I agree with Ken that, in the poem, it is Prufrock who is being "roasted," and I agree on his analysis of how. My comments were about how critics read that line about Prufrock and so how the line is understood--in the poem.

But in the email it was Roz Kaveney and not for any poetic reason.

I also agree with Eugene that one might have better issues on Easter morning. So Happy Easter to all. And I hope it is a year of genuine renewal for all as well.

>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 04/20/14 11:52 AM >>>
On 4/20/2014 10:55 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
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I am not arguing or advocating for or against women or for or against men but this seems to me to be a very strange discussion on a Sunday morning, especially this morning here in the West when one might hear or read of the holy hush of ancient sacrifice or what some might describe as the old catastrophe; the last echoes from an insurance man in Connecticut.

Curiously, I have always like Eliot's line about the women and Michelangelo because I was a lad when I first heard or read it (thus without benefit of literary or cultural criticism)  and it conjured up an image of some discussing and/or admiring a visual artist or his art.  Gender was unimportant.  I wandered through museums alone and it is was both an otherworldly and historical experience.  I especially liked the Frick and for sone reason they allowed a high school student in unattended; now forbidden.  So in that sense, unaware of social or cultural meaning, I read Eliot for the sound and the "detached" meaning of his poetry.  And that of course may form the foundation of my suggestions here on this List that the poetry is great (and I do not use that word lightly) apart from the explication and biography (though the latter are too endlessly fascinating.)

I'm grateful I read Eliot in the vacuum or cocoon of youth and wonder if the first introduction to poetry in grade and middle schools should be aural; then let the schoolchildren's minds roam.  Only one or two may respond but therein may be the next Eliot or Whitman or Dickinson.

Happy Easter (for the art as well as the religion.)

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 20, 2014, at 10:01 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

In the spirit of positivity, I am answering this as a serious response to a serious question.

No, you do not sense any misandry. And I do not have any problem. If there is a problem, then, it is not mine.

It would be hard to find any gloss on the line about women coming and going, over all of Eliot criticism, that does not describe it as mocking the women. It is seen in the juxtaposition, the doggerel rhythm, the feminine rhyme. The women have always been considered as representing pseudo-intellectual and silly chatter. It runs through practically every book and article on "Prufrock" from the earliest commentaries. It is simply a standard reading. And the doggerel and feminine rhyme really do make it a sudden shift in tone to satire.

         Interesting. I've always read it as a slam on Prufrock's stifled sensibility. Seems to me that everything in the poem is as it is there in relation to Prufrock's condition. We're not getting an objective view or Eliot's view; we're getting the world according to Prufrock, and he is threatened by the women's talk of Michelangelo. He is hugely attracted to them, but does not see them seeing him in the same light and is unable to come to terms with his attraction to them. He sees them unknowingly as separate beings from himself and therefore doesn't grasp the significance of arms downed with light brown hair. The moment he turns away, alarmed, from those hairy arms to speculations about perfume, he loses what could have been his salvation and spirals on down to his imagined integration with the arthropods. It's a comedy. But it's Prufrock who's being roasted at his own pity party.

 Ken A

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