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 11:31:05 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The Waste Land - a Tarot reading
To: [log in to unmask]

what TWL cards remind me of 

"Here is the man with three staves..." 

The poet -- "What might have been . . ."


"Here, said she, is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor."

The poet -- "What has been . . ."  


"Here is Belladonna, The Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations."

Vivienne, the lady on the 'burnished throne' in A Game of Chess. 

Vis-a-vis her, the poet laments:
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
                                Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

"And here is the one-eyed merchant..." 

Bertrand Russell, the atheist, who doled out help because it was business for him as usual. 

You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 
That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!" 


"I do not find The Hanged Man."

He who was living is now dead  
We who were living are now dying  
With a little patience


"...and here The Wheel..."

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.