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Lecture 05 - The Enchainment of Past and Future
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Lecture 05 - The Enchainment of Past and Future

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Fifth lecture for my students in English 140, UC Santa Barbara, Summer 2012. Course website: http://patrickbrianmooney.nfshost.com/~patrick/ta/su12/index.html

Fifth lecture for my students in English 140, UC Santa Barbara, Summer 2012. Course website: http://patrickbrianmooney.nfshost.com/~patrick/ta/su12/index.html

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  • 1. Lecture 5: The Enchainment of Past and Future English 140 Summer Session B, 2012 13 August 2012 “We also insist that politics demands complex thinking and that poetry is an arena for such thinking: a place to explore the constitution of meaning, of self, of groups, of nations,—of value.” ― Charles Bernstein, “Revenge of the Poet-Critic” (1999)
  • 2. Some poetic terminology ...Had we but world enough, and time,This coyness, lady, were no crime.We would sit down, and think which wayTo walk, and pass our long loves day.Thou by the Indian Ganges’ sideShoudst rubies find; I by the tideOf Humber would complain. I wouldLove you ten years before the flood,And you should, if you please, refuseTill the conversion of the Jews. – Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress” (1651?)
  • 3. Had we but world enough, and time,This coyness, lady, were no crime.We would sit down, and think which wayTo walk, and pass our long loves day.Thou by the Indian Ganges’ sideShoudst rubies find; I by the tideOf Humber would complain. I wouldLove you ten years before the flood,And you should, if you please, refuseTill the conversion of the Jews. – Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress” (1651?)
  • 4. The poem’s epigraphτοῦ λόγου δὲ ἐόντος ξυνοῦ ζώουσιν οἱ πολλοίὡς ἰδίαν ἔχοντες φρόνησιν (“Though wisdom is common, the many live as if they have wisdom of their own.”)ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή (“The way upward and the way downward are one and the same.”) —Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος (Heraclitos of Ephesus)
  • 5. Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)● American expatriate who stayed in England after spending time there as a student during WWI.● Probably best known for “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) and The Waste Land (1922).● Nobel Prize for Literature (1948), Order of Merit (1948), Tony Award (1950 and twice in 1983), Legion of Honor (1951), Presidential Eliot in 1934. Photo by Lady Ottoline Medal of Freedom (1964). Morrell.
  • 6. The Four Quartets● Originally published separately as “Burnt Norton” (1936), “East Coker” (1940), “The Dry Salvages” (1941), and “Little Gidding” (1942). First collected in 1943.● In music, a “quartet” is a way of arranging four instruments or voices so as to produce melodious harmonies. ● Eliot uses the “quartet” as a metaphor for the structure of the poems to highlight the way that various tonal and metaphoric strands interact in each poem.● Each poem also connects back to previous poems in the series by revisiting themes and employing similar devices.
  • 7. Note that “Burnt Norton” both begins and ends with a meditation on time: Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future; And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. (117; lines 1-5) [……………………………………………] Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after. (122; lines 174-5)● The poem contains many philosophical and religious mediations about time.
  • 8. Note that “Burnt Norton” both begins and endswith a meditation on time: / / – – / / Time present and time past – / – / // –/ – – Are both perhaps present in time future; – / / – – / – / / And – time future contained in time past. – / / – / – / – If all time is eternally present / / – – – / – All time is unredeemable. (117; lines 1-5) [……………………………………………] Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after. (122; lines 174-5)The poem contains many philosophical andreligious mediations about time.
  • 9. Each of the Quartets has a similar five-part structure:i. Scenes of action and movement, combined with meditations on time, with fleeting glimpses of timelessness. (A comparatively long section.)ii. An episode of dissatisfaction with worldly experience. (A comparatively long section.)iii. Purgation in the world, divesting the soul of the love of created things. (A comparatively long section.)iv. A lyric prayer for, or affirmation of the need of, Intercession. (A short section; usually an emotional, self-contained lyric, sometimes associated in some way with Mary, mother of Jesus.)v. The problems of attaining artistic wholeness and, at the same time, the problems of achieving spiritual health. (Normally a rhetorically elevated restatement of the poems themes with a conclusion. A comparatively long section.)
  • 10. Media creditsThe photo of T.S. Eliot on slide 5 was taken in1934 by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Its copyright hasexpired. Original source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Stearns_ Eliot_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell_%281934%29.jpg

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