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Tone and voice in T.S. Eliot’s early poetry and prose Cooper, John Xiros 1984

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TONE AND VOICE IN T. S. ELIOT'S EARLY POETRY AND PROSE by JOHN XIROS COOPER B.A., S i r George Williams U n i v e r s i t y , 1970 M.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE .OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of En g l i s h ) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1984 (?) John X i r o s Cooper, 1984 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requ i rements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I agree t ha t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copy ing o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g ran ted by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s unders tood t h a t copy ing o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l ga in s h a l l not be a l l owed w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f E n g l i s h  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver , Canada V6T 1Y3 Date 1 March 1984 E-6 (3/81"> Abstract This study examines 'tone' and 'voice' in T. S. Eliot's early poetry and prose from sociological and historical perspectives. A procedural framework is proposed drawn from recent work in the sociology of knowl-edge, social anthropology, and the sociology of language which helps to elucidate the specific relationship between a literary text and the concrete historical moment in which i t is lodged. In this study a literary work is not conceived of as a discrete textual object, but as a signifying practice which shares with all uses of language the important feature of occurring in a particular social context that is already always deeply inscribed with meaning. The shared knowledge of this system of meaning in a society I call 'common intuitive l i f e ' . Works of art impinge on the common intuitive life as operations, of certain, specific kinds, on this system of settled significations. I argue that Eliot's early work actively aimed to subvert, disrupt, and, ultimately, transform the aesthetic and socio-political regions of the common intui-tive life of bourgeois society. This study, thus, contests the tradi-tional critical practice of assigning to Eliot's enactments of experience in his poetry and to his formulations of critical axioms in his prose a universalist or essentialist value. Instead his early work is read as embodying more limited aesthetic and cultural practices, which, on occasion, use universal ist notions, like myth, instrumentally in the service of the more limited project. i i i "Hearing the dissonances" introduces the concept of 'tone' and explores the paradoxical services this notion has rendered Anglo-American formalism from I. A. Richards to American 'new criticism 1. This chapter rethinks 'tone' sociologically. "The destruction of 'literature'" examines "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" as Eliot's witty attempt to annul late Romantic notions of the 'literary' and of the verbal practices which follow from such notions. "Undermining the foundations" extends this analysis to other short poems and ends with a discussion of a fragment of The waste Land, bringing to bear concepts and themes developed in previous chapters and looking forward to the fuller treat-ment of The waste Land in Chapter Five. Chapter Four, "An incessant activity," examines tone and form in The sacred wood, discovering and interpreting the overall unity of this signal text as a function of its iconoclastic encounter with settled notions and theories of literature and literary practice. "A deep closed song; or the argument of The waste Land" examines Eliot's early masterpiece as a work whose unity lies, not in putative intrinsic coherences, but in its relationship to the common intuitive life of bourgeois readers in post-Great War England. The chapter, in short, explores the poem's negative or dialogical 'unity'. The study concludes in "A very long perspective" with a brief discussion of "Ash Wednesday" and For Lancelot Andrewes. It assesses the mutations of tone and voice consonant with Eliot's migration in English society from an uneasy marginality to a socially and institutionally more central place. iv But I have seen the birth and death of several purely literary periodicals; and I say of all of them that in isolating the concept of literature they destroy the life of literature. . . . Even the purest literature is alimented from non-literary sources, and has non-literary consequences. Pure literature is a chimera of sensation; admit the vestige of an idea and it is already transformed. . . . We must include besides 'creative' work and literary criticism, any material which should be operative on general ideas—the results of contemporary work in history, archaeology, anthropology, even the more technical sciences when those results are of such a nature to be valuable to the man of general culture and when they can be intelligible to him. T. S. Eliot, "The Idea of a Literary Review," The New criterion 4 (January 1926): 3-4. V Table of Contents Abbreviations v i Acknowledgements v i i Preface 1 Chapter One: Hearing the dissonances 15 Chapter Two: The d e s t r u c t i o n of " l i t e r a t u r e " 53 Chapter Three: Undermining the foundations 97 Chapter Four: An incessant a c t i v i t y 157 Chapter F i v e : A deep closed song; or the argument of The waste Land 207 Chapter S i x : A very long perspective 302 Works Ci t e d 321 vi Abbreviat ions ASG After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy, 1934 CP Collected Poems, 1909-1962, 1963 FLA For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on Style and Order, 1928 Idea The Idea of a Christian Society, 1939 KE Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley, [1915], 1964 Notes Notes towards the Definition of Culture, 1948 PP On Poetry and Poets, 1957 SE Selected Essays, 1932 SW The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, 1920 TCC To Criticize the Critic, 1965 Youth Poems Written in Early Youth, 1967 Acknowledgements Over the four years this study has been in preparation many people have contributed to its completion. The Graduate Committee in the Department of English has been most helpful and its present Chairman, Professor Hulcoop, especially so. I also thank the members of my supervisory committee, Professors Graham Good and Peter Quartermain, and Professor Ross at an earlier stage, for their discerning comments and suggestions. To Professor Keith Alldritt, my supervisor, I owe a special debt for his constant encouragement, sound advice, and penetrating criticism. To Cheryl Cooper I owe a debt that goes beyond words. However, any errors that remain, of fact or judgement, infelicities of thought and expression, are entirely my own responsibility. 1 Preface This study examines voice and tone i n T. S. E l i o t ' s e a r l y poetry and prose. The category of 'tone' i n v i t e s the clo s e s c r u t i n y of a work's concrete r e l a t i o n s h i p with a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i o - h i s t o r i c a l context. My work develops a s o c i o l o g i c a l approach to the study of l i t e r a r y tone and v o i c e . I t does t h i s i n a s c h o l a r l y and c r i t i c a l context dominated by t r a d i t i o n s of reading and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n v a r i o u s l y c a l l e d " p r a c t i c a l c r i t i c i s m , " "new c r i t i c i s m , " and, the term I adopt, "Anglo-American formalism." By "Anglo-American formalism" I mean that t r a d i t i o n of reading and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n that operates on the assumption that a work of l i t e r a t u r e i s a d i s c r e t e , s e l f - c o n t a i n e d t e x t u a l object whose meaning i s generated as the r e s u l t of the e n t i r e l y i n t r i n s i c a c t i o n of the language of the t e x t , recuperable formal p a t t e r n s , and the unique i n s t a n c i n g of conventional features (Fekete 1977: 85-98; Michaels 1980: 410-420; Fowler 1981: 186-187). My study opposes t h i s view. The dominance of t h i s formalism i n the academic s e t t i n g where l i t e r a t u r e i s read and discussed has forced a c e r t a i n polemical tone to creep i n t o my work and i n t o my formulation of a c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e that i s s t i l l very much a m i n o r i t y p r a c t i c e i n North America, though l e s s so i n most other academic communities i n the world. For my purposes, a work of l i t e r a t u r e i s not conceived of as a d i s c r e t e t e x t u a l object but shares with a l l uses of language the c r u c i a l feature of always o c c u r r i n g i n a communicative context. By t h i s I do 2 not mean that a t e x t must be read against a communicative background. This would be to r e s u r r e c t c e r t a i n p r e - f o r m a l i s t t r a d i t i o n s of reading against which the r e i g n i n g formalism was f i r s t minted i n the 1920s and 1930s. The communicative context i s not simply a separable background, recovered i n c r i t i c i s m as separable events, o b j e c t s , and i n d i v i d u a l s a f f e c t i n g the d i s c r e t e t e x t , e i t h e r at the l e v e l of naive r e f e r e n t i a l i t y or at the l e v e l of general ideas. The communicative context shapes a t e x t as a whole and pervades a l l i t s i n d i v i d u a l elements and parts ( F i r t h 1957: 181-182; Fowler 1981: 191-192). For example, a t e x t does not simply speak; i t addresses p a r t i c u l a r readers whom the author conceives of i n c e r t a i n ways, beginning with the often t a c i t a u t h o r i a l assumption that readers already always have something i n t h e i r h e a d s -l i k e expectations of what a l i t e r a r y t e x t should be--with which h i s or her own t e x t w i l l have to set up some s o r t of d e t a i l e d r e l a t i o n s h i p (Eco 1979b: 7-11). S i m i l a r l y , the language of a l i t e r a r y work i s u n i n t e r -pretable save i n the context of the l i n g u i s t i c usages of a p a r t i c u l a r community, and i n the context of r e l a t i o n s h i p s the t e x t sets up with those changing usages and the normal expectations i m p l i e d i n e s t a b l i s h e d verbal p r a c t i c e s . Again, modes of formal and generic p a t t e r n i n g make no sense unless read as s e t t i n g up motivated r e l a t i o n s h i p s with s e t t l e d p r i n c i p l e s and p r a c t i c e s that d i s t i n g u i s h the patterned from the amorphous, noise from sound, order from chaos. The communicative context which makes sense of a t e x t i t s e l f occurs w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i e t y . This study conceives of s o c i e t y i n two dimensions: as a m u l t i - l e v e l s t r u c t u r e i n continuous h i s t o r i c a l t ransformation (a conventional enough notion) and as a s t r u c t u r e of 3 i n t e n t i o n a l i t y generated by the f u l l measure of human agency i n the form of human Praxis (Lowe 1982: 17-18). I want to i n s i s t on t h i s l a t t e r dimension of s o c i e t y because very o f t e n an approach such as the one I take i n t h i s study i s accused of d i s s o l v i n g the i n d i v i d u a l i n impersonal and mechanistic forces of production, or laws of h i s t o r y . The human being i s n e i t h e r a puppet awkwardly dangling on t h i n wires descending from the laws of h i s t o r i c a l change, nor a nervous mask grimacing i n pains and pleasures o c c a s i o n a l l y e r u p t i n g from the depths of the unconscious. I t has been a weakness of h i s t o r i c i s t and m a t e r i a l i s t approaches i n the human sciences t h a t they have not i n s i s t e d enough on the s o c i a l importance of the competent and knowledgeable human agent (Lefebvre 1969: 25-58; Giddens 1981: 15). Marx's emphasis on human Praxis has often been l o s t s i g h t of i n the importance placed on the second part of h i s c l a s s i c f ormulation on human agency. Men make h i s t o r y , he s a i d , but not i n circumstances of t h e i r own choosing. One aspect of t h i s observation of which the s o c i o l o g y of knowledge has made us aware i s the f a c t that the products of human Praxis, r e i f i e d i n time, themselves often come to acquire the i r r e d u c i b i l i t y and force of nature. In t h i s sense, r e i f i e d s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l s t r u c t u r e s depersonalize i n t e n t i o n and c a r r y i n t o the arena of human agency and a c t i o n i n t e n t i o n a l . i t i e s that have no i n d i v i d u a l l o c u s , but are embodied i n o b j e c t i v a t e d and i n s t i t u t i o n a l forms (Marx 1970: 46-48; Berger and Luckmann 1979: 106-109; Sa r t r e 1982: 79-94). S o c i e t y as a f i e l d of personal and impersonal i n t e n t i o n a l i t i e s formed and transformed i n the processes of h i s t o r i c a l change generates a pervasive system of s i g n i f i c a t i o n s or meanings which i n h a b i t a n t s 4 acquire by v i r t u e of t h e i r a c t i v e residence i n the given community. Objects, processes, events, i n d i v i d u a l s , groups, i n s t i t u t i o n s , memories, verbal p r a c t i c e s , and so on are a l l enveloped i n t h i s system of s i g n i f i -c a t i o n s . A l l members of a s o c i e t y are s o c i a l i z e d to t h i s system which i s , i n essence, i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e ; that i s , i t i s a system of shared meanings held i n common by a l l members of a s o c i e t y . The shared knowledge Of the System Of S i g n i f i c a t i o n s I c a l l the common intuitive l i f e . I have chosen t h i s coinage because i t conforms to a vocabulary f a m i l i a r to l i t e r a r y s t u d i e s , yet preserves the concept of s o c i e t y on which my work depends. This notion i s not new. I t derives from a number of sources i n c l u d i n g T. S. E l i o t himself. But more s p e c i f i c a l l y i t i s indebted to Raymond W i l l i a m s , beginning with h i s important response to E l i o t ' s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948) i n Culture and Society (1958, 1961; see Eagleton 1970 f o r a comparative a n a l y s i s of these two views of the 'common c u l t u r e ' ) . However, W i l l i a m s ' r e f l e c t i o n s on the idea of the 'common c u l t u r e 1 have not stood s t i l l s i n c e the l a t e 1950s. In a l e c t u r e i n Montreal i n 1973 he sketched the t h e o r e t i c a l model of c u l t u r e to which h i s work has led him and which u n d e r l i e s , to a large e x t e n t , my notion of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . His remarks come i n the context of a d i s c u s s i o n of 'base' and 'superstructure' i n Marxis t c u l t u r a l s t u d i e s and of Antonio Gramsci's r e l a t e d concept of '.hegemony'. I would say f i r s t t hat i n any s o c i e t y , i n any p a r t i c u l a r p e r i o d , there i s a c e n t r a l system of p r a c t i c e s , meanings and va l u e s , which we can pro p e r l y c a l l dominant and e f f e c t i v e . This implies no presumption about i t s value. A l l I am saying i s that i t i s c e n t r a l . . . . In any case what I have i n mind i s the c e n t r a l , e f f e c t i v e and 5 dominant system of meanings and valu e s , which are not merely a b s t r a c t but which are organized and l i v e d . . . . I t i s a whole body of p r a c t i c e s and exp e c t a t i o n s ; our assignments of energy, our ordinary understanding of the nature of man and of hi s world. I t i s a set of meanings and values which as they are experienced as p r a c t i c e s appear as r e c i p r o c a l l y c o n f i r m i n g . (1980: 38) He goes on to argue t h a t t h i s system c o n s t i t u t e s "a sense of r e a l i t y f o r most people i n the s o c i e t y , " an awareness that i s absolute because i t i s of a r e a l i t y that i s experienced at every l e v e l of concrete, p r a c t i c a l l i f e , from the most f o r m a l l y conceptual and p u b l i c to the most f e e l i n g l y intimate and p r i v a t e . I t encompasses a s o c i e t y ' s p o s s i b l e range of ideas and f e e l i n g s about something as formal and corporate as a na t i o n a l C o n s t i t u t i o n or l e g a l system, and, correspondingly, a s o c i e t y ' s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c responses to the f a c t , say, of death or the c o n s t r u c t i o n of personal i d e n t i t y and s u b j e c t i v i t y . I t i s not, moreover, a s t a t i c system, but one which depends on concrete and s o c i a l processes. The c r u c i a l f a c t o r here i s what Williams c a l l s the "process of i n c o r p o r a t i o n " (1980: 39), that i s , the process by which the meanings and v a l u a t i o n s of experience are i n c o r p o r a t e d , p r i n c i p a l l y by language, i n the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e as a whole. Within t h i s "system of p r a c t i c e s , meanings and values," what I am c a l l i n g the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a s o c i e t y , language plays an impor-tant r o l e . Language does not simply record the contents of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e ; i t forms the basis f o r s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h i n the compass of a shared l i f e and encodes the shared systems of value, knowledge, and b e l i e f . Thus language serves not only to f i x and assign meaning, but a l s o , and t h i s i s the source of i t s c r e a t i v i t y , to confirm 6 or contest these assignments. Works of a r t impinge on the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a s o c i e t y as an o p e r a t i o n , of one kind or another, on s e t t l e d s i g n i f i c a t i o n s which things acquire over time (Bennett 1979: 24-25). More s p e c i f i c a l l y , works of l i t e r a t u r e impinge on the verbal p r a c t i c e s of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e and become operations on the way language a r t i c u l a t e s the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i n g s . So that a poem, say, i s not simply a work i n language, but a work on language; i t does not contain meaning, rather i t i s an operation on p r i o r meaning. These observations are important f o r r e s o l v i n g the e s s e n t i a l problem which E l i o t ' s poetry has always presented l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m , a problem which was the o r i g i n a l spur of t h i s study. E l i o t wrote an a l l u s i v e , r e c o n d i t e , p e r v a s i v e l y i r o n i c poetry which has f a s c i n a t e d c r i t i c i s m f o r several generations and which has i n v i t e d learned commentary that i s s u b t l y ingenious i n i t s e x p l o r a t i o n of what i s taken to be E l i o t ' s e x t r a -o r d i n a r y a e s t h e t i c s o p h i s t i c a t i o n . His antagonists have often accused him i n t h i s respect of d e l i b e r a t e o b s c u r i t y and an Alexandrian approach to composition (Lucas 1923: 116; Hamilton 1950; Winters 1963: 36, 64). Yet when t h i s ingenious c r i t i c i s m has come f i n a l l y to say what the poetry i s about, what E l i o t i s a c t u a l l y saying i n the poems, i t has heard something r a t h e r o l d - f a s h i o n e d , something c o n v e n t i o n a l , and even r a t h e r crude. Here i s Helen Gardner on the "ageless" subject of The waste Land: the poem, she w r i t e s , "discovers a r a d i c a l defect i n human l i f e and makes c l e a r the ' i n s u f f i c i e