I think Emily Hale put it best, when talking about TSE to her students at Scripps College just before TSE's visit there in January 1933: She called him "a man of extremes." -- Jim -------------------------------------------- On Thu, 8/6/15, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Subject: Re: Letter of Recommendation: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' To: [log in to unmask] Date: Thursday, August 6, 2015, 6:04 PM I agree about the public/private conflicts, but they were not consistent either. He was, for example, variably kind to Djuna Barnes--writing with admiration about Nightwood but--in her experience--betraying that later when he was both dismissive and a bit cold to her about a later book. And he was not always kind to others in private life, in fact, not at all to many. But he was, as you say, not just one persona. I think the sustained affirmation of Maurras was a part of that "ugly politics," if Ken Ascher is at all accurate--and he has pretty serious evidence. What seems important to me is that he was clearly not a single (and thus simple) person; he was as complicated as the poems and always, I think, conflicted. Nancy >>> James Loucks <[log in to unmask]> 08/06/15 5:23 PM >>> You make a very valuable point, Nancy. There is also the public/private dichotomy: in his private life, he was invariably kind, generous and sympathetic to deserving young writers, for instance, and to people who were very ill, or who had fallen into unfortunate circumstances. His deeply held faith tended, as well, to modulate his public acts and activities, it seems to me. And regarding Maurras: he later said that despite Maurras’s shortcomings including his not being an ardent Catholic, he (Maurras) saw the positive social value and culturally unifying effect of the Church in France. -- Jim From: Nancy Gish Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2015 4:37 PM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: Letter of Recommendation: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' I am interested in the fact that this was written without any checking: "Eliot’s ugly politics couldn’t diminish the radical, explosive force of his poetry." I have been delighted to see that Robert Crawford's new biography of the "young Eliot" affirms also what I have thought for years: that at the time of "Prufrock" Eliot was not the person whose politics later became "ugly." In fact, in 1919 he called himself a "liberal" and also said that although at home he was a conservative, in England he was a "Labourite." He seemed to change pretty drastically between then and 1924 when he said he was "all for Empire" and very reactionary. While he read Maurras in the Paris year and, as Ascher claims, remained influenced by it all his life, he also read Bergson that year, and at the time of writing "Prufrock," he said, he was "completely Bergsonian." He was reading widely and thinking through very contrasting ideas. The reactionary and no doubt "ugly" politics (and even those were somewhat mixed) came later. Crawford's book looks very intensively at the person he was up through TWL, and the person who wrote "Prufrock" did not have the thorough and seemingly complete world view of the later Eliot--in fact, was "completely Bergsonian" by his own account. The "radically explosive force" did not then conflict with his politics as it may have with the older person who wrote the late poems. Nancy >>> "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]> 08/06/15 3:19 PM >>> He probably meant Arnold. Good to see in the underlying piece that we are getting away from the usual image of Prufrock as pathetically comic and interestingly bland. As I have said here in the past I credit Prufrock (and therefore Eliot as his creator) with more of an inner life. Just his (Prufrock's and Eliot's) capability to evoke so much in the poem belies the usual famous analysis. N.B. I also think Arnold is famously misunderstood. Sent from my iPhone > On Aug 6, 2015, at 3:05 PM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > > James Loucks: Do you mean as in the ancient test for pure gold? Or the Arnoldian literary touchstone? -- Jim Loucks > > It's been 50+ years since I read "The Forsaken Merman" -- which might have an interesting connection with "Till human voices wake us. . . ." Some bright under-grad might work on it. > > Carrol > > > > > From: P <[log in to unmask]> > To: [log in to unmask] > Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2015 12:18 PM > Subject: Re: Letter of Recommendation: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' > > > Prufrock is touchstone. > P. > > > > >> On 6 Aug 2015 5:10 am, "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> >> Another recommendation: >> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock.html?_r=0 <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock.html?_r=0> >> >> The New York Times Magazine >> Letter of Recommendation: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' >> August 6, 2015 >> By Mark Levine >> >> Mark Levine has written for the magazine since 2002. His new book of poems, ‘‘Travels of Marco,’’ will be published in 2016. >> >> >> The last paragraph: >> >> I lost myself in its winding passageways and felt momentarily reunited with my teenage self, transported into a world of frightening, delirious possibility. ‘‘Prufrock’’ could restore me to the primal necessities of poetry like nothing else. It wasn’t the same poem I discovered years earlier, nor the poem my students read, but with disarming specificity, ‘‘Prufrock’’ remained capable of speaking to an enduring desire for something larger than myself, made available through the shape-shifting powers of the imagination. ‘‘Why is the poem called a love song?’’ a student asked. It was a good question. I turned to the class. ‘‘Is Prufrock in love?’’ Long silence. Then a student spoke: ‘‘Yes,’’ she said. ‘‘In love with poetry.’’ >> >> A version of this article appears in print on August 9, 2015, on page MM20 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’.