Carrol wrote: "no reader will come close to understanding Eliot’s work by
ignoring the fear of women, especially of women who dare to think"

Eliot's fear of women who dare to think? - Wow! That's news!


On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> [Preceding post sent by accident.]
> "The PRUFROCK line obviously refers to a certain class/type of women only."
> .----------
> This is ahistorical nonsense. Consider the final reference to Mrs. Jellyby
> in Bleak House: One _could_ say that it referred to "certain class/type of
> women only," but to advance that as a "defense" of Dickens would not only
> be nonsense but in fact an insult to Dickens and a profound
> misinterpretation of a very great novel. That passage is in fact a terribly
> wrong attack on _all_ women, and to say otherwise is illiterate and shows a
> failure to understand history even in a rough way. Darwin was a racist:
> that does not affect the great significance of his theoretical work: it
> merely recognizes a fact. Eliot was _also_ racist, 'sexist,' and (perhaps)
> aggressively misogynous. (The last appears elsewhere than Prufrock; that
> is, I don't think Prufrock exhibits misogyny but it does exhibit serious
> contempt for women who pretend to be intellectuals. And the subject line
> for this thread _also_ is contemptible in and of itself; the subject of
> debate is Eliot's poetry: or at least that should be the subject but
> whoever coined this subject line let the cat out of the bag as it were: it
> was an attempt to poison the wells of discourse by shifting from the
> subject (Eliot’s poetry) to the character of the critic.
> Bleak House is a great novel, Prufrock a fascinating poem: it is an insult
> to both to ignore their grounding in gender attitudes specific to their
> age. One honors a writer by attempting to understand his work: no reader
> will come close to understanding Eliot’s work by ignoring the fear of
> women, especially of women who dare to think, that winds through his work.
> The line from Prufrock (quite aside from Eliot’s personal problems with
> women) echoes similar perspectives in James, Pound, Frost,  Yeats,
> Faulkner, Ford, among many others. Women were to be Muses, not poets. (To
> see this in its most naked from, look up a best seller of the 1940s,
> Phillip Wylie, Generation of Vipers; also see an essay by two
> psychoanalysts, one a woman, included in the Norton edition of
> Wollstonecraft – I forget their names.)
> I disagree with some of the points Kaveney  raises, but to focus on her
> gender & quote Prufrock against her is simply contemptible.
> Carrol