n c y of human enjoyments'" (1959: 88). This comes from Gardner's f i r s t book on E l i o t , which i s s t i l l c i t e d as one of the d e c i s i v e and more learned readings of E l i o t (Moody 1979: 93). The " r a d i c a l defect" The waste Land u n v e i l s at the heart of human l i f e 7 i s none other than O r i g i n a l S i n . This ponderous, crude, anti-modernist, unsubtle t h e o l o g i c a l commonplace, which was already being t r e a t e d as a c l i c h e ' b y the c i v i c humanists i n Quattrocento I t a l y (Baron 1966: 302-314), s t r i k e s Gardner with the force of a r e v e l a t i o n about l i f e . For several pages a f t e r t h i s r e v e l a t i o n she continues e x p l i c a t i n g d e t a i l s of the poem having seemingly accepted O r i g i n a l Sin as a necessary and obvious ' t r u t h ' or ' f a c t ' of the human c o n d i t i o n . Of course, the t r u t h of such an observation about l i f e i s e n t i r e l y contestable and she i s qui t e u n j u s t i f i e d i n passing s i l e n t l y over t h i s p o i n t . I am not saying t h a t she should engage i n a t h e o l o g i c a l demonstration of the t r u t h of the notion. What needs to be taken up i s a d i s c u s s i o n of the observation's contestabiiity i n 1922 when the poem was published. I t i s c l e a r from the s t r u c t u r e of the poem i t s e l f , from E l i o t ' s prose [ F L A 50), and from h i s biography (Gordon 1977) that he knew p r e c i s e l y how contestable an a s s e r t i o n about O r i g i n a l Sin was i n h i s time. I t i s c l e a r that E l i o t came to accept t h i s ancient C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e very e a r l y i n h i s l i f e so that The waste. Land does not labour to achieve such an observation. The poem i s not a s e r i e s of examples i n which we see the s o c i a l and personal e f f e c t s of O r i g i n a l Sin that lead us overwhelmingly to a knowledge of the t r u t h of such a n o t i o n , although t h i s i s the kind of i n d u c t i v e process which Gardner suggests l i e s at the heart of the poem. Instead, the notion of r a d i c a l human s i n f u l n e s s i s a point of departure. The a s s e r t i o n of O r i g i n a l Sin i n The waste Land cannot be inn o c e n t l y accounted f o r as the unavoidable discovery of an o r i g i n a l l y innocent 'speaker', l o s t i n a f a l l e n world, who engages i n a h e u r i s t i c probing of contemporary l i f e and comes to the ' s u r p r i s i n g ' 8 c o n c l u s i o n that eighteen c e n t u r i e s of C h r i s t i a n thought about s i n are r i g h t a f t e r a l l . The poem opens with what the poem shows i t knows already i n t a c t . E l i o t knew, and the r e f o r e c r i t i c i s m should know, that the i m p l i c i t a s s e r t i o n of r a d i c a l human s i n f u l n e s s i n The waste Land represented an oblique a s s a u l t on c e r t a i n l i b e r a l i z i n g accounts of human experience i n -s c r i b e d i n the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of the En g l i s h middle c l a s s e s . The notion of O r i g i n a l S i n f u l n e s s opposes, i n a l l i t s spiky i r r e d u c i b i l i t y , the m e l i o r i s t optimism of l i b e r a l , u t i l i t a r i a n e t h i c s which had d i s p l a c e d , i n the popular mind, o l d e r C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e s . This e t h i c a l meliorism had become the conventional account of the moral l i f e i n the bourgeois era. The poem not only attacks the p o s i t i v e p r i n c i p l e s of l i b e r a l e t h i c s --such as the notion of human p e r f e c t a b i l i t y and e g a l i t a r i a n i s m - - b u t a l s o more e l u s i v e aspects, l i k e the atmosphere and f e e l of the p a l l i d inward-ness such e t h i c s imply. The poem's whole manner and matter i s shaped by that o p p o s i t i o n a l context. N a r r a t i v e s t r a t e g i e s , imagery, themes, v o i c e s , and the range of t o n a l i t i e s must be read f o r the con t r a s t s they set up with the contents and s t y l e s i n s c r i b e d i n the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . The poem must be read, i n s h o r t , as an attempted r e - i n s c r i p t i o n of fundamental experience. Thus, the poin t about The waste Land i s not that i t presents some p a r t i c u l a r v i s i o n of l i f e , but that i t contests accounts of funda-mental experience that E l i o t i n a l l honesty could not abide. That he chose v i s i o n a r y modes as a method of c o n t e s t a t i o n and as a way of cl a i m i n g e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l a u t h o r i t y f o r his 'argument' should not d e f l e c t us from the poem's actual i n t e r e s t s . In t h i s way, the s o p h i s t i c a t i o n , l e a r n i n g , and technique of the poem can be put, a p p r o p r i a t e l y , i n the s e r v i c e of a 9 simple, even simple-minded, theme, because i t i s not the discovery of a knowledge of the theme that i s at i s s u e , but the f a t e of what the theme ass e r t s i n a h o s t i l e , and yet s o p h i s t i c a t e d , learned, p e r v a s i v e l y i r o n i c , environment. The poem's s t y l e i s c a l l e d out by the r i g o u r s of the par-t i c u l a r s i g n i f y i n g work i t must do i n an a f f e c t i v e l y complex environment (Burke 1941, 1961: 3-4; Eagleton 1976: 101; Douglas 1978: 95-98). E l i o t knew, and th e r e f o r e c r i t i c i s m should know, what i t meant i n 1922 to w r i t e a poem 'discovering' O r i g i n a l Sin that Bertrand R u s s e l l was going to read. R u s s e l l , of course, was only one reader of many, and an e x t r a -ordinary one at t h a t . However, he was a l s o r a t h e r t y p i c a l as a legatee of the p r i n c i p l e s , procedures, and a t t i t u d e s of the l i b e r a l Enlightenment i n Europe. Yet the Enlightenment i s not the i n h e r i t a n c e of i n d i v i d u a l s alone, l e t alone the sol e possession of great r a t i o n a l i s t p h i l o s o p h e r s; i t i s the i n t e l l e c t u a l and a f f e c t i v e i n h e r i t a n c e of a whole c l a s s . The p r i n c i p l e s of European Enlightenment run l i k e threads through the s t r u c -ture of thought and f e e l i n g of the European bourgeoisie from the end of the eighteenth century to our own time (ASG passim). Of course, i t i s important to remember th a t the impact and i n f l u e n c e of Enlightenment ideas i n the regions of Europe vary with the h i s t o r i c a l circumstances of each r e g i o n . Thus, the c i v i c humanism of the French, constructed around a n a t i o n a l image of le citoyen, i s d i f f e r e n t from the u t i l i t a r i a n i s m of En g l i s h l i b e r a l s , which i s d i f f e r e n t again from the r a d i c a l l i b e r t a r i a n tendencies i n I t a l i a n l i b e r a l i s m . Yet running through the c o n s t e l l a t i o n of ideas and p r a c t i c e s t h a t had t h e i r modern formula t i o n i n the E n l i g h t -enment we f i n d common themes and common a t t i t u d e s , towards the past, towards human nature, towards science and r e l i g i o n , and so on. Indeed, 10 I take the Enlightenment and i t s many f r u i t s i n nineteenth-century Europe to be the transf o r m a t i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l and i d e o l o g i c a l programme of the European bourgeoisie i n i t s disenchantment with the sacred and mythical worlds of the feudal a r i s t o c r a c i e s (Horkheimer and Adorno 1944, 1972: 5). I understand the nineteenth century as the period of c o n s o l i d a t i o n of the power of the bourgeoisie as the d i r e c t i v e e l i t e of i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g Europe. This i s not to say tha t a r i s t o c r a c t i c forms and e x e r c i s e s of power did not p e r s i s t i n the nineteenth and wel l i n t o the twentieth c e n t u r i e s . They d i d . But i t i s to say t h a t these were p r o g r e s s i v e l y subordinated as sources of r e a l d i r e c t i v e power i n the re l e v a n t s o c i e t i e s and took on, more and more, the f i g u r a t i v e and ceremonial i r r e l e v a n c e t h a t a r i s t o c r a t i c forms s t i l l have i n our time, where they have managed to p e r s i s t . My sense of Enlightenment as the r u l i n g ideas of the s t r u c -ture of thought and f e e l i n g of the bourgeoisie i s derived from a number of sources. F i r s t , the seminal study of the Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, t r a n s l a t e d as Dialectic of Enlighten-ment (1944, 1972); second, Lucien Goldmann's The Philosophy of the Enlightenment: The Christian Burgess and the Enlightenment (1973). By the 'bourgeois e r a ' , I mean the s o c i e t y of Western Europe, e s p e c i a l l y B r i t a i n and France, from t h e . l a s t t h i r d of the eighteenth century to the f i r s t decade of the twentieth ( c f . Davie 1978: 14-15). And I accept Marx's d e f i n i t i o n and use of the term 'bourgeois s o c i e t y ' from his The Class Struggles in France (1964: 134). E. J . Hobsbawm has s u c c i n c t l y summarized the s p e c i f i c s of European h i s t o r y i n t h i s era i n The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848: 11 The great r e v o l u t i o n of 1789-1848 was the triumph not of 'industry' as such, but of capitalist i n d u s t r y ; not of l i b e r t y and e q u a l i t y i n gen e r a l , but of middle class or 'bourgeois' liberal s o c i e t y ; not of 'the modern economy' or 'the modern s t a t e , ' but of the economies and states i n a p a r t i c u l a r geographical region of the world (part of Europe and a few patches of North America), whose centre was the neighbouring and r i v a l s t a t e s of Great B r i t a i n and France. The transformation of 1789-1848 i s e s s e n t i a l l y the twin upheaval which took place i n those two c o u n t r i e s , and was propagated thence across the e n t i r e world. (17-18, Hobsbawm's emphasis) Of course, Hobsbawm i s concerned with the opening of the bourgeois era. E l i o t ' s career comes as that era i s c l o s i n g i n the f i r s t decades of the twentieth century. My study can be seen as a c o n t r i b u t i o n to our know-ledge of the l i t e r a r y c u l t u r e of bourgeois s o c i e t y , and of a p a r t i c u l a r c onservative c r i t i q u e of bourgeois forms of thought and f e e l i n g . This study argues that an examination of tone and voice i n E l i o t ' s e a r l y work reveals a poetry and prose d i r e c t e d to the tra n s f o r m a t i o n - -he would have thought of i t as a c l e a n s i n g - - o f the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of the Anglo-American middle c l a s s . I do not mean that his work i s e n t i r e l y p o l e m i c a l , as t h i s i m p l i e s E l i o t keys h i s work e n t i r e l y at the l e v e l of ideas. His c r i t i q u e i s much more r a d i c a l than t h i s suggests, penetrating to the a f f e c t i v e r e a l i t y o f , what he came to c a l l i n The idea of a christian society (1939), "negative l i b e r a l s o c i e t y . " I t i s important to remember that E l i o t ' s h o s t i l i t y to l i b e r a l s o c i e t y does not p r i m a r i l y i n v o l v e him i n his e a r l y work i n a systematic c r i t i q u e of the p o l i t i c a l economy of l i b e r a l i s m . We w i l l f i n d no d e t a i l e d c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of p o l i t i c a l events and p e r s o n a l i t i e s of h i s time i n h i s work, although t h i s aspect i s not e n t i r e l y absent. E l i o t ' s aim i s rather the u n v e i l i n g 12 of the s p e c i f i c s o c i a l , moral, and p s y c h o l o g i c a l consequences of l i f e as i t i s found i n the l i b e r a l ethos. His poetry works at the l e v e l of the a c t u a l l y l i v e d , the d e n s i t y of experience i n the everyday. In t h i s domain, below the l e v e l of formal p o l i t i c s and p o l i c y , E l i o t was able to formulate a metonymic approach that uses an imagery drawn from the concrete experience of everyday l i f e i n a r e v e l a t o r y way. And although the ' r e v e a l i n g ' p a r t i c u l a r s are o f t e n presented i n a v i s i o n a r y or even h a l l u c i n a t o r y a e s t h e t i c context, t h e i r use as s o c i a l l y t y p i f y i n g elements must not be l o s t s i g h t of. In Chapter F i v e , I argue that the v i s i o n a r y mode of pr e s e n t a t i o n f u n c t i o n s as a l e g i t i m a t i o n s t r a t e g y (Berger 1969: 31-32) that re-enforces the representativeness of the concrete p a r t i c u l a r . Indeed, E l i o t ' s use of t y p i f y i n g metonymy (Greimas and Courted 1982: 193) i s a s i g n i f y i n g p r a c t i c e of immense importance, because i t allows the t e x t to o f f e r concrete experience i n immediate form and, at the same time, conduct a r a t i o n a l argument i m p l i c i t l y through the metonymic ' l o g i c ' of t y p i f i c a t o r y r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s (Burke 1941, 1961: 22-28). I r e a l i z e t hat i n saying t h i s I am t a k i n g issue with the way the idea of the 'image' i n modernism i s normally discussed. C r i t i c i s m has i n t e r p r e t e d the 'image' as the minimal u n i t of aesthetic perception i n modernism. My point i s t h a t E l i o t awakened and e x p l o i t e d s y s t e m a t i c a l l y the p o t e n t i a l of the 'image' to f u n c t i o n metonymically i n a s o c i a l context. In h i s poetry the 'image' serves more than an a e s t h e t i c f u n c t i o n . As a t y p i f y -ing element, a r e v e a l i n g p a r t i c u l a r , i t becomes impossible to d i s s o c i a t e the image from the e t h i c o - r e l i g i o u s concepts and ideas, or from the forms of concrete l i f e , which i t t y p i f i e s ( D e l i a Volpe 1978: 39). A l s o , i t i s i m p o s s i b l e , when we analyze the verbal s t y l e of the concrete image, not 13 to hear how the s t y l e i t s e l f m o b i l i z e s and focusses p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s towards what i s being represented (Burke 1941, 1961: 128-131). These a t t i t u d e s can be traced back to a general c r i t i q u e of s o c i e t y from a p a r t i c u l a r c l a s s p o s i t i o n i n that s o c i e t y and to coherent transforma-t i v e s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l p r a c t i c e s i n that context (Machery 1977: 3; B a l i b a r 1978: 28; Bennett 1979: 156-168). This l a t t e r observation points to the importance of tone and voice i n E l i o t ' s work. This importance has been recognized by Anglo-American f o r m a l i s t c r i t i c i s m , but the idea of 'tone', as a c r i t i c a l concept, has remained l a r g e l y undeveloped nonetheless. As the tone of a work of l i t e r a t u r e brings to c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n the r e l a t i o n s h i p of t e x t and world, i t has been very d i f f i c u l t f o r an a n t i - h i s t o r i c i s t , a n t i - c o n t e x t u a l c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e to pursue the i m p l i c a t i o n s of i t s own h i s t o r i c i z i n g and c o n t e x t u a l i z i n g concept. Nevertheless, the f a c t that formalism requires a notion l i k e 'tone' to account f o r the wealth of meanings that narrowly formal and generic analyses cannot encompass d i s c l o s e s the n e c e s s i t y f o r any l i t e r a r y c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e to t h e o r i z e , no matter how r e l u c t a n t l y , the concrete presence of the world i n the t e x t . But t h i s demand placed on c r i t i c i s m r e q u i r e s a s o p h i s t i c a t e d , informed grasp of what the 'world' i s and how i t i s best described f o r l i t e r a r y c r i t i c a l purposes. We need to acquire as s o p h i s t i c a t e d a grasp of the 'world' as of the t e x t i t s e l f that formalism has taught us. I devote q u i t e a few pages of t h i s study to d e s c r i b i n g the most productive way, f o r l i t e r a r y c r i t i c a l purposes, of understanding the nature and s t r u c t u r e of the s o c i a l r e a l i t y which always already pervades any given l i t e r a r y t e x t . This d e s c r i p t i o n draws on the work of s o c i a l a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s , s o c i o l o g i s t s of 14 knowledge, of language, and of a r t . Beyond the useful knowledge about forms of c o l l e c t i v e l i f e these f i e l d s o f f e r l i t e r a r y studies l i e s my conv ic t ion that the study of l i t e r a t u r e atrophies the fur ther i t insu la tes i t s e l f from contact , not with the ' w o r l d 1 , or ' l i f e ' or h i s to ry as such, but with the knowledge of i t s nature and forms which our col leagues in the academy o f f e r us. General ly speaking, my study has three themes: the p r inc ipa l one i s the study of aspects of E l i o t ' s work as b r i e f l y sketched here, taking as my point of departure a c r i t i c a l concept derived from Anglo-American formal ism; the second theme involves a c r i t i q u e of Anglo-American f o r -malism from the point of view that i t s concept of ' tone ' represents a c r i t i c a l s le ight-of-hand, by which the unavoidable necess i ty of d i s -cerning the e f f e c t of the external world on the text i t s e l f is s i l e n t l y recognized, but l e f t unacknowledged; the t h i r d theme involves developing an understanding of soc ia l s t ruc ture and the shared knowledge of i t s semantic codings, which permits a f r u i t f u l i nves t iga t ion of what a l i t e r a r y text a c tua l l y re fers to in the soc i a l wor ld. I have not d iv ided th i s study into three separate parts in which I take up each theme in tu rn . I have organized the whole work around a p r i nc ipa l thes i s about E l i o t ' s ea r l y poetry and prose. I have i n t r o -duced the t r i bu ta r y themes in those p laces , va r ious ly d i s t r i bu t ed in the work as a whole, where they seem to me to be most use fu l l y d iscussed. Obviously because my argument about E l i o t ' s work depends on ce r ta in points drawn from the other themes, e spec i a l l y the t h i r d , the f i r s t two chapters contain longer sect ions on formalism and soc ie ty . Chapter Five on The waste Land, which culminates the study, extends some of the e a r l i e r 15 r e f l e c t i o n s on s o c i e t y . T. S. E l i o t i s a w r i t e r who has had a considerable amount of a t t e n t i o n devoted to his work. The bulk of i t i s f o r m a l i s t c l o s e reading, p r a c t i c a l c r i t i c i s m , e x e g e t i c a l commentary, and the g l o s s i n g of references and a l l u s i o n s (a minor i n d u s t r y i n i t s e l f ) . Every word i n his poetry has been read, glossed, commented upon many times over. Indeed, non-s p e c i a l i s t s i n E l i o t s t u d i e s are oft e n f a m i l i a r not only with the man's work, but al s o with the c r i t i c a l debates and c o n t r o v e r s i e s h i s poetry and prose have provoked i n our time. Because of t h i s I have not f e l t compelled to provide a l i n e by l i n e commentary on every poem he wrote. I am i n t e r e s t e d much more i n developing an argument about E l i o t as a w r i t e r whose poetry and prose are the ma t e r i a l of a wider c u l t u r a l p r a c t i c e d i r e c t e d , at bottom, to the transformation of people's l i v e s . I t h i n k the pe r s i s t e n c e of his r e p u t a t i o n and s t a t u r e derives e n t i r e l y from the force and power, even the aud a c i t y , of such an e n t e r p r i s e . To that I should a l s o add that I b e l i e v e a l l works of l i t e r a t u r e to be irredeemably engaged, i n t h e i r various d i r e c t and oblique ways, i n transformative p r a c t i c e s of a so c i o - v e r b a l k i n d , p r a c t i c e s which f o r e -ground, ch a l l e n g e , or change the ro u t i n e or conventional ways i n d i v i d u a l s i n p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l circumstances account f o r , or represent i n language, the t r u t h s of l i v e d experience. 