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Huck isn't a racist but he accepts the validity of slavery and uses the language of a racist society. If a poet or anyone else uses the language of the society in which is he immersed does that necessarily make him/her complicit in that society's racism?

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 2:57 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I am not, here, making any comment about Eliot's racism. But there is a fundamental difference between a novel with characters who are racists (Huck, by the way, is not, and Twain makes Huck say one of the most telling and powerful statements against racism when he has him apologize to Jim) and a poem in the poet's voice--as in Eliot's description of the Mississippi or several of his comments in critical articles unquestionably in his own voice.
 
So this topic always needs definition. For example, most objections to Anthony Julius's claim that Eliot was anti-Semitic made the irrelevant point that he had Jewish friends and often helped Jewish writers. Nothing Julius said was about that: he argued that Eliot created images of Jews that normalized anti-Semitism.
 
It is very hard to address these issues because, for example, constant propaganda by Hitler that made Jews rats and other vermin clearly helped normalize slaughtering them.
 
In this case, it matters whose voice is being discussed. One could say Yeats's poem is spoken by a person with vile ideas. And to make a broader case, one would need to see if it is a pattern and how the tone of the author emphasizes or treats it.
Nancy

>>> Tom Gray 10/12/15 2:07 PM >>>

Racism winds through "Huckleberry Finn" but is this racism that of Mark Twain? 

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:15 PM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Any attempt to ground  'judgment' of  'literature' in its truth value leads to intellectual chaos. I think I have several times in the past on this list referred to Yeats's "great and vile poem, An Irish Airman foresees His Death." I was not being sarcastic.  An identical description  applies to Griffith's "Great and vile movie." Commentary on either work may 'use' the work to grasp a 'truth' not directly available in the work itself. But that is another topic.

This is the context in which to view the post below. It would be unfair to Eliot as a poet _not_ to recognize the racism that winds through his work. It rears its head several times in 4Q; the list of floating objects in the Mississippi is a direct reference to events in St. Louis in 1919.

Carrol


-----Original Message-----
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Carrol Cox
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2015 8:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: T.S. Eliot really liked, etc.

Eliot's rather repellant racism is more or less a given. Few if any U.S. poets aren't stained by it.

Read up on the 1919 St. Louis Massacres.

Carrol

-----Original Message-----
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2015 8:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: T.S. Eliot really liked, etc.

Regarding the language of the  Brer Rabbit/Possum correspondence, I think what can get lost or underplayed in the scholarly apparatus is the x factor that Auden highlighted when he said that a poet is someone who likes to see words playing together. Kind of a joie de vivre thing.

KA

On Oct 11, 2015 5:21 PM, "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> On Sun, 11 Oct 2015 12:09:30 -0700, P <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> >Still not quite there.  Lots of animals feign inactivity. Why choose this one in particular?
>
> This one is a character in the Uncle Remus stories (Brer Possum). Pound may have liked the characters and accents and wanted to play with them. You're on the Pound list. Ask them.
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Uncle_Remus_characters