Monday, February 20, 2017

Just a piece of rhythmical grumbling

From Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh. Page 14.

Discussing T.S. Eliot and The Wasteland.
The desire to make a cult of a poem in which cryptic and eclectic allusions to a variety of religions abound was in itself symptomatic of the spiritual appetency of the post-war wasteland it evoked, and which Eliot would mock in his later Four Quartets after he had turned to Anglo-Catholicism. According to Eliot the poem was variously 'just a piece of rhythmical grumbling', or as he later admitted, 'I wasn't even bothering whether I understood what I was saying.'
Wish I had known that as a frustrated undergrad when all my English professors were trying to convince me of the significance of The Wasteland. With no intellectual ammunition, I had to hunker down and reserve my opinions.

UPDATE: Apparently authors often did not know what they were doing. From Texas graduate student discovers a Walt Whitman novel lost for more than 150 years by Travis M. Andrews.
Though language in passages of the book mirror that of Whitman’s magnum opus, the form and content are extremely different. Turpin told The Post this serves as “a good reminder that when he was writing ‘Leaves of Grass,’ he didn’t really know what he was writing.”

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