16 Chapter One: Hearing the dissonances H i s t o r i c a l or contextual c r i t i c i s m , whether m a t e r i a l i s t or not, has been most vulnerable i n i t s treatment of the d i s c r e t e l i t e r a r y t e x t . * Too often a t e x t has been reduced to a thematic cypher of p a r t i c u l a r s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l or psycho-biographical contexts. The t e x t ' s verbal and formal i n t e g r i t i e s have been d i s s o l v e d i n the s e r v i c e of themes and concepts drawn from h i s t o r y i t s e l f . In o p p o s i t i o n to what were thought to be r e d u c t i o n i s t or m o n i s t i c c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e s , Anglo-American formalism took as i t s primary polemical slogan the p r e s e r v a t i o n of the formal i n t e g r i t y of "the t e x t i t s e l f . " As the dominant c r i t i c a l prac-t i c e from the l a t e 1940s to our own day, Anglo-American formalism has been d i f f i c u l t to r e s i s t . In a d d i t i o n to the p r a c t i c a l convenience of the p r i n c i p l e of the autonomous t e x t , i t has d i r e c t e d a searching and sardonic c r i t i q u e of a l l c o n t e x t u a l i s t thought from p h i l o l o g y , biography, belies lettres, and the h i s t o r y of ideas. But formalism's most vigorous attack has been reserved f o r h i s t o r i c a l m a t e r i a l i s m , mainly i n the form of what has come to be known as the 'vulgar Marxism' of the 1930s (Jay 1973: 53-56; Eagleton 1977: 11-43; Wi l l i a m s 1977: 77-82). Against the view o f . 1 i t e r a t u r e as c u l t u r a l p r a c t i c e on the simple thematic and content plane, Anglo-American formalism poses a more s o p h i s t i c a t e d and encompassing framework f o r the p r a c t i c e of c r i t i c i s m . While the h i s -t o r i c i s t c r i t i c b l a n d l y dismantled a work's unique formal coherence i n an a n a l y s i s of the work's s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l content, the f o r m a l i s t , 17; by d i s l o d g i n g the t e x t from the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l environment, seemed to preserve, and thus by th a t c r i t i c a l move and that move alone guarantee, the work's i n t e r n a l i n t e g r i t y , i t s p o s i t i v e s t r u c t u r e . This guarantee and the confident a s s e r t i v e n e s s born of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l triumph of f o r m a l i s t p r a c t i c e l ed the f o r m a l i s t to take f o r granted that 'meaning' i s e n t i r e l y i n t r i n s i c to the t e x t , that a work of l i t e r a t u r e 'contains' meaning i n the same way that a jam j a r 'contains' the strawberry jam. The p r a c t i c e that would have developed from such an o r i e n t a t i o n to meaning, i f s t r i c t l y a p p l i e d , would have produced a c r i t i c i s m so circum-spect, t h i n , and i r r e l e v a n t t h a t i t would have disappeared from view without a t r a c e long ago. Anglo-American formalism has made i t s e l f the dominant c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e of the l a s t f o r t y years by ig n o r i n g i n i t s p r a c t i c e i t s own f i r s t p r i n c i p l e s , by i g n o r i n g i t s own assumptions (Michaels 1980: 418-419). While openly and e x p l i c i t l y arguing f o r the autonomy of the t e x t , t h a t a poem, i n E l i o t ' s famous phrase, i s "a poem and not another t h i n g , " the actu a l c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t y of formalism has been as thoroughly contextual as any other c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e , but i t s 3 c o n t e x t u a l i z i n g has been u s u a l l y s i l e n t and hidden from view. This c o n t r a d i c t o r y p r a c t i c e , which, on the one hand, postponed (when i t didn't vehemently deny) a l l contextual c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , w h i l e , on the other hand, i n f o r m a l l y drew them i n t o the i n t e r p r e t a t i v e process, was p o s s i b l e only i n the i d e o l o g i c a l h a l l of mi r r o r s that has c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e , East and West, during the Cold War. Yet f o r m a l i s t s were not com-p l e t e l y deaf to context; a f t e r a l l , i n actual p r a c t i c e not a l l 'tension' or 'ambiguity' i n a t e x t could be 'resolved' i n the l a s t instance by reference to some strenuously s t i p u l a t e d formal 'paradox' (Burgum 1951: 18 31-48). They needed some thoroughly dehistoricized contextual c r i t i c a l concept in order to surmount the obvious philosophical ineptitude and naivete of the assumption that meaning is entirely positive and int r i n s i c , entirely 'given' by the sign, and that the utterer gets meaning into an utterance by choosing the word that puts i t there (Nowottny 1968: 152). Formalism needed a way of opening the text towards its relevant social and pol i t i c a l contexts, contexts that are clearly determinative at some level of a work's content and form, while at the same time seeming not to. In short, what was required was a c r i t i c a l idea that did not collapse the work's formal and verbal integrity in the 'corrosive' contingencies of real history while yet, silently, establishing the work's relation to the world. That category is 'tone1. With the concept of tone, treated as i f i t were a purely formal category and occasionally thought of as a 'device', the problem of the literary work's external relations could be "safely" approached. Although other favoured formal categories—tension, paradox, image pattern, ambiguity, and so on--were openly discussed and developed as c r i t i c a l instruments,. tone, though used continuously, consciously, and productively for interpretation, was l e f t largely undefined and un-explored as a concept. Clearly, however, from the use to which the 4 notion was put, tone represented perhaps the most important, unacknowl-edged, formalist category for getting at 'meaning'. One could spend a great deal of time scrupulously laying bare the positive structure or formal patterns of a work, but to get at what i t a l l meant in the last instance required a conceptual leap that could not be managed within the naive, unidimensional positivism that formalist practice seemed to insist 19; upon. Tone functioned i n p r a c t i c a l c r i t i c i s m as the most comprehensive semantic f e a t u r e of a t e x t , accounting f o r a l l that residue of s i g n i f i -c a t i o n which i n t r i n s i c analyses could not name, because so much of what a work means depends on a reader's c l o s e awareness of the s o c i o - c u l t u r a l contexts which encompass and r a t i f y the work. The notion of tone i t s e l f as a c r i t i c a l instrument, or as an aspect of meaning, or as a c e r t a i n i n t e r p r e t a b l e output of the a c t i v i t y of the t e x t i n a p a r t i c u l a r semantic environment was r a r e l y broached. Tone was invoked i n order to l i n k , s u b c r i t i c a l l y , a t e x t ' s t o t a l meaning to the semantic universe which members of a s o c i e t y c a r r y around i n t h e i r heads, a complex l i n k a g e that went 'without saying' because supposedly a l l could hear i t and act upon i t . The inability to .'hear' the tone, or to make the proper inferences about a work's tone, was put down as a defect of s e n s i b i l i t y , as an i n a b i l i t y to master the refinements and d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s of an achieved c i v i l i z a t i o n (Richards 1924, 1959: 62; Leavis 1943, 1965: 143-171). Tone was t r e a t e d i m p l i c i t l y as the s t a t i c , i n t r i n s i c p r o j e c t i o n s of c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s towards audience and e x t r i n s i c themes, ra t h e r than as the placing a c t i v i t y of the t e x t w i t h i n a s p e c i f i c community. Tone, read as an i n t u i t i v e l y recognized d i s t i n c t i v e f e a t u r e of i n t r i n s i c meaning, was ignored as a r a t i o n a l category of a n a l y s i s , whose s t r u c t u r e gave l i m i t e d access to the concrete r e l a t i o n s of t e x t and world. This study argues that the concept of tone, as used i n f o r m a l i s t c r i t i c i s m , cannot by i t s e l f capture the richness and complexity of the world to which poems r i c h l y and complexly r e f e r . To do t h a t , the concept of tone would r e q u i r e an expanded d e f i n i t i o n . More g e n e r a l l y , I am saying that formalism i s a c r i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n that has concentrated 20 so much a t t e n t i o n on the t e x t i t s e l f , developing a h i g h l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d grasp of the i n t e r n a l workings of the t e x t , that i t has allowed i t s sense of the world beyond the t e x t to atrophy; indeed, i n the hyper-formalism of contemporary d e c o n s t r u c t i o n , the 'world' has simply d i s -appeared as a t e x t u a l r e f e r e n t . The concept of tone, i n s h o r t , i s simply an acknowledgement i n formalism that some r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t s between t e x t and world. I w i l l be arguing that a simple acknowledgement of that r e l a t i o n s h i p , normally i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c a l l y conveyed, i s not enough to do j u s t i c e to the t e x t as a s i g n i f y i n g p r a c t i c e w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i o - h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i t y . Formalism's reluctance to i n v e s t i -gate the t e x t i n the world l ed to a now wel1-documented form of c r i t i c a l b l i n d n e s s . This blindness was t a c t i c a l l y c r u c i a l i n the 1920s and 1930s when the new c r i t i c i s m was developing i t s a s s a u l t on a v a r i e t y of c l u m s i l y and d e t e r m i n i s t i c a l l y a p p l i e d forms of contextual c r i t i c i s m . However, that p o l i t i c a l moment has passed and the accompanying blindness to context i s now a l i a b i l i t y and req u i r e s a thorough re-assessment. L i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m needs to develop a grasp of the world--or at l e a s t of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a people w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l r e a l i t y — a t l e a s t as s o p h i s t i c a t e d , d e t a i l e d , and concrete as i t s grasp of the inner workings o f the t e x t i t s e l f . Later i n t h i s chapter I analyze some comments by F. R. Leavis about E l i o t ' s "Burnt Norton" i n order to show the r e s u l t of the atrophying of a c r i t i c a l l y r e l e v a n t understanding of the nature and processes of s o c i a l r e a l i t y i n s c r i b e d as the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a community. My choice here i s somewhat i r o n i c , i n that the e a r l y E l i o t was one of the more profound i n f l u e n c e s on L e a v i s 1 own c r i t i c a l development. However, by the time Leavis came 2(1 to w r i t e h i s piece on "Burnt Norton" i n the 1940s, E l i o t had long transformed i n h i s own c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e the p r i n c i p l e s with which he had been i d e n t i f i e d i n the 1920s. And to that e a r l i e r period I now t u r n . In the mythology of Anglo-American formalism i t was T. S. E l i o t who, on French models, f i r s t thought and p r a c t i c e d what seemed to be the r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e s of the 'new c r i t i c i s m ' . In h i s e a r l y c r i t i c a l essays and reviews, and e s p e c i a l l y the group c o l l e c t e d i n The sacred mod (1920), E l i o t seemed bent on rescuing l i t e r a t u r e , l i t e r a r y and c r i t i c a l work, from the hands of l i t e r a r y gentlemen-amateurs (Eagleton 1977: 12), whose devotion to the p a r t i c u l a r values of a s o c i a l c l a s s and to the r e i g n i n g commonplaces of nineteenth-century Gladstonian l i b e r a l i s m obscured the l i t e r a r y object by making i t , when a l l was s a i d and done, simply an i n s t a n c e , e i t h e r f o r good or e v i l , of the m e l i o r i s t thematics of the "Whig i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of h i s t o r y " ( B u t t e r f i e l d 1931, 1968: 45-46). The nineteenth-century reception of John M i l t o n i s of course the famous case i n p o i n t , whereby M i l t o n i s r e c r u i t e d by Macaulay as a protagonist of a l l t h a t was p r o g r e s s i v e , P r o t e s t a n t , and l i b e r a l i n the seventeenth century, thus p r e f i g u r i n g the equipoise, of the nineteenth (Weimann 1976: 64-71). E l i o t ' s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t a work of a r t could not be adequately understood or evaluated i f i t were simply vandalized f o r the Whig t r e a -sures i t harboured, which, f o r the g e n t l e m a n - c r i t i c , both authenticated the work's ex c e l l e n c e and the correctness of the c r i t i c ' s s o c i a l a l l e -giances, was o f f e r e d to Edwardian and Georgian l i t e r a r y London as an a f f r o n t . Against the l i b e r a l l i t e r a r y amateur E l i o t developed the g l a c i a l persona of the p r o f e s s i o n a l c r i t i c and the idea of a more objec-t i v e , text-based c r i t i c a l method th a t took as i t s p o i n t of departure the 22 work as a work o f l i t e r a t u r e "and no t a n o t h e r t h i n g , " c o m p a r a b l e o n l y t o o t h e r works w i t h w h i c h i t has literary a f f i n i t i e s . H i n t i n g i n The Sacred wood and e l s e w h e r e t h a t a t h e o r e t i c a l l y s o u n d , c o n c e p t u a l , and l o g i c a l s u f f i c i e n c y c o u l d be c o n s t r u c t e d t o make l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m s o m e t h i n g more t h a n t h e e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r m u s i n g s - i n - t h e - 1 i b r a r y o f a man who, as 5 p a r t o f t h e p e r s o n a , p r e t e n d e d he had more momentous t h i n g s t o d o , E l i o t d e v e l o p e d i n h i s e a r l y y e a r s a s t y l e o f p r o p o s i t i o n a l a s s e r t i v e n e s s t h a t s h a r p l y and v i v i d l y c o n t r a s t e d w i t h what p a s s e d f o r l i t e r a r y c r i t i -c i s m i n l a t e V i c t o r i a n and Edwa rd i an l i t e r a r y c u l t u r e . I f f u t u r e g e n e r -a t i o n s o f c r i t i c s have no t p e r c e i v e d t h a t v i v i d c o n t r a s t , i t i s o n l y because t h e norm a g a i n s t w h i c h E l i o t ' s e a r l y c r i t i c a l work was c e n t r a l l y and p o l e m i c a l l y a imed i s no l o n g e r r e a d . R o b e r t L y n d , Edward Dowden, Edmund G o s s e , and t h e o t h e r s no l o n g e r h e l p c o n s t i t u t e a c o h e r e n t l i t e r a r y c u l t u r e w h i c h makes s e n s e , n e g a t i v e l y , o f t he t h e m a t i c s and s t y l e o f E l i o t ' s e a r l y l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . The f e i n t t owa rds s y s t em i n The sacred wood and t h e s h a r p n e s s o f t ongue w h i c h i n t r o d u c e d i t have t h e i r shape and t h r u s t f r o m the l i t e r a r y community i n w h i c h E l i o t had t o o p e r a t e . E l i o t ' s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h t h e l i b e r a l t r a d i t i o n o f r e a d i n g , namely r e a d i n g t h a t sees t h r o u g h a t e x t t o i t s e x t r a - l i t e r a r y m e l i o r i s m , shaped t h e r u l i n g c o n c e p t s and s t y l e o f h i s own c r i t i c i s m . I f he i n s i s t e d on t h e t e x t ' s au tonomy , i t was p r i m a r i l y because John M o r l e y assumed t h e t e x t ' s s u b o r d i n a c y t o ' h i g h e r ' n o n - l i t e r a r y d e s t i n i e s ; i f he i n s i s t e d on t h e i m p e r s o n a l i t y o f t h e a u t h o r , i t was p r i m a r i l y because R o b e r t Lynd assumed t h a t a poem was s i m p l y a r e f l e x o f an a u t h o r ' s p e r -s o n a l i t y ; i f he d e v o t e d c o n s i d e r a b l e space t o the c l o s e and s u b t l e a n a l y s i s o f t h e l anguage o f a poem o r d r a m a t i c s p e e c h , i t was p r i m a r i l y 23 because Edward Dowden quoted passages from poems as ornamental h i g h l i g h t s f o r h i s own d i f f u s e ramblings about psychology; i f he cast h i s p l a c i n g judgements i n the form of p h i l o s o p h i c a l p r o p o s i t i o n s marked by a t r a i n e d philosopher's t a c t f o r d i s c r i m i n a t i v e d e l i c a c y , i t was p r i m a r i l y because Edmund Gosse wallowed i n f e c k l e s s and i r r a t i o n a l impressionism. With the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Edwardian l i t e r a r y world i n the apocalypse of the Great War (Grubb 1965: 73-96), E l i o t ' s work was suddenly, almost c a t a -s t r o p h i c a l l y , s t r i p p e d of the context that had determined i t s s t y l e and themes. As a r e a c t i o n against the nineteenth-century Whig world-view grew a f t e r World War One, E l i o t soon became a p r i s o n e r of h i s own slogans, a p r i s o n e r of h i s own r o l e i n helping to d i s p l a c e and l i q u i d a t e a l i t e r a r y scene. And I. A. Richards was h i s f i r s t g a oler. The s t o r y of I. A. Richards' heroic attempts to systematize (or 'engineer' to use h i s f a v o u r i t e metaphor [Richards 1919, 1946: 179]), his own i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n a e s t h e t i c s , the theory of c o g n i t i o n , the psychology of p e r c e p t i o n , and E l i o t ' s confident a s s e r t i o n s about how a s e r i o u s , p r o f e s s i o n a l l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m ought to be done has been t o l d many times and I don't want to go over w e l l - t i l l e d f i e l d s (Lodge 1970: 362-403; Watson 1973: 186-192). To a large e x t e n t , i t was Richards who cleansed E l i o t ' s c r i t i c a l m i s s i l e s of the polemical contexts i n which they were launched and took the set of p r o p o s i t i o n s that seemed to underly them as autonomous concepts on which a theory and p r a c t i c e of c r i t i c i s m could be b u i l t . He went about doing t h i s i n h i s f i r s t and most important attempt to s t i p u l a t e a productive c r i t i c a l theory, practical criticism (1929). The f a c t t h a t E l i o t , as the years and the l i t e r a r y c u l t u r e which had provoked his e a r l y cessays passed i n t o the dustbin of h i s t o r y , came 24 to ignore more and more h i s own c r i t i c a l ' p r i n c i p l e s ' (Hynes 1977: 66) never seemed to worry Richards e x c e s s i v e l y , though i t l e d some l i k e F. W. Bateson i n t o cranky chagrin (1977: 7-8). But as a consequence of Richards' e f f o r t s and the e f f o r t s of others who took from E l i o t , or Richards, or