The male speaker is also hysterical: his words could be taken straight
from an early 20th medical text on hysteria. The uncontrollable laughter
of the woman would have been a symptom of hysteria, while the male
speaker experiences a kind of hallucination of being swallowed--also a
symptom of hysteria. 

>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> 10/31/2013 6:02 AM >>>
courting hysteria

If the poem was composed in 1915 just before marriage, it might have
been occasioned by a moment of embarrassed courtship of a lady subject
to hysteria.


On Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:23 PM, Nancy Gish
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

"Hysteria," according to Gordon, was written in Oxford just before
Eliot married Viv. It is unlikely he already was preoccupied with her
I would be interested in your source for this claim about getting teeth
out for sexual reasons--and a very unlikely effect. But the English had
notoriously bad teeth for a very long time because of so much sugar in

>>> Chokh Raj 10/30/13 10:54 AM >>>
In 'Hysteria' Eliot wrote of the woman's teeth as "accidental stars".

And in the Lil section of A Game Of Chess: 

Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart.  
He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you  
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.  
//You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,// 
He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you.  
And no more can’t I, I said, and think of poor Albert, 
He’s been in the army four years, he wants a good time,  
And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will, I said.  
Oh is there, she said. Something o’ that, I said. 
Then I’ll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look. 

I wonder if any critic has pointed to the practice (then?) among
(certain?) young women of having their teeth "all out" in order to
provide more sucking/kissing/oral sex (?) pleasure to their partners? Or
taken note of this aspect of social life? As does Eliot, perhaps? 

And, was Eliot alluding to the "accidental stars" of his first wife,
Vivien, in 'Hysteria"?