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Makes sense. I was wholly intrigued.
Thanks,
CR

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The Hollow Men has always been a bore for me -- but Vendler's  commentary
makes me rethink it. What  do others think?

Here is that part of her review:


Self-definition by trade or profession is expressed with such sarcasm by
Eliot because there exists no worldly trade-name for a poet. The poet-or at
least this poet-is a hollow man, having neither a commercial profession nor
a religious vocation, balked of both. Once The Waste Land had been
completed, and the broken self was evacuated, Eliot writes his own
(collective) epitaph:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw,
Alas! Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Paralyzed, the hollow men cannot actualize any potential, sexual or
creative; their every effort is blocked, their very lines falter:

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow.

The voice falls silent after a futile attempt to finish the Lord's Prayer,
breaking up in static as it utters its final whimper:

For thine is
Life is
For
Thine is the

Beneath Eliot's letters in the second volume-so preoccupied with journalism
on the left and marital horror on the right-one hears the hollow men's
meaningless whispers. Eliot is heading toward religion, but is unable as yet
to carry a religious utterance through to finality. In a letter in 1925 to
Herbert Read, Eliot sets out the dangers of pursuing a religious identity:

Of course the religious difficulty is the great one and it is impossible to
tell what one's solution will be....