both, a s i m i l a r n e c e s s i t y , E l i o t found h i s name shackled to t h e o r i e s of l i t e r a t u r e , a u t horship, and c r i t i c i s m that he spent a good deal of h i s l a t e r career shaking o f f . This was oft e n put down as the m a g i s t e r i a l q u i x o t i c i s m of a man whose judgement had subsided among high Anglicans. I t was on t h i s ambiguous ground that the 'new c r i t i c i s m ' , or what I c a l l Anglo-American formalism, r a i s e d i t s b a t t l e standard against the p h i l o l o g i s t s , h i s t o r i a n s of ideas, biographers, e t c . who crowded the academic p r e c i n c t s where 'English l i t e r a t u r e 1 was f i r s t being taught i n earnest i n the 1920s and 1930s. Richards' Practical criticism (1929, 1946) provided a conceptual framework and vocabulary f o r that s t r u g g l e . I t was there that the notion of 'tone' as a c r i t i c a l instrument was f i r s t proposed and defi n e d . I t was one of Richards' "four aspects" of meaning, aspects t h a t needed i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and a n a l y s i s i f the c r i t i c were to recuperate the "Total Meaning" of an utterance, p o e t i c or q u o t i d i a n (180-181). Sense, F e e l i n g , I n t e n t i o n , and Tone were the four " b i l l i a r d - b a l l s " the reader, as j u g g l e r , kept i n the a i r while balancing the cue. of Total Meaning on h i s nose (180). Tone was defined as the speaker's "attitude to his listener." The speaker chooses or arranges h i s words d i f f e r e n t l y as h i s audience v a r i e s , i n automatic or d e l i b e r a t e recognition of his relation to them. The tone of his utterance r e f l e c t s his awareness of t h i s r e l a t i o n , hi s sense of how he stands towards those he i s 25 addressing. Again the exceptional case of d i s s i m -u l a t i o n , or instances i n which the speaker u n w i t t i n g l y reveals an a t t i t u d e he i s not con s c i o u s l y desirous of expressing, w i l l come to mind. (182, Richards' emphasis) This aspect of meaning functioned with the three others i n complete interdependence i n a meaningful utterance; a p e r f e c t understanding of such an utterance "would i n v o l v e not only an accurate d i r e c t i o n of thought, a c o r r e c t evocation of f e e l i n g , an exact apprehension of time and a pr e c i s e r e c o g n i t i o n of i n t e n t i o n , but f u r t h e r i t would get these c o n t r i b u t o r y meanings i n t h e i r r i g h t order and proportion to one another, and s e i z e . . . t h e i r sequences and i n t e r r e l a t i o n s . " For the value of a passage, Richards a s s e r t e d , " f r e q u e n t l y hangs upon t h i s internal order among i t s c o n t r i b u t o r y meanings" (332, Richards' emphasis). The emphasis on i n t e r n a l o r d e r , p r o p o r t i o n , and sequence was a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c theme i n the 'new c r i t i c i s m ' . Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , Richards d i d not rush to e s t a b l i s h , e x p l i c i t l y , the c o n t i n u i t y of h i s work with the ancient r h e t o r i c a l t r a d i -t i o n , f o r i t i s c l e a r now th a t without changing the o v e r a l l framework of a n a l y s i s , without r e c o n s t i t u t i n g the obje c t of study, namely p u t t i n g the l i t e r a r y t e x t on a new b a s i s , Richards rethought and renamed the i n t e r n a l components of the t e x t as conceived and c o n s t i t u t e d by the ancient rhet-o r i c i a n s . I say 'not s u r p r i s i n g l y ' because Richards' own work, l i k e E l i o t ' s i n the London context, was w r i t t e n w i t h i n a h i g h l y charged polemical context i n the E n g l i s h u n i v e r s i t y community i n the 1920s (Lodge 1970: 366). Practical Criticism represented the c r i t i c a l avant-garde of i t s day. I t announced the younger generation's attempt to make a d e c i s i v e break with the ancient c r i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n stemming from 26 A r i s t o t l e ' s Poetics and his Rhetoric, a t r a d i t i o n with an ample draw i n the Western c r i t i c a l consciousness and a t r a d i t i o n that i n the new schools and departments of E n g l i s h at the U n i v e r s i t i e s represented the heavy orthodoxy of the c l a s s i c i s t s who took the new c h a i r s and l e c t u r e -ships (Lodge 1970': 367, 375). practical Criticism was both a d i s p a s s i o n -ate attempt, based on the l a t e s t research i n a e s t h e t i c s and psychology, to found a modern c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e on a n o n - r h e t o r i c a l basis and a passionate challenge to the preponderence of c l a s s i c i s t c r i t i c a l ortho-doxy. The student p r o t o c o l s on which Richards' book opened provided a data base f o r the t h e o r i z i n g that followed and a c l e a r rebuke to the softheadedness of the p r a c t i t i o n e r s of the o l d methods. Indeed the book ends, i n the f i n a l s e c t i o n of h i s "Summary," d i r e c t l y addressing the issue of the teaching of c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e i n the En g l i s h schools on the new basis proposed. By p e e l i n g o f f the r h e t o r i c a l t r a d i t i o n from the s k i n of the l i t e r a r y t e x t , an emancipatory e n t e r p r i s e i n the i n s t i t u t i o n a l context where he worked, Richards nevertheless a l s o s t r i p p e d back the c r i t i c a l perspective that had permitted the t h i n k i n g , i n i t s own l i m i t e d way, of the r e l a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l t e x t to i t s a c t i v e s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l c ontexts. R h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s not only conceptualized the i n t e r n a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of a work, but i t a l s o helped s t a b i l i z e the r e l a t i o n of t e x t and audience, t e x t and world.^ By r e t h i n k i n g the " i n t e r n a l order" of the t e x t , Richards hoped the weakly d i s c r i m i n a t e d notion of tone would do the conceptual work o f a s t r o n g l y d i s c r i m i n a t e d two-thousand-year t r a d i t i o n Q of d e a l i n g with a work's ext e r n a l r e l a t i o n s . Richards, of course, was only completing the work of romanticism. The complex r e l a t i o n s h i p s l i n k i n g w r i t e r and audience, w r i t e r and d i s -course (as genre and mode), w r i t e r and the dominant ideology of his or her time were a l l rethought i n romanticism i n the context of the i n v e n t i o n of the metaphysics of Being i n German i d e a l i s m , the accompanying phe-nomenology of presence, and the new a u t h o r i t y of voice and s p e e c h ^ (Wordsworth 1815, 1939: 935; Coleridge 1817, 1962: 221 f f . ) . This was attempted without recourse to the whole system of c l a s s i c a l r h e t o r i c that before romanticism c o n t r o l l e d these r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n a system of 'devices', genres, modes, and r u l e s of decorum that enclosed the play of meaning w i t h i n a given order (Foucault, 1973: 51-76). That e a r l i e r order came to be secluded and d i s p l a c e d i n the l a t t e r part of the eigh-teenth century (Vickers 1970: 58-60). In that c r i t i c a l moment, the 'devices', modes, e t c . were suddenly seen to have ep i s t e m o l o g i c a l dimen-s i o n s ; o r , to put i t another way, c e r t a i n e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l inferences could be made from the play of metaphor and s i m i l e which c l a s s i c a l r h e t o r i c a l theory, and the c u l t u r e which sustained i t , could not formu-l a t e i n terms of a theory of knowledge. The play of metaphor (one might even say the r o l e of metaphor), f o r example, that doubling of p l a i n sense so f a m i l i a r to us from c l a s s i c a l and Renaissance l i t e r a t u r e , was then emblematic of cosmological s t r u c t u r e , emblematic, as we have a l l been taught, of the r e l a t i o n of world to cosmos and man to God. By and through romanticism, however, such metaphoric doubling breached consciousness i t s e l f i n the d i r e c t i o n of i t s deepest r a t i o n a l i t i e s and i n the attending condensations of s e l f and i n d i v i d u a l i t y which the new p h i l o s o p h i c a l language of consciousness, i d e a l i s t and phenomenological, made p o s s i b l e . Thus, the D major sonata f o r c e l l o and piano d i r e c t e d 28 a t t e n t i o n towards Beethoven himself r a t h e r than to some a u t h e n t i c a t i n g , extra-personal cosmology,** r e q u i r i n g only the discovery of p s y c h o l o g i c a l space to b r i n g i n t o play the new c r i t i c a l , d e s c r i p t i v e b i n a r i e s and themes. In t h i s movement of thought, the r h e t o r i c a l system, r e f i n e d and transformed over two m i l l e n i a , could no longer serve as the unsurpassed encompassing framework or space of l i t e r a t u r e . The development of the modern conception of 'consciousness 1 as the species' access to Nature (Abrams 1971: 227) d e f l e c t e d the play of meaning away from the closures of s i m i l i t u d e and resemblance (Foucault 1973: 238-240). This d i f f e r e n c e can best be glimpsed i n the f a t e of the c e n t r a l r h e t o r i c a l t r o p e s -s i m i l e and metaphor. Within the r h e t o r i c a l system, they r e f l e c t a world always already i n place p r i o r to the a c t i v i t y of i t s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n language. Metaphor rethought as an e x p l o r a t i o n of consciousness-in-the-world generates meaning i n the a c t i v i t y of w r i t i n g i t s e l f (Stone 1967: 144-145). Coleridge might begin "Frost at Midnight" with what seems a f e i n t (Langbaum 1963: 45-46) towards metaphor: "The Frost performs i t s secret m i n i s t r y , / Unhelped by any wind . . ." ( l i n e s 1-2); however, by the poem's end, the 'metaphor' of the f r o s t ' s m i n i s t e r i n g has named no systematic s i m i l i t u d e , but, through tone-leading, generated a sequence of contiguous tonal zones which i n sum make palpable an e v o l v i n g s t a t e of mind. The m i n i s t e r i n g f r o s t i s not the metaphor s t r i c t l y speaking so much as the o c c a s i o n , the s i t e , i n f a c t , where consciousness comes c l o s e s t to sensing i t s own substance and representing that new found sense to i t s e l f : '"Tis calm indeed! so calm that i t d i s t u r b s / And vexes meditation w i t h i t s strange / And extreme s i l e n t n e s s " (8-10). When the 29: poem rounds back to the compositional present tense, the here and now of the process of pe r c e p t i o n , back to an awareness of "the secret m i n i s t r y of f r o s t " (73), i t i s not a sense of metaphorical c l o s i n g with which we're l e f t , but the l e t t i n g go, moving out towards the f i e l d . Thus, metaphor i s used h e u r i s t i c a l l y to explore consciousness, not to accom-modate experience to some noti o n a l given to which the metaphor r e f e r s . Furthermore, the s t r u c t u r a l i n t e g r i t y of the poem does not f i n a l l y c r y s t a l l i z e u n t i l the e n t i r e syntagmatic chain i s achieved. Without any overt or covert i n i t i a t i o n of some t r a d i t i o n a l o v e r a l l form, the poet a r t i c u l a t e s the environment i n which he f i n d s h i m s e l f , i n i t i a l l y as a p a r t i c u l a r , concrete place (the c o t t a g e ) , the s p e c i f i c s of which q u i c k l y accumulate and m u l t i p l y the play of meaning, and, by f i t s and s t a r t s , a sense of the whole, drawn, i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , p r i m a r i l y from Coleridge's sense of h i s past, his hopes f o r the fu t u r e and, i m p l i c i t l y , h i s concep-t i o n of Nature as mentor. These a c c r e t i o n s of meaning do not produce that sense of repose i n a shared, encompassing cosmology f o r which the poem i s now a r a d i a n t metonym; i n s t e a d , the poem i n s i s t s on foregrounding the process of i t s a r t i c u l a t i o n , i n other words, the presence of con-sciousness i t s e l f , and makes a v a i l a b l e the h e u r i s t i c drama which con-sciousness enacts (Richards 1934, 1950: 118-119). The c l o s u r a l l i m i t of the play of meaning i n the poem occurs as consciousness 'contacts' Nature. And although the l o o s e l y c i r c u l a r form of "Frost at Midnight" gestures towards metaphorical c l o s u r e of the t r a d i t i o n a l s o r t (which M. H. Abrams s e i z e s upon i n order to appropriate the poem as a sub-genre of l y r i c [Abrams 1965: 528, 550]), the actual h e u r i s t i c s t r u c t u r e glimpsed i n the sudden s h i f t s of awareness, of i n t e n s i t y of f e e l i n g and 3Q shock, makes possible a formal openness which Coleridge cannot yet f u l l y achieve. He cannot yet fully achieve i t because even amidst the develop-ment of a new poe t i c s Coleridge f e l t the i n e r t i a l drag of the form a l , e s p e c i a l l y c l o s u r a l , imperatives exerted by the d o c t r i n e of genre and mode. The c l a s s i c a l order of things i n s i s t e d on a poem's mimetic nature--the poem as an i m i t a t i o n of a Natural order, an order culminating i n a comprehensive and knowable cosmology. A poem's coherences were program-matic, i n the sense t h a t they were sanctioned by the p r i o r and absolute coherences of the cosmology. The poem's whole f i n a l form came i n t o being from the opening word as a contracted debt p r o g r e s s i v e l y and i n e v i t a b l y amortized. A poem l i k e M i l t o n ' s "Lycidas" d e f a u l t s on the debt, l e a v i n g a s t r u c t u r a l 'residue 1 which cannot be made sense of g e n e r i c a l l y (Ransom 1961: 64-81). That 'residue' can only be i n t e r p r e t e d when the poem i s no longer seen simply as an episode i n the i n t e r n a l l i f e of a genre, but r e - i n s e r t e d i n the concrete h i s t o r y to which the poem's tonal s t r u c t u r e gives us access, not simply as a way of f i n d i n g i n the poem actual r e f -erences to 'events' but i n the way concrete history, t w i s t s and makes over the form of the elegy as a f u n c t i o n of M i l t o n ' s attitudes towards, to use Richards' d e f i n i t i o n , the p a r t i c u l a r s of that h i s t o r y . In other words, the c l a s s i c a l view of genre does not d i s c r i m i n a t e between 'pastoral elegy' and 'pastoral elegy w r i t t e n i n a period of heavy episcopal censor-ship" ( H i l l 1977: 50-51). I f the c l a s s i c a l mode of re p r e s e n t a t i o n l i m i t e d the h e u r i s t i c p o s s i b i l i t i e s of metaphor, i t had al s o enclosed the notion of 'voice' i n poetry w i t h i n the rule-governed semantics of genre and decorum. In 305 romanticism, t h i s c a t e g o r i c a l l i m i t a t i o n gave way to a sudden d i l a t i o n of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of s i g n i f i c a t i o n when, with the accession of the new metaphysics of consciousness a r t i c u l a t e d by Kant and Hegel i n t h e i r various ways as the quintessence of the human, 'voice' was rethought as the s i g n of the presence of i n d i v i d u a t e d Being r a t h e r than as the sign of an a l l e g i a n c e to a p a r t i c u l a r corporate o r d e r l i n e s s . Indeed, the m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of voices i n Rameau's nephew i s perceived by h i s i n t e r -l o c u t o r as the s i g n of derangement (Diderot 1761, 1966: 103-104). The 'music' of these voices i s cacophonous and the opera the nephew performs singlehandedly simply bewildering ( c f . A l 1 d r i t t 1978: 53). In t h i s t e x t of the 1760s, we are poised at one of the moments when the notion of r h e t o r i c i s encompassed i r r e t r i e v a b l y by the romantic idea of s t y l e (Barthes 1971: 3-4). The c o n t r o l of what Richards and E l i o t would l a t e r c a l l 'tone' was no longer r a t i f i e d by an absolute s i g n i f i e d (a r e i g n i n g cosmology) through generic and modal c a t e g o r i e s ; c o n t r o l derived from a newly p r i v i l e g e d inwardness and a u t h o r i t y t i e d to the power, expression, and presence of s o l i t a r y i n d i v i d u a l s . 'Tone' was thematized i n roman-t i c i s m through the semantics of s i n c e r i t y and a u t h e n t i c i t y ( T r i l l i n g 1972: 92-100). E l i o t ' s e a r l y work, i n f l u e n c e d by French models, attended the funeral of s i n c e r i t y . 'Tone 1, as a c r i t i c a l category, came i n t o view with the derangement of the romantic complex of i d e a s , of s e l f , a u t h o r i t y , e x p r e s s i o n , and a u t h e n t i c i t y , the c o l l a p s e of the autonomous subject as absolute s i g n i f i e d , a c o l l a p s e that breaks over the e a r l y poems, up to "Ash Wednesday." In that key t e x t , E l i o t acknowledges the h i s t o r i c a l church as the transcendental s i g n i f i e r of a necessary, absolute s i g n i f i e d . 