I think you might reread Gordon. She never says Eliot was perfect. But the
desire to achieve a "perfect life" and thus unite with god was definitely
the purpose of many mystics and certainly those Eliot read and quoted such
as Julian of Norwich and St. John of the Cross. It does not mean to *be*
god; it means to achieve a perfect life while human.

And Gordon is not trying to read poems back into the life. She is drawing
on a lifetime of Eliot's prose, poetry, personal communications, letters. .
. .

This does not address what she says.

On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 10:34 AM, Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Only God is perfect.
> Eliot believed in the fallen state of 'man.'
> We can only aspire for a perfect state though we can never attain to it.
>             "to apprehend
> The point of intersection of the timeless
> With time, is an occupation for the saint—
> No occupation either, but something given
> And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
> Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
> For most of us, there is only the unattended
> Moment, the moment in and out of time,
> The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
> The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
> Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
> That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
> While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
> Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
> Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
> The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
> Here the impossible union
> Of spheres of existence is actual,
> Here the past and future
> Are conquered, and reconciled,
> Where action were otherwise movement
> Of that which is only moved
> And has in it no source of movement—
> Driven by daemonic, chthonic
> Powers. And right action is freedom
> From past and future also.
> For most of us, this is the aim
> Never here to be realised;
> Who are only undefeated
> Because we have gone on trying;
> We, content at the last
> If our temporal reversion nourish
> (Not too far from the yew-tree)
> The life of significant soil."
> The closing lines here seem to vindicate Ken.
> Regards,
> CR
> On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> The publication--and imminent publication of more--of Eliot's* Letters*
>> and *Complete Prose *is transforming our understanding of the poetry as
>> well as the life. And still a great deal is not going to be available or
>> public for a long time. Gordon knows this material, including a lot that is
>> not generally accessible, better than just about anyone (except maybe a few
>> like Ron Schuchard and those who administer Eliot's estate). If she makes
>> the term central, she would have reason.
>> Nancy
>> On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 9:48 AM, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]
>> > wrote:
>>> Some interesting observations in this address, CR. Too bad the old Eliot
>>> concordance isn't up on the Missouri site (it isn't, is it?), because I'd
>>> like to put the term "perfection" in for a search and see what comes up, if
>>> anything. Off the top of my imperfect head, I don't remember E using that
>>> term in the poetry. Can't pretend to have read all the voluminous prose.
>>> But whatever those results might be, I've never thought TSE was offering
>>> the presentation of an alternative life but trying to display instead the
>>> actual context of this life. Still, a good hook to ruminate on.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Ken A
>>> On 7/13/2016 9:18 AM, Chanan Mittal wrote:
>>>> A retrospect
>>>> Lyndall Gordon: Eliot's Search for Perfection
>>>> The first Eliot Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Literature on
>>>> 27 February 2003: '“What Might Have Been and What Has Been”: Eliot's Search
>>>> for Perfection'.
>>>> CR