32 I t i s necessary as the guarantor of semantic cl o s u r e and centredness, an e x t r a t e x t u a l l i m i t i n g framework that closes the anarchic play of meaning and reference (Margolis 1973: 137; Gordon 1977: 132-133). Indeed, such a commitment to cl o s u r e and u n i t y c o n s t i t u t e s i m p l i c i t l y a s t a b l e " r e a l i t y " beyond the t e x t that E l i o t ' s l a t e r work, from "Ash Wednesday" on, culminating i n Four Quartets, explores and r a t i f i e s . This " r e a l i t y " c o i n c i d e s i n part f o r E l i o t w i t h the s o c i a l r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e ; the r e l i g i o u s settlement that encompasses t h i s " r e a l i t y " f u n c t i o n s as an absolute framework that E l i o t takes f o r granted a f t e r "Ash Wednesday" and i t s guarantees allow E l i o t to take p a r t i c u l a r a t t i t u d e s towards " r e a l i t y . " These a t t i t u d e s c o n s t i t u t e not, as Richards would have i t , a p a r t i c u l a r tone towards " r e a l i t y " as an i n t e r n a l pro-j e c t i o n of the t e x t , simply a feature of i t s i n t r i n s i c meaning, but something much more a c t i v e and outward. And i t i s the purpose of t h i s study to i n v e s t i g a t e the p a r t i c u l a r s of th a t a c t i v i t y and that outward-ness. For tone i s not j u s t simply a formal category; i t p o i n t s , a l b e i t crudely i n the c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n s of formalism, to a fundamental and concrete r e l a t i o n s h i p between t e x t and world. Having an attitude towards something i n l i f e i s not a simple, s e l f -contained, p e r s o n a l , i n t e r n a l s t a t e of mind or f e e l i n g ; i t i s a s o c i a l p r a c t i c e , and, i f that attitude towards audience or t h i n g i s i n s c r i b e d ( i n a poem, s a y ) , then i t i s al s o a c u l t u r a l and, perhaps, even a p o l i t i c a l p r a c t i c e . E l i o t , I b e l i e v e , came to r e a l i z e t h i s . His imaginative works, l i k e h i s essays, were conceived and w r i t t e n i n a s p i r i t of s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l engagement; indeed, I w i l l go so f a r as to say th a t t h e i r primary purpose was polemical i n the context of 33 Engl ish l i f e in the f i r s t ha l f of the twentieth century. Although I w i l l not be looking at Four Quartets in th i s study fo r reasons that w i l l become obvious as I proceed, I would l i k e to c lose th i s f i r s t chapter with a b r i e f look at one of the most i n f l u e n t i a l fo rma l i s t i n te rp re ta t ions of "Burnt Norton" in order to i l l u s t r a t e how the r i c h l y productive development of an i n t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m was not matched, in the twenty years a f t e r practical criticism, by a comparably r i ch and de ta i l ed development in the ana lys is of the re l a t i ons between text and world. In the context of th i s i l l u s t r a t i o n , I a lso want to begin putt ing in place some ideas , drawn from the soc io logy of knowledge, that might make th i s long-delayed c r i t i c a l development f i n a l l y poss ib le in a way that does j u s t i c e both to the i n t r i n s i c complexity of the ind iv idua l text and to the l i v ed dens i t i e s of h i s to r y . In his e a r l i e s t c r i t i q u e of Four Quartets, F. R. Leavis begins h is d i scuss ion of the three poems that had been publ ished in 1942 by endorsing D. W. Harding's comment that the author i ty of "Burnt Norton" l i e s beyond the a t t r ac t ions to thought of any "given i n t e l l e c t u a l and doc t r ina l framework": The genius, that of a great poet, manifests i t s e l f in a profound and acute apprehension of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of his age. Those d i f f i c u l t i e s are such that they c e r t a i n l y cannot be met by any simple recomposit ion of t r a d i t i o n a l frames. E l i o t is known as profess ing Anglo-Cathol ic ism and c l a s s i c i s m ; but his poetry i s remarkable fo r the extraord inary resource, penetrat ion and stamina with which i t makes i t s explorat ions in the concrete a c t u a l i t i e s of experience below the conceptual currency; into that l i f e that must be the raison d'etre of any frame—while there i s l i f e at a l l . With a l l i t s pos i t i v e asp i r a t i on and movement, i t is at the same time e s s e n t i a l l y a work of rad ica l ana lys is 34 and r e v i s i o n , e n d l e s s l y i n s i s t e n t i n i t s care not to confuse the frame with a l i v i n g r e a l i t y , and heroic i n i t s r e f u s a l to accept. (Leavis 1943, 1965: 103) To a r r i v e here Leavis (and Harding before him) penetrated to a l e v e l of a n a l y s i s which seemed to r e f l e c t the l e v e l at which the poem was being composed, or to put i t another way, the l e v e l anterior to s t r a t a where the poem, gathered up i n t o the conceptual apparatus of i t s s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l m i l i e u x , might be heard to be making simple d o c t r i n a l points i n e l u s i v e language. Leavis saw the poem's "immediacy" of e x p e r i e n t i a l contact as the "equivalent i n poetry of a work--to do by s t r i c t l y p o e t i c a l means the business of an ep i s t e m o l o g i c a l and metaphysical i n q u i r y " (94). We should note i n passing that L e a v i s ' " l i f e " and " l i v i n g r e a l i t y , " i f these terms have any p r e c i s i o n at a l l , borrow t h e i r p h i l o s o p h i c a l sub-stance from the metaphysics of Being c r y s t a l l i z e d i n the period between Hegel and Max Scheler (Leavis 1932, 1954; 94-95; 1972: 20-21). Indeed, the choice of these formulations to describe the enabling context of E l i o t ' s ' i n q u i r y ' i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n a number of ways. " L i f e " and " l i v i n g r e a l i t y " are utt e r e d with a confidence sustained by the underlying one-hundred-and-fifty-year p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r a d i t i o n that gives them t h e i r s p e c i f i c g r a v i t y . Yet., while they seem to draw a boundary around some p a r t i c u l a r zone of o b j e c t i v e r e f e r e n c e , when the boundaries of that zone are a c t u a l l y sought, they recede l i k e the horizon. In h i s f i n a l reading of the Quartets, published i n 1975, L e a v i s , l i v i n g i n a time more seve r e l y concerned with d e f i n i t i o n and with the i n t e n t behind the use of such g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s , attempted to develop h i s sense of the a c t u a l i z e d s t r u c t u r e of E l i o t ' s " r e a l i t y " along a l i n e of thought suggested by 35 Michael Polanyi as the t a c i t dimension of knowledge (Polanyi 1974: 121-207; Leav i s , 1975: 39, 243). It i s th i s l a t t e r development in Leav i s ' thought that provides th i s study with one of i t s points of departure. Putt ing to the s ide fo r the moment the quest ion of the " r e a l i t y " to which the poem r e f e r s , the actual s t ruc ture of E l i o t ' s poem, i t s concrete movement from word to word, l i ne to l i n e , that i s , the poem's pos i t i v e s t ruc tu re , proceeds t en t a t i v e l y in an evident d i f f i dence and hesitancy of a s se r t i on . The e f f e c t of t h i s procede, Leavis w r i t e s , i s a ce r ta in qua l i t y of "unseizableness" (1943, 1965: 95) , a qua l i t y that we might have c a l l e d 'ambiguity ' in the 1950s and 1960s and today might c a l l 'po lysemy' , though Leav i s 1 word c a r r i e s , perhaps, a greater f lavour of the p a r t i c u l a r i t y of his encounter with the poem. His ana lys is of the opening of "Burnt Norton" is famous for i t s sens i t i veness to the pressures and s h i f t s of thought and f e e l i ng in the movement, the continuousness, of the verse , catching "the spec i f i c . i nde te rmina te status of the exper ience" (95). He sees t h i s fundamentally as the "complex e f f e c t of a de-rea l i z ing of the rout ine commonsense world together with the evoking of a r e a l i t y that is hidden among the u n r e a l i t i e s into which l i f e in t ime, c l o se l y quest ioned, paradoxes i t s e l f . . . . " (96). In the "Burnt Norton" opening, the sudden s l i ppage , a f t e r the propos i t iona l assert iveness of the f i r s t ten l i n e s , at But to what purpose Dis turb ing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know. (CP 189) and, superadded, the attendant anxiety of s l i p p i n g f u r the r , once the stays are p u l l e d , into a more rad ica l rupture , a f e l t anx ie ty , f igured 36 even in the l i n e a t i o n , that gives the word "D i s tu rb ing " i t s f a i n t l y menacing note, is marvel lously conveyed by Leavis as a "sudden drop to another p lane, to a d is tanc ing comment, that brings out by contrast the immediacy of what goes be fore , while at the same time cont r ibut ing to the sensuous presentat ion of the whole" (96). The "sensuous presentat ion of the whole" i s negotiated by the s p a t i a l i z i n g act ion of the "sudden d rop , " the r esu l t of a progressive widening of the discourse of phi losophy, a speculat ion inaugurated by " F o o t f a l l s echo . . . " widening, f i n a l l y to a f u l l y achieved i con i c space--the garden--"our f i r s t wor ld . " That world becomes the abstract s i t e where ce r ta in ' takes ' of s e l f and i den t i t y condense as the resu l t of the spec ia l coherences permiss ib le in heightened states of percept ion , revery and dream, in th i s case the dream of o r i g i n s . It i s these s p e c i f i c condensat ions, however f e e l i n g l y enacted in a l l t he i r preternatura l harmony, that press us, reprov ing ly , towards the r e a l , not to an a r t i f i c i a l paradise won back from memory. Leavis hears the reproof and accepts i t as having the force of incontestable t r u th . To put i t b a l d l y , however, l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m does not demand an enquiry into the t ru th of E l i o t ' s f i n a l a s se r t i ons , but i t does demand an appre-c i a t i o n fo r t he i r con tes tab i1 i t y . Yet in the poem's echoes, ve r t igoes , interim"ttances, pauses, h e s i t a t i ons , i t s "unse izableness" in shor t , " r e a l i t y , " Leavis w r i t e s , i s sought as an "absolute reference" that confronts "the s p i r i t with the necess i ty of supreme d e c i s i o n s , ult imate cho i ces , and so g ive [s ] a meaning to l i f e " (97). In the need to c lose the poem by reading out a re ferent s t ructure (Chatman 1980: 41-42) from some deeper leve l that ac tua l i zes a 'meaning of l i f e ' , Leavis abandons his o r i g i n a l , and most p o t e n t i a l l y product ive , apercu, the very 37 "unse izableness" of the poem's o rgan iza t ion . This qua l i t y does not s c a t t e r , d i f f r a c t , or d i sso l ve the poem's meaning. On the cont rary , the poem's "unse izableness" marks i t s p rac t i ca l engagement with r e a l i t y and, the re fo re , const i tu tes a semantic feature . Leavis hears only the unavoidable e lus iveness that attends the u t te r ing of gnomic counsels . For him the poem's "unse izableness" obstructs meaning rather than pro-duces i t . For us there i s no need to read the poem as an in tense ly f e l t , but otherwise s imple , p ropos i t ion about a genera l i za t ion ca l l ed ' l i f e ' or ' r e a l i t y ' . C r i t i c a l c losure of th i s s o r t , the sine qua non of fo rma l i s t c r i t i c i s m , needs some absolute re ferent to l i m i t the play of meaning. But such c losure r a t i ona l i z e s a t e x t ' s microst ructura l d i v e r s i t y , evident from l i ne to l i n e as a m u l t i p l i c i t y o f o rgan iza t ions , by re-wri t ing the poem's unique and i r r educ ib l e d e t a i l s and sequences in terms of more or less resounding cu l tu ra l commonplaces without recogniz ing that the texts so re-written are themselves comments on the commonplaces into which they are reso lved. Formal ist re-wri t ing of a work contains determinants that obscure the work's de ta i l ed r e l a t i onsh ip to the soc ia l and h i s t o r i c a l process, the concrete h i s to ry in which i t is lodged, by recast ing the work's utterances as statements about states of a f f a i r s in genera l : "human kind / Cannot bear very much r e a l i t y " i s not a bald propos i t ion with which we ought or ought not agree (Leavis 1975: 177). Nor i s i t , as Leavis would have i t , q u a s i - s c r i p t u r a l . The meanings of " r e a l i t y " and "human k ind" are not absolute denotat ions ; they a re , in f a c t , usages which p a r t i c u l a r men and women at p a r t i c u l a r times under p a r t i c u l a r condi t ions p r i v i l ege as part of a wider soc ia l p r a c t i c e . This prac t i ce 38 involves the appropriation of a network of 'absolute' references as a validating condition and limiting case of an historically determined structure of signifiers. This structure of signifiers and their refer-ences, conventionalized over time, constitute an intelligible universe. No one can argue that the sort of formalist reading we see here is not attentively and feelingly done; Leavis' actual responsiveness to the shifts and movement of the text are paradigmatic for practical criticism. Where the weakness lies is in how these shifts, word choices, linebreaks, syntactic pressures are to be made sense of, how the delicacy of the poem's positive structure, as i t is sensitively constructed, is to be interpreted. The appeal to " l i f e , " "living reality," or any other reification of the lived complexity of historically active social struc-tures and processes cannot function as adequate interpretation because its explanatory power is hidden from sight, is simply implicit and un-named in the shared intersubjectivity of the lived. Having won a mag-nificently complex sense of the poem's positive activity, Leavis closes his eyes when he turns to the world about which the poem seems to be making some point. He closes his eyes by collapsing the irreducible complexity of the social world to which the poem refers into generalized concepts--"life," "living reality"--with contents that are never made explicit. Criticism needs to grow eyes in order to examine more closely what a phrase like the "concrete actualities of experience" actually names in a poem. Clearly, a poem cannot deliver in some unmediated form experience itself. The question is how we are to account for the media-tions which transform experience into a poetic object. Plainly, the poem's language assembles and mobilizes, to some 39 e x t e n t , a t t i t u d e s towards the experiences which i t presents. But no language comes i n t o a poem that has not already had a v i v i d l i f e and h i s t o r y i n a v a r i e t y of recuperable s o c i a l d i s c o u r s e s , discourses that can be mapped across a r e a l s o c i a l t e r r a i n (Bakhtin 1929, 1973: 163-167). Thus, how we are to take the donnish tone of the opening of "Burnt Norton" w i l l depend on what a t t i t u d e we th i n k the poem i s asking us to take towards i t , an a t t i t u d e which can be made sense of as a f u n c t i o n of that paradigmatic set of a t t i t u d e s towards dons and t h e i r p r o f e s s i o n a l discourses which can be recovered from the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a p a r t i c u l a r community. This l i n e of thought obviously foregrounds a poem's language, but not language i n some a b s t r a c t sense, not the system of language (what s t r u c t u r a l i s m c a l l s la langue). Instead, the verbal medium of the poem i s language as la parole, language as i t i s used i n p a r t i c u l a r times and places. Language i n t h i s sense i s c o n s t i t u t i v e of the e n t i r e contents of what I am c a l l i n g the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a community. One cannot use language outside the a s s o c i a t i o n s , denotations, connotations, h i s t o r i e s , meanings, e t c . t h a t make up t h i s shared i n t u i t i v e l i f e ( H a l l i d a y 1978: 8-35, 211-235). Thus, to use any l o c u t i o n i s to e s t a b l i s h a r e l a t i o n with the purposes to which that l o c u t i o n or tone or syntax has been put i n the socio-verbal h i s t o r y of the community. I f we read the opening l i n e s of "Burnt Norton" s o l e l y f o r t h e i r p r o p o s i t i o n a l content, o r , i n other words, f o r what they might or might not say about "Time," we miss the same dimension of the poem that we miss i n Rene Magritte's famous p a i n t i n g of a pipe with i t s legend " c e c i n'est pas une pipe" (The Treachery (or Perfidy) of Images, 1928-1929), i f we th i n k the re p r e s e n t a t i o n there i s a pipe. 40 Language does not simply r e f l e c t , but a c t i v e l y c o n s t i t u t e s , s o c i a l r e a l i t y ; that i s , language i s not an autonomous order of signs that p a r a l l e l s an autonomous order of t h i n g s ; nor i s i t narrowly s t i p u l a t i v e . Although the r e l a t i o n of s i g n i f i e r to s i g n i f i e d i n language i s a r b i t r a r y , the r e l a t i o n i s nonetheless conventional and, more or l e s s , h i s t o r i c a l l y s t a b l e (Williams 1977: 43-44). Furthermore, as Benjamin Lee Whorf suggests, "we d i s s e c t r e a l i t y along l i n e s l a i d down by our n a t i v e languages": And every language i s a vast pattern-system, d i f f e r e n t from o t h e r s , i n which are c u l t u r a l l y ordained the forms and categories by which the p e r s o n a l i t y not only com-municates, but a l s o analyses nature, notices or neglects types of r e l a t i o n s h i p and phenomena, channels h i s reasoning, and b u i l d s the house of his consciousness. (1956, 1978: 252) In an important a r t i c l e i n 1962, W i l l i a m Haas defined the r e l a t i o n between the s t r u c t u r e of s i g n i f i e r s and the panta rhei of t h i n g s : I t i s of course, u l t i m a t e l y , some r e l a t i o n of l i n g u i s t i c expressions to other things that c o n s t i t u t e s t h e i r meanings. The question i s : What s o r t of r e l a t i o n ? My point i s that i t i s not, and cannot be, a r e l a t i o n between two d i s t i n c t orders of t h i n g . The a l l e g e d c o n f r o n t a t i o n of language with f a c t s , the a l l e g e d reference of expressions to things uninvolved i n l a n g u a g e — t h i s we cannot make sense of. I f we d i v i d e language from other things i n t h i s d u a l i s t f a s h i o n , both are d i s s o l v e d i n a general b l u r . I t i s only i n t h e i r a c t i v e i n t e r p l a y with one another that e i t h e r assumes determinate shape; and i t i s t h i s interpiay--t h i s a c t i v e co-operation of utterances with t h i n g s — that c o n s t i t u t e s the meaning of utterances. (223) Whorf and Haas are not t a l k i n g about some s p e c i a l r e a l i t y , but of the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e . And poems, too, l i k e Four Quartets, are 41) meaningful only w i t h i n the context of the semantic i n t e r s u b j e c t i v i t y of the everyday. Deviations from the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e are c l e a r l y marked and are meaningful only i n the s p e c i f i c s of the concrete r e l a t i o n -ship set up between f i n i t e provinces of meaning and the cohesive, i n t e l -l i g i b l e , l i n g u i s t i c a l l y generated and maintained paramount r e a l i t y of everyday existence (Berger and Luckmann 1979: 39). Everyday l i f e presents i t s e l f as a r e a l i t y i n t e r p r e t e d by men and s u b j e c t i v e l y meaningful to them as a coherent world; that i s , the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e i s appre-hended as an ordered r e a l i t y (Berger and Luckmann: 33). This paramount r e a l i t y i s organized around the here and now of the present; the past and the f u t u r e , and the ways i n which the grammatical category of tense d i s c r i m i n a t e s t h e i r v a r i e t i e s , no doubt e x i s t , but they e x i s t i n terms of d i f f e r i n g degrees of closeness and remoteness from the present. In other words, the 'past' and the 'future' are only sub-categories o f , or a t t i t u d e s belonging to and d e r i v i n g from, the present, which are t h e r e f o r e , r a d i c a l l y contingent upon the present. This may seem to be only a s t a t e -ment of the obvious, but too.often formalism has t r e a t e d notions of the 'past' and the 'future' as absolutes--unchanging, e s s e n t i a l l y incontes-t a b l e t r a n s c e n d e n t a l s - - i n s t e a d of the s o c i o - h i s t o r i c , s p e c i f i c , human, pro d u c t i v e , c o n t e s t a b l e , q u o t i d i a n notions they r e a l l y are. The r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e f u r t h e r presents i t s e l f as an i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e w orld, a world shared w i t h others (Berger and Luckmann: 37). The primary modality of t h i s sharing i s n a r r a t i v e (Havelock 1963: 87-89; Jameson 1981: 74-102), although with the s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of f u n c t i o n i n s o c i e t y c e r t a i n ways of sharing the world are i n s c r i b e d by non-narrative means, f o r i n s t a n c e , the discourses of science. Compared to the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e , 42 other r e a l i t i e s appear as f i n i t e provinces of meaning, enclaves with in the paramount r e a l i t y marked by c i rcumscr ibed meanings and modes of exper ience. " A l l f i n i t e provinces of meaning," Berger and Luckmann wr i t e , "are character ized by a turning away of a t tent ion from the r e a l i t y of everyday 1 i f e . " While there a re , of course, sh i f t s in a t tent ion within everyday l i f e , the s h i f t to a f i n i t e province of meaning i s Of a much more rad ica l k ind. A radical change takes place in the tension of consciousness. In the context of r e l i g i o u s experience th i s has been apt ly c a l l ed ' l e a p i n g 1 . It is important to stress, however, that the reality of everyday life retains its paramount status even as such 'leaps' take place. If nothing else, language makes sure of this. The common language available to me for the objectification of my experiences is grounded in everyday life and keeps pointing back to it even as I employ it to interpret experiences in finite provinces of meaning. T y p i c a l l y , the re fo re , I ' d i s t o r t ' the r e a l i t y of the l a t t e r as soon as I begin to use the common language in i n te rp re t ing them, that i s , I ' t r a n s -l a t e ' the non-everyday experiences back into the paramount r e a l i t y . This may be r ead i l y seen in terms of dreams, but i t i s a lso t yp i ca l of those t r y ing to report about t h e o r e t i c a l , aes thet i c or r e l i g i o u s worlds of meaning. The theore t i ca l phys i c i s t t e l l s us that his concept of space cannot be conveyed l i n g u i s t i c a l l y , j us t as the a r t i s t does with regard to the meaning of his creat ions and the mystic with regard to his encounters with the d i v i ne . Yet a l l these--dreamer, p h y s i c i s t , a r t i s t and m y s t i c - - a i s o l i v e in the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e . Indeed, one of their important problems is to interpret the co-existence of this reality with the reality enclaves into which they have ventured. (39-40, my emphasis) It i s an assumption of th i s study that the aesthet ic exper ience, the wr i t ing and reading of poetry fo r example, cons t i tu tes j u s t such a f i n i t e province of meaning s i tua ted with in paramount r e a l i t y and act ing upon i t . As a f i n i t e province of meaning, ar t can comment on, a t tack , support , subvert , and rev ise paramount r e a l i t y symbo l i ca l l y . 4.3 The general concept fo r our purposes here i s that experience of the world const i tu tes an experience of a r e a l i t y that i s very d i f f e r e n t from the order of ' t h i ngs ' to which unmediated experience is supposed to give us access. We may enjoy, at the elementary physical l e v e l , immediate sensory contact with the material world around us, but each such contact has no existence in the soc ia l universe except in the envelope of meaning which makes the contact i n t e l l i g i b l e in the context of paramount r e a l i t y . Ma t e r i a l i t y cannot evade semiot ic appropr ia t ion (Eco 1979a: 22-24). As a system of cons t i t u t i v e s i g n s , the soc i a l universe organizes the 'wor ld ' around man and creates a f u l l y r e a l i z ed common i n t u i t i v e l i f e (Lotman and Uspensky 1978: 213). Our making of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e occurs by v i r tue of our ind iv idua l use of language in the context of the need, the necess i t y , of intercourse with other men (Marx and Engels 1845-46, 1970: 19). In other words, language is a way of opening us towards the soc ia l un iverse , t ransforming, p r a c t i c a l l y , the s i l ence and namelessness of th ings . AIT exper ience, the instant i t i s s o c i a l i z e d , i s always already insc r ibed with meaning by p r i o r knowledge of the words which t r a d i t i o n a l l y encompass and envelope i t . The inadequacy of Richards ' concept of tone as the c r i t i c a l access to the r e l a t i on of text to context should here be p l a i n , f o r i t i s to the const ruc ted , 'man-made' r e a l i t y that words l i k e " r e a l i t y " and "human k ind" in "Burnt Norton" a c tua l l y r e f e r . They ac tua l i ze in the va r i e t y of t he i r uses a l a tent potent ia l fo r meaning which the soc ia l universe o f f e r s as the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . Thus, E l i o t ' s use of a phrase l i k e "human k ind" i s s i g n i f i c a n t , not because of i t s abstract denotat ion—a pos i t i v e meaning that i s imagined by formalism to ex i s t in a u n i v e r s a l , neutral or 44 absolute s p a c e — b u t because such a phrase e x i s t s i nstead i n a semantic space whose contours are marked by a l l the phrases and formulations with which "human kind" shares, r e l a t i o n s of synonymy, hyponomy, antimony, or i n c o m p a t a b i l i t y , e t c . (Lyons 1977: 270-335). The phrase a l s o t r a i l s the i d e o l o g i c a l accumulations which usage of a l l these p a i r s and sets of terms has i n s c r i b e d i n the paradigm they c o n s t i t u t e . S i m i l a r l y , the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the pr e c i s e syntagmatic p o s i t i o n i n g of "human ki n d , " i n t h i s case the c o u p l i n g , as a momentary but p o s s i b l y s i g n i f i c a n t o p p o s i t i o n , of ". . . b i r d : human . . . " (CP 190), i s effaced when the array of a r t i c u l a t i o n s and conjunctions i n which i t appears are enclosed by c r i t i c a l expectations and assumptions of absolute or g e n e r a l i z e d r e f e r -ence. This i s not to argue that no statements of general reference are p e r m i s s i b l e ; c l e a r l y they are. But what must be i n s i s t e d upon i s that c r i t i c i s m should not be seduced i n t o t a k i n g f o r granted the absolute status of the reference; a general statement should f i r s t be examined f o r the f u n c t i o n i t serves i n p a r t i c u l a r contexts of utterance: l i n g u i s t i c , l i t e r a r y , s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l , i d e o l o g i c a l , e t c . These contexts help c o n s t i t u t e the 'world', not the 'world' of un-mediated experience, natural o b j e c t s , p h y s i o l o g i c a l processes; those e n t i t i e s and processes as such are meaningless, but, set back i n s p e c i f i c c o n t e x t s , they share i n the pl e n i t u d e of meaning which the 'world' as a whole makes p o s s i b l e . Thus, E l i o t ' s poems (and a l l poems) are not organ-i z a t i o n s of experience, but are, as i t were, o r g a n i z a t i o n s of meaning, th a t i s , forms t h a t a c t u a l i z e p o t e n t i a l meaning i n the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . They make p l a i n E l i o t ' s own grasp of and a t t i t u d e towards not simply "audience," but the s p e c i f i c forms of l i f e i n which h i s poems and 45 his experience have the i r sense, an environment with a l l i t s p r i v i l eged orders and h i e r a r ch i e s , i t s h i s t o r i c a l accumulations and condensations of s i g n i f i c a n c e , i t s l eg i t imat ing sanct ions and cond i t i ons , i t s poss ib le d i s courses , l i t e r a t u r e s , cogn i t i ve s t y l e s , vo i ces , and, f i n a l l y , i t s systemat ic , and s i g n i f i c a n t , ' cook ing ' of physical nature: Laughing should , i f i t s expression does not come by nature, be c a r e f u l l y taught. Nor need there be any a r t i f i c i a l i t y in t h i s , f o r , a f t e r a wh i le , i t becomes as natural as the cor rec t pronunciat ion of words a f t e r a ser ies of e locut ion lessons , and, as everybody knows, d i s t i n c t enunciat ion does not come by nature. But who could descr ibe i t as a r t i f i c i a l ? In the same, way the pret ty harmonious laugh is a second nature with many. The only th ing to be guarded against is that the i n -culcated laugh is apt to grow stereotyped, and few things are more i r r i t a t i n g than to hear i t over and over aga in , begin on the same note, run down the same s c a l e , and consequently express no more mirth than the keys of the piano. (Humphrey 1897: 13) Formalism d i r ec t s our a t tent ion in a poem, no less than in a laugh, to the in terna l organ izat ion of the t ex t ' s pos i t i v e form. However, a second and more important organ izat ion emerges in the d i a l e c t i c a l i n t e r -ac t ion between the work, conceived of as a s i g n i f y i n g p r a c t i c e , and the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e to which i t re fe rs and on which i t operates. The poem, from th i s pe rspec t i ve , i s def ined by what i t does in that arena. And what the poem is doing i s foregrounding, not immediate experience as some accounts of poetry would have i t , but the way experiences are repre -sented, that i s , i n s c r i b e d , in the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of paramount r e a l i t y . A poem, a l i t e r a r y text gene ra l l y , explores the s i g n i f i c a t i o n s which experiences carry in the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a p a r t i c u l a r soc ie ty . The procedures i t employs to do th i s are many and complex. 46 The uniqueness of l i t e r a r y d iscourse l i e s in jus t the way i t transforms ordinary language. The doctr ine of i.e mot juste, to d igress fo r a moment, underscores th i s view of the l i t e r a r y text rather we l l . Rather than think of le mot juste as a kind of f e l i c i t o u s accuracy of expression snatched from the a i r , we might now understand the nature of i t s accuracy. Le mot juste i s accurate not because of any i n t r i n s i c access i t has to the r e a l i t y i t is naming (remember how many such words and phrases qu ick ly become c l i c h e s ) , but i t i s accurate p rec i se l y because of the i m p l i c i t , yet s t i l l powerful , c r i t i q u e of the conventional locut ion or c l iche" which i t tr iumphantly d i sp l a ces . The uniqueness of l i t e r a r y d i scourse , then, l i e s in the work of t ransformat ion. In th i s respec t , the conventional r e l a t i onsh ip between s i g n i f i e r and s i g n i f i e d is often subverted or overturned so as e i the r to provoke a new v i s i o n of the world o r , as in the case of T. S. E l i o t , to restore some o lder order of s i g n i -f i c a t i o n in the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . This d i a l e c t i c a l act ion produces the poem's negative s t ruc tu re . It i s negative because i t urges c r i t i c i s m to take not ice of the environment as a formative and transformative matrix of poss ib le meanings, some of which are chosen and some of which are re fused. "Human k i n d , " in the l i nes discussed e a r l i e r , is a phrase that has both a p o s i t i v e , denotat ive meaning, but a c t i v e l y excludes i t s near synonyms, such as 'the masses ' , or 'the general p u b l i c ' , 'body p o l i t i c ' , e t c . Choosing some one p a r t i c u l a r formulat ion i s an act both pos i t i ve and negat ive , both an inc lus ion and an exc lus ion . And the choice cannot be explained 12 on fo rma l i s t p r i n c i p l e s alone. To choose one thing over another impl ies an a t t i tude towards those things that have been re jected and the wider soc ia l meanings the re jected carry with them. That which is ex-cluded and the process of exc l u s i on , conscious or not , shape the ove ra l l form of a work; they are often the things a text cannot, or r e fuses , to speak about: "the value of [Jane] Austen 's f i c t i o n thr i ves qui te as much on i t s ignorance as on i t s i n s i g h t : i t i s because there is so much the novels cannot poss ib l y know that they know what they do, and in the form they do" (Eagleton 1976: 71). 'Tone' provides access to the external r e l a t i o n s , or negative s t ruc tu r e , of the l i t e r a r y work, r e l a t i ons that tend to de-form the abstract symmetries towards which a work's in terna l development, usua l ly arrayed by the generative act ion of a dominant theory and prac t i ce of l i t e r a t u r e , leans. To recast R ichards ' e a r l i e r fo rmula t ion , " tone , " then, i s an e f f e c t of the way a poem concrete ly s igna ls only the e x i s -tence, but not the a r t i cu l a t ed form, of several complex l i n k s , l inks between wr i te r (or speaker) and audience (Richards 1929, 1946: 182), wr i te r (or speaker) and the dominant d iscourses by which the audience has already inscr ibed in te rsub jec t i ve experience in the past , and wr i te r (or speaker) and the dominant ideology of his or her t ime. I give the term ' ideo logy ' the sense in which F redr i c Jameson has recent ly used i t . Basing his d e f i n i t i o n on Louis A l thusse r , Jameson writes that ideology i s "a representat ional s t ructure [ representat ion = DARSTELLUNG] which allows the ind iv idua l subject to conceive or imagine his or her l i v ed r e l a t i o n -ship to transpersonal r e a l i t i e s such as the soc ia l s t ructure or the c o l l e c t i v e log i c of H is to ry " (1981: 30). The actual form of these l i n k s , descr ibed crudely by Richards as an a t t i tude towards an audience, can be more i n c l u s i v e l y descr ibed as a w r i t e r ' s , and a t e x t ' s , a t t i tude towards 48 that in the environment which the text f a ces , and beyond tha t , the complex r e l a t i ons into which a work enters as a s i g n i f y i n g a c t i v i t y , or ra ised to a higher power, as a soc ia l or p o l i t i c a l p r a c t i c e . In other words, to use our e a r l i e r terminology, the l i t e r a r y text i s a kind of comment (gener i c , modal) about, the way ce r ta in pa r t i cu l a r exper iences, ob jec t s , events ("our f i r s t world") have been or are normally insc r ibed in the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e (Berger and Luckmann: 152-153). But the form th i s comment takes is not the simple re-experiencing of that which has already been i n s c r i b e d ; ins tead , i t takes the form of a r e v i s i o n , which, in the case of modernism, incorporates the rhe to r i ca l s t rategy of presenting the r ev i s i on as g iv ing access to the seed experiences obscured or perverted by the o r i g i na l i n s c r i p t i o n . The form of the r e v i s i on is determined by the a t t i tude the wr i te r chooses to take towards the way experience i s being or has been 'cooked' in paramount r e a l i t y in the past . The s i t e of th i s r ev i s i on i s a f i n i t e province of meaning. It i s important to note, and th i s i s an assumption of t h i s study, that a w r i t e r ' s or t e x t ' s . a t t i t u d e towards the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e is always to be understood as an a t t i tude to an environment always already organized, densely insc r ibed with meaning and s t ructured in depth. So tha t , f o r example, an a t t i tude towards " r e a l i t y " or "human k ind" or " t r u t h " i s always an a t t i tude towards the way these signs already ex i s t in the wor ld. 49 Notes to Chapter One * The most i n f l u e n t i a l attacks on h i s t o r i c i s t and contextual approaches to l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m in our era (s ince 1940) are the fo l low ing : Ransom 1972; Leavis 1962: 182-194 and 195-203; Welleck and Warren 1973: 71-135; Wimsatt 1954; Frye 1968; 1973; Cu l l e r 1975; de Man 1979; R i f f a t e r r e 1978. But see Eagleton 1983: 51-53 on Wi l l iam Empson. 2 By Anglo-American formalism I mean the text-based l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m widely pract i ced in the academies of the North A t l a n t i c world from the 1940s to the 1970s, although i t s theore t i ca l foundations were l a i d two decades e a r l i e r . In the 1960s and 1970s, p r imar i l y in America, i t s unevenly developed conceptual and ca tegor ica l base came under intense scrut iny by a new generation of fo rmal i s ts and a more systematic ( i . e . rule-governed) formal ism, now ca l l ed " s t r u c t u r a l i s m , " was proposed in i t s p lace. 3 The p r i n c ipa l conceptual i n h i b i t i o n fo r Anglo-American formalism has been i t s re t icence in dea l ing with ' i n t e n t i o n 1 in a tex t . We cannot think ' i n t e n t i o n ' as a semantic or formal element of a text without some notion of an ac t i ve s i gn i f y i ng context . Formalism's s e l f - i n f l i c t e d myopia on t h i s quest ion can be corrected i f our view of language acknowl-edges language's i n s e p a r a b i l i t y from the semantics of the soc ia l process , no matter to what spec ia l uses language i s put. "An in tent ion can only be deduced by a hearer or reader from language and s i t u a t i o n , and more-over i t cannot simply be assumed that in tent ions are always f u l l y known 50 to a speaker h imse l f , even when i t i s not his in tent ion to conceal his i n t en t i on " (Turner 1973: 147). The whole d iscuss ion of context in chapter f i ve of Turner 's book is p a r t i c u l a r l y l u c id and wr i t ten from a l i t e r a r y , rather than a l i n g u i s t i c or p h i l o s o p h i c a l , perspect ive . Of course, there are many exce l l en t l i n g u i s t i c d iscuss ions of context. In the area of semantics John Lyons' recent summaries and d iscuss ions of the notion are now the best in t roduct ion to the complexit ies of the issue (1978: 570-635). For an exce l l en t b r i e f summary of the contemporary l i t e r a r y views of ' i n t e n t i o n ' see Chandler 1982: 464-465n. i l . 4 Since 'tone as a c r i t i c a l concept i s r a re l y discussed e x p l i c i t l y wi th in a developed l i t e r a r y theory by p rac t i ca l c r i t i c s , i t continues to o r i en t i n t e rp re ta t i on s i l e n t l y . It provides i m p l i c i t c r i t i c a l control on i n te rp re ta t i ve judgements seemingly derived from a survey of i n t r i n s i c features . The most i n t e r es t i ng examples of the s i l e n t reading of context through the concept of ' tone ' are F. R. Leav i s , in most of his p rac t i ca l c r i t i c i s m , and Cleanth Brooks in most of h i s , but e spec i a l l y v i s i b l y so in "The Case of Miss Arabe l l a Fermor," in (1947: 80-104). 5 Lodge 1970: 367; and see a lso E l i o t ' s comments on George Wyndham in sw 24-32, but contrast E l i o t ' s remarks on another gentleman-amateur, Charles Whibley, whose r e l i g i o u s sentiments were more congenial to his own, in SE 439-440 et seq. Stead 1967: 52-53. g I have der ived my knowledge of the la te and post V i c to r i an l i t e r a r y scene and s i t ua t i on from many primary and secondary sources over a number of years , having f i r s t studied the ear l y modern period as a senior undergraduate. However, C. K. Stead's The New Poetic (1967) s t i l l seems to me to assemble an accurate account of the l i t e r a r y 51) environment of the time and the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e which wr i ters and t he i r publ ics shared. His account of the place of the Georgian poets on th i s landscape and of t he i r i n t e l l e c t u a l and moral commitment to l i b e r a l i s m remains unsurpassed (86-87). I have a lso p ro f i t ed grea t l y from reading two exce l l en t soc i a l and p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r i e s of England in th i s pe r iod : Donald Read's England 1868-1914 (1979) and Richard Shannon's The crisis of imperialism, 1865-1915 (1974). The re levant sect ions and chapters of Raymond Wi l l iams ' culture and society, 1780-1950 (1958, 1961) and The Long Revolution (1961) f i r s t spurred my i n t e r e s t , years ago, in th i s per iod . ^ The pre-romantic view of a poem's f unc t i on , that i t de l i gh t and i n s t r u c t , i s l o g i c a l l y l inked to poet ry ' s rhe to r i ca l basis and i t s consequent o r i en ta t i on towards the author-audience r e l a t i o n s h i p . See Stone 1967: 16-17. 8 It i s i n te res t ing to note that when the "new c r i t i c i s m " i t s e l f became the re ign ing orthodoxy in the 1950s and 1960s i t forced the c r i t i c a l approaches i t had chal lenged to r e - v i t a l i z e t he i r own d i s rup ted , and in some cases d i s c r e d i t e d , methods. Deconstruct!"ve p r a c t i c e s , fo r example, represent , to some extent , the renewal of a conceptual ly more dar ing and psycho log i ca l l y aggressive p h i l o l o g i c a l t r a d i t i o n . This i s e spec i a l l y v i s i b l e in the work of those t ra ined at Yale in the l a s t two decades; see , fo r example, Parker 1979: 19. Deconstruct ion, in f a c t , might be character ized as p h i l o l o g y ' s revenge on c lose reading. Other t r ad i t i ons of reading scat tered by "new c r i t i c i s m " have a lso p ro f i t ed from a period o f se l f-examinat ion. Rhetor ica l a n a l y s i s , fo r example, has re-surfaced in the l a s t decade or so and won back, to some considerable 52 extent , i t s pre-formal is t v i r i l i t y , bolstered by the empir ica l author i ty of modern and post-modern perceptual and cogn i t i ve psychologies . In th i s respec t , Angus F l e t che r ' s study of a l l egory (1964) i s a work whose methodological importance equals the b r i l l i a n c e of i t s ana lys i s of a d i scu rs i ve mode. Rhetor i c ' s i n te res t in a reader 's recept ion of d i scu rs i ve a f f ec t s has been powerful ly recast by Stanley F i s h , under the name of " a f f e c t i v e s t y l i s t i c s , " as a phenomenology of the recept ion control apparatus in a text (1972: 383-427). Renewed in te res t in the f i gu ra t i v e aspects of the rhe to r i ca l t r a d i t i o n has a lso d i rec ted a t tent ion to schematic processes in f igure and t rope. See Barthes 1971; 1976; de Man, 1971; White, 1973. Indeed the o ld b iographica l approach, which bore so much of the weight of E l i o t ' s , and fo rma l i sm 's , tongue, has a lso been renewed in a number of forms, notably as psychobiography, say Sartre on F lauber t , o r , as what can only be c a l l ed ecobiography, of which the sole exemplar so fa r is Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era (1971). Marxist c r i t i c a l p rac t i ce has a lso p ro f i t ed from the chal lenges of "new c r i t i c i s m , " chal lenges f i r s t taken up by an I t a l i a n , though his work dea l t extens ive ly with Anglo-American l i t e r a r y and c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e s : De l i a Volpe 1960, 1978. g The standard d iscuss ion is Abrams 1958: 235-241, but see Immanuel Kant's own comments in "The F inal Purpose of the Natural D i a l e c t i c of Human Reason," in his critique of Pure Reason (1781), t rans la ted by Kemp Smith, 1929, 1968: 549-570. See a lso the f i r s t pa r t , on Being, in Hegel 's The Science of Logic (1929: 79-197). ^ Henry F i e ld ing acknowledges th i s new author i ty in mid-eighteenth-century legal p rac t i ce as a 'modern' op in ion . See Joseph Andrews, 1742, 53 1980: 85. ^ John Hollander has suggested that s p e c i f i c a l l y profess iona l and personal pra ise of the actual musician is c l e a r l y v i s i b l e at the end of the seventeenth century in the "musical odes" of John Dryden (1970: 422). My point about Beethoven is that by 1800 the s h i f t of a t tent ion that Hollander descr ibes can ca l l fo r support on an achieved ph i losophica l t r a d i t i o n of the Subject. 12 E l i o t understood very well the semantics of c h o i c e 1 . See "The Function of C r i t i c i s m , " in SE 14-15. 54 Chapter Two: The d e s t r u c t i o n of " l i t e r a t u r e " T. S. E l i o t ' s e a r l y prose and poetry are e n t i r e l y devoted to the transforming of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of the Anglo-American bour-g e o i s i e . This p r o j e c t , of course, d i d not sp r i n g f u l l y formed from E l i o t ' s forehead. I t gathered f o r c e slowly i n several areas of endeavour - - h i s p h i l o s o p h i c a l s t u d i e s , l i t e r a t u r e , c r i t i c i s m , and l a t e r , h i s s o c i o -c u l t u r a l c r i t i c i s m . Remarkably, i t began to take shape very e a r l y i n E l i o t ' s l i f e , as e a r l y as 1910-1911, the winter he spent i n P a r i s as a student and f i r s t encountered the formative ideas of Charles Maurras, the w i n t e r of the f i r s t v e r s i o n of "The Love Song of J . A l f r e d Prufrock" (Kojecky 1971: 58-62; Gordon 1977: 54). This renovatory p r o j e c t focussed c e r t a i n r e c u r r i n g themes, which I w i l l be examining i n the next few chapters. But e q u a l l y as important as these themes are i n understanding his e a r l y work i s the audience to whom t h i s work i s addressed and which must be kept c o n s t a n t l y i n mind. I w i l l be arguing that E l i o t spoke to and f o r an important segment of s o c i e t y , b r i e f l y the Anglo-American b o u r g e o i s i e , and through them to the wider bourgeois c u l t u r e of Europe (Harrison 1967: 27, 159-160; Kojecky 1971: 47-52, 117-120; Eagleton 1976: 145-146; Gloversmith 1980: 36). I t i s f o r the transformation of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of that c l a s s that E l i o t ' s work has i t s primary s o c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . The f a c t t h a t he cast h i s thought i n u n i v e r s a l i s t terms i n d i c a t e s c l e a r l y the proximity of t h i s s o c i a l region to a u t h o r i t y and power, a proximity that gives to bourgeois consciousness the notion 55 that i t occupies a p r i v i l eged point-of-view in cas t ing a d i r e c t i v e eye over the soc ia l order as a whole (Mi l iband 1977: 49-65; Lowe 1982: 28-29). In shor t , E l i o t ' s work gains in point and force through i t s de ta i l ed work on the a f f e c t i v e l i f e o f the soc i a l c lass that came to occupy the commanding heights of soc ie ty during the nineteenth century. It was conceived and executed as a war on the hearts and minds, as i t were, of th i s c lass dur ing , what seemed to him, to be the moment of i t s deepest c r i s i s , in the f i r s t decades of the present century. A f te r 1930, E l i o t devoted more and more of his i n t e l l e c t u a l energy to the la rger debate on cu l ture and soc ie ty that developed wi th in the bourgeois ie as the c r i s i s i n t e n s i f i e d in the interwar years before the sea-change a f t e r 1945. However, i t was in his ea r l y l i t e r a r y work that those l a t e r concerns found the i r f i r s t express ion. Very ear ly on, E l i o t was appal led by what he saw as the moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l weakening of the d i r e c t i v e e l i t e s into which he himself had been born (cf . Pound 1917: 6-7). He r e c o i l e d , fo r example, from a s i t ua t i on in which Anglo-American l i t e r a t u r e was made i n t e l l e c t u a l l y moribund by the pers is tence of a p a l l i d romanticism, e t i o l a t ed in theme, in technique, in po i se , in s e n s i b i l i t y . He reco i l ed j u s t as v igorous ly from a pa r a l l e l s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l s i t ua t i on in which the ' n a tu r a l ' stewards of s tate power were d r i bb l i ng away t he i r author i ty through the 'softheaded p a l l i a t i v e s ' of l i b e r a l reform, through the surrender to the p o l i t i c a l push from below in the form of a va r i e t y of democratic tendenc ies , through the evasion of the ideo log i ca l r e spons i -b i l i t y of maintaining a symbolic canopy of va lues , b e l i e f s , and customs sacramental ized by a nat ional church (Berger 1969: 134). His ea r l y l i t e r a r y work, then, was aimed at the dest ruct ion of what he saw as the 56 t a i n t e d legacy of the immediate l i t e r a r y past. The c r i t i q u e of t h i s legacy can be seen at work i n one of h i s greatest e a r l y achievements, "The Love Song of J . A l f r e d Prufrock." But before I look at t h i s s i g n a l poem, I want to make a f i r s t approach to the l i t e r a r y romanticism E l i o t helped to rout i n these e a r l y years. W i l l i a m Wordsworth's The Prelude closes i n the f i n a l books by tur n i n g back on the t e r r a i n i t has crossed i n order to s i t u a t e i t s e l f as a whole w i t h i n a greater encompassing t o t a l i t y , a t o t a l i t y t hat v e r i f i e s the ultimate and programmatic connection of consciousness and Nature i n a strenuously won repose (Abrams 1965: 558; Hartman 1966: 148-149; Wasserman 1968: 218). The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c movement which defines The Prelude i s that of d i s t a n c i n g , of gaining perspective (hence the impor-tance of mountains), by s i t u a t i n g i n t e n s e l y experienced p a r t i c u l a r s i n the p h i l o s o p h i c a l t o t a l i t y t h a t a u t h e n t i c a t e s them. This p h i l o s o p h i c a l ' s o l u t i o n ' was, of course, no s o l u t i o n at a l l . By thematizing the framing t o t a l i t y as the connection between consciousness and Nature, Wordsworth helped put i n place the c o n d i t i o n s which brought about what Robert Langbaum has c a l l e d the "poetry of experience" (1963: 35-36). The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c psychic movement of t h i s kind of poetry, as i n The Prelude, i s the f i n a l surmounting of the i n t e n s e l y experienced e x i s t e n -t i a l by access to the metaphysical frame that r a i s e s the 'accidents' of experience to another plane where experience, now recoded to a higher, u n i v e r s a l i z i n g s e m i o t i c , can be a s s i m i l a t e d to an accumulating s t o r e of transcendental wisdom (Abrams 1958: 131-132). What i s ' l e f t behind' i n t h i s ascent i s a world or r e a l i t y t h a t the languages of p h i l o s o p h i c a l i d e a l i s m cannot make sense o f , except through the d o c t r i n e of the real 5Z as i l l u s i o n . In th i s d i s junc t ion between the real and the i d e a l , the notion of the world as an irredeemable chaos, born in P l a to ' s work, re-appears in romanticism (Durrant 1969: 101), but ca r r i e s a contemporary content , shaped by the soc i a l and economic facts of an i ndus t r i a l i sm taking mature form in the late eighteenth and ear l y nineteenth cen tur i es . The soc ia l and p o l i t i c a l thematics which th i s ph i losophica l idea l ism helps i nsc r ibe subsumes the l inked a t t i tudes of contempt and p i t y towards those, the 'masses ' , the 'mob, 'human k i n d ' , ensnared in the heavy chains of the "lower p r i s o n , " to use the neo-platonist terms of Malcolm Lowry's "Strange Comfort Afforded by the Profession."" ' ' The ' s o l u t i o n ' ph i losoph ica l idea l ism o f f e r s in the context of the f i r s t era of mechanical production is i deo log i ca l (Will iams 1961: 48-64; 1975: 155-156, 174; Hobsbawm 1962: 296, 321). It allows the managerial and entrepreneur ia l bourgeois ie to avert i t s gaze from the soc ia l ca tas -trophe that the long adjustment to i ndus t r i a l i sm caused in the ear ly 1800s and, consequently, to widen the soc ia l d istance between themselves and the new wage slaves standing by the machines. . It a lso served to v i t i a t e the bad conscience of those who had helped to set up the cond i -t ions by which ancestra l communities, and the l i v ed densi ty of the soc ia l and cu l tu ra l r e l a t ions that ex is ted in them, were d isrupted and, in some cases , i r r e t r i e v a b l y smashed. The well known e f f e c t of these ' s t ruc tu ra l adjustments' was the displacement of a rura l people to the mob soc i e t i e s of the great mid-Victor ian conurbations (Deane 1967: 260; Hobsbawm 1970: 93). This is what makes the ' l i b e r a l ' a b o l i t i o n of s lavery in the Empire in 1838 un in ten t iona l l y i r o n i c . 58 Of course, in th i s process romantic poetry and i t s underly ing idea l ism played an important ideo log i ca l ro le in the soc ia l and cu l tu ra l spheres. It helped l i nk three skeins of thought that smoothed the way fo r the bourgeois mind to surmount the cont rad ic t ions into which i t s economic prac t i ces during i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n had placed i t s emancipatory and l i b e r t a r i a n rhe to r i c . The high value placed on Nature both as an object of experience and as a metaphysical abs t rac t ion (Wil ley 1940, 1967; Abrams 1958: 105-106; L i t z 1977: 470-488) combined with a second development, namely the socio-economic const ruct ion of the atomic i n d i -v idual in the nineteenth century (Tawney 1922, 1977: 179-196; Lukes 1971: 65), complemented by the notion of the exper iencing subject as the essent ia l un i t of consciousness (Lukacs 1923, 1971: 124-125; Horkheimer and Adorno 1944, 1972: 82-83). However, the l og i c of th i s conjunct ion tends towards an encompassing material ism which bourgeois thought was not e n t i r e l y ready to formulate to i t s e l f , although bourgeois economic practices were i r revocab ly based on ma te r i a l i s t assumptions about the nature of soc i e t y . Why bourgeois thought f e l t compelled to hold on to the notion of the transcendence of the material in the de-sacra l ized form of ph i losoph ica l idea l ism makes fo r an in tense ly i n t e res t i ng episode in the ideo log i ca l demands put on the new governors of the c i v i l world by the o ld (Goldmann 1973: 43). For the bourgeo is ie , i d e a l i s t philosophy was to do the work of l eg i t imat ion that r e l i g i o n had accomplished fo r the ancien regime. This ideo log i ca l episode was t rans la ted into a t h i r d d e f i n i t i v e development in the making of romantic aes the t i c s . The i d e a l i s t d i s tanc ing of experience helped preserve romanticism from the ma t e r i a l i s t abyss towards which i t s p o l i t i c a l and economic prac t i ces seemed to 59; 'condemn' i t . Thus, the movement of the experiencing subject towards Nature was reversed by a r e c i p r o c a l d i s t a n c i n g of the s u b j e c t , accom-p l i s h e d by the a b s t r a c t i o n from the concrete contact of consciousness and Nature of the i d e a l form of th a t contact. This move i n s t a l l s the i d e a l as the greater encompassing t o t a l i t y , the t o t a l i t y t hat a u t h e n t i -cates experience and, u l t i m a t e l y , r e j e c t s i t . In r e a c t i o n to t h i s conjunction of ideas, e a r l y modernist poetry, the poetry of the sc r u p u l o u s l y and c l o s e l y observed p a r t i c u l a r , d e l i b -e r a t e l y refused to so distance i t s e l f by heading f o r the 'higher 1 ground of the kind The Prelude endorses. I t al s o refused to i n f l a t e the value of ' p e r s o n a l i t y ' (the c l i c h e ' i n t o which the metaphysical a b s t r a c t i o n s of the Kantian 'subject' had dwindled at the end of the romantic epoch [Hobsbawm 1962: 296]) and, f i n a l l y , refused to f i n d s a l v a t i o n i n Nature or the natural by s i t i n g i t s e l f i n the urban and man-made. The marks of those r e f u s a l s can be found i n most e a r l y modernist 2 poems. "The Love Song of J . A l f r e d Prufrock," f o r example, i s an i n t e n s e l y r e a l i z e d poem that from i t s f i r s t r e f u s a l to ask the "over-whelming question" to i t s f i n a l p l a c i n g r e f u s a l : "No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be" defers the question of the l a r g e r framework. The poem does not l o c a t e i t s semantic and i t s syntagmatic o r d e r l i n e s s i n the benign closures of some higher realm through the operation of a master code, l i k e a theology, that both s i t u a t e s the matter and manner of the t e x t and encourages a p a r t i c u l a r a t t i t u d e towards i t . Instead, the s p e c i f i c coherences of E l i o t ' s poem are located i n the a c t i o n of a f u l l y r e a l i z e d s o c i a l speech that leads i n t e r p r e t a t i o n to the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l scene.within the wider bourgeois 60 ethos , rather than attenuat ing the poem in terms of aes thet i c essences or other forms of idea l i sm. Fur ther , " P ru f rock ' s " devices are d i rec ted towards unve i l ing the poem's own composit ional procedures, and thus the subvert ing of the Romantic notion of a r t i s t i c c reat ion as an impenetrable mystery. Coler idge in "Frost at Midnight" could only take th i s step symbo l i ca l l y , through the metaphor of the "min is ter ing f r o s t " which both i l luminates the nature of the imaginative process , and, f i n a l l y , v e i l s i t in order to preserve the myth of i t s o r i g i n in some non-soc ia l , non-human essence. "Prufrock" takes th i s step without h e s i t a t i o n . This compositional leve l i s the level where we become aware of the poem's negative s t ruc tu re , as a r e l a t i o n between a s p e c i f i c communal l i f e and the poem's pos i t i v e s t ruc tu re . The r e su l t i ng production of a p lac ing tonal s t ructure allows us to recognize the p a r t i c u l a r sound-shape of the speech of a p a r t i c u l a r soc ia l community. Formal ist c r i t i c i s m of the "Prufrock" sound, however, has tended to pursue i t in those l i t e r a r y places which the poem i t s e l f de l i be r a t e l y d isp laces (Edwards 1976: 44-45). Hugh Kenner hears t h i s speech in almost e n t i r e l y l i t e r a r y terms, as a sort of duet between Tennyson and Edward Lear (1966: 6-8). The "Tennysonian medium" or "norm" (8) , however, i s c l e a r l y the forte voice in the Prufrock speech. "He learned to use i t , " Kenner wryly a s se r t s , "he never made the mistake of t r y ing to think in i t " (9) , thus escaping the espec ia l Tennysonian " f a t u i t y " (8). The poem, according to Kenner, presses out a "monotonous emotional pedal-point" (10). The famous long sect ion on Time (CP 14) simply "reverberates . . . while . . . porten-tousness overlays mere sonor i t y " (10). 6(1) What "murder and c rea te " may mean we cannot t e l l , though i t i s p l a i n what the phrase can do; the words have l o s t t he i r connexion with the ac t i ve wor ld , l os t in fac t everything but t he i r potent ia l fo r neurasthenic shock. "Time fo r you and time for me" i s as hypnotic and as meaningless as a phrase on the ' c e l l o s . (10) In many ways th i s account of the Prufrock sound remains unsurpassed in the c r i t i c i s m and i s s t i l l extremely persuasive in i t s phonic "embryology" (7). Yet , though persuas ive , t h i s account cannot say why E l i o t bothered in the f i r s t p lace . When Kenner suggests we know what a phrase l i k e "murder and create" can do, even though we may not know what i t means, we can hardly agree that what we take away from th i s state of a f f a i r s i s the sense that "the words have l o s t t he i r connexion with the ac t i ve wor ld . " If by knowing what a phrase 'can do' within a pa r t i cu l a r t ex t , that i s , do something in the const ruct ion of the t e x t ' s sense, then i t i s rather d i f f i c u l t to understand how this sor t of ' do ing ' can be d is t ingu ished from a t e x t ' s i n t r i n s i c meaning, unless we want to separate "meaning" from "meaning f u n c t i o n . " But i f a phrase or utterance can be said to 'do ' something distinct from a l l those 'meaning func t ions ' which words, phrases, c l auses , syntax, pauses, e t c . 'do ' in const ruct ing something that might be construed as i n t r i n s i c meaning, and thus making a phrase l i k e "murder and create" meaningful , then such a phrase must 'do ' some-thing beyond the t e x t ' s margins, in the "ac t ive wor ld , " not as a turning away from i t . Indeed, i f we be l ieve i t i s leg i t imate to ask why E l i o t bothered in the f i r s t p lace , l eg i t imate to ask what sort of p r i v i l ege Tennyson or Lear or Coler idge or Swinburne had in the l a te nineteenth century that suggested to E l i o t that "Prufrock" was fo r some reason worth 62 do ing , we might have the beginnings of an answer to how the text connects with the act ive world. Indeed jus t such a c r i t i c a l project i s i m p l i c i t in Kenner's de s c r i p -t ion of " P ru f rock . " While speaking of the world of words that Tennyson and Swinburne bequeathed to the younger generation of poets , he makes th i s general ' s t r u c t u r a l i s t ' po in t : Coherence was obtained by exp lo i t i ng the sounds of the words and the impl i ca t ions concealed in t he i r sounds; "A cry that shivered to the t i n g l i n g s t a r s " would be a s t r i k i n g l y impoverished l i ne i f the Engl ish language could be suddenly purged of the words " tw ink l ing " and " t i n k l i n g . " (7) No doubt i t would. But is the s t r ik ingness of the l i ne simply based on the sound equivalences or " imp l i c a t i ons " that ex i s t in the sound-image paradigm which Kenner a l e r t l y constructs? Doesn't th i s g i ve , however, too narrow a sense to his word " imp l i ca t i ons " ? Subst i tu t ing " tw ink l ing " or " t i n k l i n g " in the place of " t i n g l i n g " makes suddenly a l i ne by Rupert Brooke. Doesn't " t i n g l i n g " carry i t s major semantic charge, not from the p l a s t i c i t y of common phoneme paradigms, but against " tw ink l i ng " and " t i n k l i n g " and the way they are used in t ex t s , l i k e the Georg ians ' , that were perce ived , before modernism's attack on Georgian poe t i c s , as having a ce r ta in social p r i v i l ege and p r e s t i ge , perhaps even a prest ige c l i ng ing to them as a consequence of t he i r users ' and consumers' proximity to power in Edwardian England; a f t e r a l l , who did make Rupert Brooke the da r l i ng of the Edwardian middle c l ass ? " T i n g l i n g " is more than a re f ined musical e f f e c t ; i t c a r r i e s , negat ive ly in the re jec t ions and re fusa l s i t makes, from outs ide the Edwardian poet ic and verbal norms, a statement about 6 3 those norms and the "ac t i ve world" fo r which these words act as metonyms. In other words, to use a word l i ke " t i n g l i n g " ca r r i e s out beyond the margins of the l i ne an a t t i tude towards not only the aptness of words l i ke " tw ink l ing " in the same l i n g u i s t i c contexts , but a lso an a t t i tude towards those texts and the regions that va lo r i ze them, where words l i k e " tw ink l ing " s e t t l e comfortably in the co l l o ca t i ona l norms ( F i r th 1957: 194-196) that charac ter ize the verbal cu l ture of those reg ions . Kenner's l i n g u i s t i c a l l y subt le desc r ip t i on i s s t i l l the best by a major c r i t i c . At l eas t Kenner does not waste his time t r y ing to ac tua l i ze an i den t i t y fo r a character named Prufrock; at best ' P ruf rock ' i s a "poss ib le zone of consciousness" (35). Gertrude Pat terson, who quotes th i s passage in Kenner approv ingly , spends several pages of her TSE: the making of the poems t r y ing to show where in the text some stable i den t i t y she c a l l s ' P ru f rock ' is to be loca ted . What she adopts as a persona fo r Prufrock, persona in th i s context def ined as a set of " c o n f l i c t i n g emotions" which are given ' " a name plus a v o i c e , ' " to quote Kenner aga in , i s a formulat ion which she borrows from Yvor Winters, a term Winters uses in m Defense of Reason to attack E l i o t ' s modernism. ' " P r u f r o c k , " ' Patterson wr i t e s , " i s more s p e c i f i c a l l y an assembled Qua l i t a t i ve P rogress ion , heightened by i rony" (1971: 116). For Winters, "Qua l i t a t i ve Progress ion" means a para tac t i c sequencing almost lower on the sca le of syntagmatic soph i s t i c a t i on than l i s t i n g (Winters 1947: 3 1 f f . ) . What Patterson means by i t i s the a r t i c u l a t i o n s of the poem i t s e l f in a l l i t s gaps and d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s that cons t i tu te P ru f rock ' s e lus i ve i d e n t i t y ; in shor t , ' P ru f rock ' is the poem, the poem's form being com-pared to a Cubist pa int ing (117). Pat terson 's labor ious formalism 64 obscures fo r her the more productive way of asking the question about the ' P ruf rock ' persona. What did i t mean in 1911 and 1917, when the poem was wri t ten and published respec t i ve l y (Gordon 1977: 45), to do the persona of a speaker in a poem in th i s way? What r e l a t i onsh ip can be spec i f i ed between the e l u s i v e l y const i tu ted 'P ruf rock ' and the strenuous, male speakers of Henry Newbolt's imperial trumpet b las ts ? From where does such a ' p e r s o n a l i t y ' der ive? And what kind of soc ia l p r i v i l ege does i t carry in the environment where i t could not help but be compared to the norms of poet ic vo i ce , i den t i t y condensat ion, and 3 even gender spec i f i c a t i on ? With the p r i v i l e g i n g of the exper iencing subject in the thematics of romanticism and with the fu r ther v a l o r i z a t i o n of the ' vo i ce ' as access to the substance of personal i d e n t i t y , what does i t mean, in the period of the appropr ia t ion and thus the i n s t i t u t i o n a l -i z a t i on of romanticism, that E l i o t should present—of a l l things-- a 'Cub i s t ' persona? The quest ion has been well asked of the persona in Pound's Homage to sextus Propertius, where the h i s t o r i c a l Propert ius i s 'done' in de l ibe ra te contrast to the 'honking' of Imperial apo log i s t s , l i k e Verg i l (Pound 1926, n . d . : 228, 230). The relevance of the Propert ius persona, as done by Pound, would not have been l o s t on the apolog is ts of the B r i t i s h imperium, which helps expla in the harsh contemporary react ion to the ' t r a n s l a t i o n ' . It would have been more product i ve , perhaps, to approach the issue of the i den t i t y const i tu ted by a t e x t , i f not in terms of a soc iosemiot ic approach, at l eas t psycho log i ca l l y by some such schema as Anton Ehrenzweig's "ego rhythm" that he be l ieves under l ies and i n d i v i d -uates a l l c rea t i ve work (Ehrenzweig 1976: 120-121). But even Gertrude Pat terson 's ponderous formalism is more i n te res t ing than Ann Brady's c laustrophobic generic schemata. Where Kenner hears Tennyson and Lear in the Prufrock sound, Brady not ices a blending of s a t i r e and l y r i c . For her, the s a t i r e i s almost e n t i r e l y substant iated by the "use of rime" and the l y r i c by the use of "rime and r e f r a i n " (1978: 13). These terms are so general in reference that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to d isc r iminate exact ly what sounds they are supposed to convey. Even when Brady i d e n t i f i e s the " s a t i r i c use of rime" (13) by po int ing to the music ha l l phonics of "p l a t te r-mat te r , " " f l i c k e r - s n i c k e r , " and " i ces-c r i s i s , " one can hardly expect to make much sense of them in this poem by simply c a l l i n g them " s a t i r i c " in one breath and " l y r i c a l " in another. As v a r i e d , in a ler tness and s e n s i t i v i t y of response, as these c r i t i ques a re , they do a l l share one th ing in common. They conceive the text as a d i s c r e t e , autonomous, and s t a t i c object into which ce r ta in inf luences cataract from the appropr ia te , l i t e r a r y contexts . Whether the inf luence i s of a p a r t i c u l a r wr i te r or style--Tennyson say--or a p a r t i c -u lar textual p r e c i p i t a t i o n of h i s t o r i c a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y s p e c i f i c notions of personal i d e n t i t y , or of a p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c a l genre, mode, or rhe to r i ca l rou t ine , the external in f luenc ing process i s seen p r i n c i -pa l l y as a system of in terna l pro jec t ions on the formal orders of the work. These orders (character ized by Jakobson as orders of formal and l i n g u i s t i c equivalences [1964: 358-359]) funct ion as a kind of cinema screen where the pro ject ions are resolved in some more or less mimetic form. The v a r i a b i l i t y of the mimesis e f f e c t i s con t ro l l ed by the con-ventional standards of i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y in a given soc ie ty . This t a c i t conception of the work of art under l ies a lso the most important, recent c r i t i q u e of " P ru f rock , " in which a fo rma l i s t account of the Prufrock 66 sound as soc ia l speech is attempted. A. D. Moody's account of the sound-shape of some l ines from the poem are a convenient place to begin. He d i s ce rns , as others have before him, that "a metr ica l substructure [mainly iambic in pulse] . . . . i s over -l a i d by natural speech rhythms, which fo l low the phras ing , and in which the phrase i s shaped by i t s pattern of s t r esses " (1979:. 31). Then he se t t l e s in on the famous r e f r a i n : In the room the women come and go Ta lk ing of Michelangelo. (CP 14) For Ann Brady the r e f r a i n p r imar i l y o f f e r s evidence of the "touches of l y r i c a l grace" in the poem (13). Moody's ana lys is of the two l i nes i s considerably more soph i s t i c a t ed . In the f i r s t l i n e , the f i r s t and l as t phrases match, and the middle one is a v a r i a t i o n . The second l i n e , though apparently l i g h t e r in weight, i s in fac t pre -c i s e l y equ iva lent . The long phrase 'o f Michelangelo 1 has the same durat ion and s t ress-pat tern as the l a t t e r two phrases of the same l i n e , which i t accurate ly echoes. Thus we have a pe r f e c t l y co r rec t coup le t , e legant , languid ly drawled, and with the form in miniature of i t s soc ia l scene and ethos. One hardly not ices the presumption of i t s being so much at ease with Michelangelo: rhy thmica l l y , in s e n s i b i l i t y , he seems pe r f ec t l y subdued to the drawing-room. (31, my emphasis) No one can se r ious l y dispute Moody's conc lus ion , but what that conclusion has to do with the preceding prosodic ana lys is is d i f f i c u l t to see. His point about the in te rp lay of metr ica l pattern and the language's ' na tu ra l ' phrase and clause s t ructure can be made about any piece of poetry , even of the most ' r egu l a r ' couplets turned by the poets of Queen Anne's r e ign . 67, Why the l ines may be "e legant" or " l angu id ly drawn" has nothing s p e c i f -i c a l l y to do with whether "the long phrase ' o f Michelangelo ' has the same durat ion and s t ress-pat tern as the l a t t e r two phrases of the f i r s t l i n e , wh ich . i t accurate ly echoes. " There i s no reason to be l ieve that echoing i s a d i s t i n c t i v e feature of "elegance" or the unmistakeable sign of the languid . What has happened here i s that an accurate judgement, or at least an arguable one (the l i nes do fee l as i f they ought to be languid ly drawled), suddenly pops out and i s presented as the conc lus ion [Thus we have . . .) fo r an empir ical ana lys is that on c lose r inspect ion does not r e a l l y support i t . Moody's conc lus ion here is the actual conclus ion to a s i l e n t reading not of the poem's p o s i t i v e , but of i t s negat ive , s t r u c -tu re , that s t ructure of external reference which the poem's tone s i gna l s . Moody is so f a m i l i a r with the sociosemantic environment of the fragment of Anglo-American soc ie ty "Prufrock" maps, hearing s i l e n t l y in his head, as we a l l do i f we share, or learn about, th i s soc ia l context , the pre -c i se accenting of the vowels, the sardonic weariness of the drawl and what i t s i g n i f i e s in the represented context of s i t u a t i o n , the choice of Michelangelo himself and of the syntax in which his name is embedded with in the acknowledged emptiness of salon chat ter--a l l t h i s , and more, const i tu tes Moody's competence to make any sense of these l ines at a l l . Yet at the same t ime, he i s committed e x p l i c i t l y to the autonomy of the poet ic t ex t , an i so l a ted order of words that generates and contains i t s own meaning (Moody: 79). Thus, he imagines an i r r e l evan t empir ica l ana lys is to cover saying something he knows t a c i t l y from his own i n t e r -act ions in the world and his acquired knowledge of the Edwardian soc ia l mi l i eu that "Prufrock" enacts . 68 His intimate knowledge of the Prufrock wor ld, however i t may have ac tua l l y been won, is an undeclared given of his reading. He may be going through the gestures of ' d e r i v i n g ' the knowledge, in the proper p o s i t i v i s t mode, but that i s an empty exerc ise with l i t t l e real meaning beyond the funct ion i t plays in the i n t e rp re ta t i ve community (F ish 1980: 171) that va lo r i zes i t . In essence, Moody's reading of E l i o t seems to s p l i t into two p a r a l l e l c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s . The c r i t i q u e s l i p s from one to the other as need r equ i r e s , at one moment doing various feats of induct ion as a necessary (because va lo r ized ) prelude and context fo r judgements der ived s i l e n t l y from elsewhere. His concentrat ion on prosody underl ines the t e x t ' s l i t e r a r i n e s s , emphasizing the poem's difference from ordinary d i s course , i t s disengagement from the verbal cu l tu re of the soc ia l r e l a t i ons the poem mimes. This c r i t i c a l operat ion widens the distance between text and soc ia l context by emphasizing the ve r se-spec i f i c d i s t i n c t i v e features of the text and provides him with a u n i v e r s a l i s t c r i t i c a l r eg i s t e r or idiom that i s n ' t , embarrassingly, contingent on t a c i t knowledge of th i s loca l soc i a l context a r t i cu l a t ed by s p e c i f i c soc i a l i n t e r a c t i ons . But i t i s a ' r ead ing ' of those in te rac t ions enacted as s p e c i f i c soc i a l r e l a t i ons in the poem, now set back, s i l e n t l y , in the h i s to ry where they make sense, that provokes his conc lus ion . It i s a pa r t i cu l a r s e l f - i n f l i c t e d bl indness that has prevented fo rma l i s t s them-selves from seeing the i l l e g i t i m a c y o f a somnabulist c r i t i c i s m that walks a l l around the neighbourhood while i n s i s t i n g i t has never l e f t i t s own chaste bed. At bottom, th i s pecu l i a r cont rad ic t ion r e s u l t s , I th ink , p r imar i l y from a l i t e r a r y t r a i n i ng in recent pedagogical t r ad i t i ons that refuses to pursue language beyond the no-man's-land of the l i t e r a r y and 68 to invest igate i t in the places where i t s magic powers run up hard against the wor ld. In th i s r espec t , the methods of the Greek rhe to r i c i ans are in advance of the re ign ing formalism. They, at l e a s t , had found a way of l i s t e n i n g to men talk while walking from the Academy to the agora and back again. And the actual t a l k they heard, they soon r e a l i z e d , was not a se l f-conta ined oral t e x t , a simply or e labora te ly ornamented con-ta ine r of information plus e f f e c t s , but "a strategy fo r encompassing a s i t u a t i o n " (Burke 1941, 1961: 97). In other words, when speaking about a poem (or any text fo r that matter) we are not r e f e r r i ng p r imar i l y to an ob jec t , but to an a c t i v i t y in the world. This a c t i v i t y is semantic and in te rac ts with the world as soc iosemiot ic r e a l i t y , a r e a l i t y main-tained by ' t e x t s ' , which insc r ibe common i n t u i t i v e l i f e (Ha l l iday 1978: 125; Berger and Luckmann 1979: 172-173; Jameson 1982: 74). Nor i s th i s verbal ac t ion a l l there i s to i t . For a l l these words are grounded in what Malinowski would c a l l 'contexts of s i t u a t i o n ' . And very im-portant among these 'contexts of s i t u a t i o n ' are the kind o f fac tors considered by Bentham, Marx, and Veblen, the material in te res ts (of pr iva te or c lass s t ruc ture ) that you symbol i ca l l y defend or symbol i ca l l y appropriate or symbol i ca l l y a l i gn yourse l f with in the course of making your own asse r t i ons . These in te res t s do not 'cause ' your d i s c u s s i o n ; . . . . But they great l y a f f e c t the Idiom in which you speak, and so the idiom by which you th ink . (Burke 1941, 1961: 96) The words of "Prufrock" are grounded in a p a r t i c u l a r context of s i t u a t i o n , a soc ia l context that i s h i s t o r i c a l l y recuperable and to which the poem re fe rs in i t s content , in i t s formal procedures, and in i t s assumptions. The c r i t i c a l task , then, is to conjoin several l i nes of thought: 1) the kind of a t t i tude the text in i t s compositional 70 procedures d i r ec t s us to have towards the l i t e r a r y conventions and norms of i t s day; 2) the use the text makes of the idioms in which i d e n t i t y , s u b j e c t i v i t y , and experience are d i scussed , that i s , assigned a place and a value in a soc io-eth ica l o rder ; 3) the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of soc ia l groups in which these s p e c i f i c idioms o r i g i n a t e ; and 4) the range of forms oppos i t ion to the system of soc ia l norms takes at d i f f e r e n t l eve l s of soc ie ty . For example, in a soc ie ty powerful ly dominated by a landed ' a r i s toc racy of the sword ' , what form does oppos i t ion take to i t s socio-e th i ca l idioms and norms from with in i t s own prec inc ts? Or what d i f f e r e n t forms would oppos i t ion take in that s i t ua t i on from a p a r a l l e l , adminis-t r a t i v e l y ab l e , but s o c i a l l y s l i gh ted ' a r i s toc racy of the r o b e ' , or oppos i t ion from a mate r i a l l y prosperous, c lass consc ious , but s o c i a l l y pe r i phe r a l , urban merchant e l i t e ? What I am say ing , of course , i s that a t tent ion to " P ru f ro ck ' s " l i t e r a r i n e s s is only one part of an adequate reading of the poem and that a c r i t i q u e which programmatically l im i t s i t s e l f to the l i t e r a r y d i s t o r t s the nature, range, and importance of E l i o t ' s achievement. As I've t r i e d to show with Moody's recent ana lys is of the poem, th i s sor t of l i m i t i n g act ion in c r i t i c i s m is a c tua l l y impossib le . In terpretat ion cannot avoid drawing heav i ly on context , and th i s is no more true than in the case of the i n te rp re ta t i on of concepts, ideas , or poems that are e s s e n t i a l l y contestable (See G a l l i e 1955: 167-198 and Tay lor 1971: 3-51). These cons iderat ions have grown in importance ever s ince the dec l ine of a poet ics and a c r i t i c i s m based on c l a s s i c a l rhe to r i c in the l a t t e r part of the eighteenth century. C l a s s i c a l r h e t o r i c , i t s author i ty p r i v i l eged by a communally sanct ioned, transcendental s i g n i f i e d , schematized only the r e l a t i on of 71 speaker to hearer, wr i te r to reader , in terms of a ca lcu lus of suasive e f f e c t s . However, these e f f e c t s d id not have to exert t he i r force in a soc ia l context of p lu ra l s i g n i f i e d s , s i g n i f i e d s a r t i cu l a t ed from often cont rad ic tory points-of-view wi th in the larger notion of soc ie ty as a product of human agency rather than as a non-human given (Eagleton 1981: 101-106). Instead, the o lder rhe to r i ca l t r a d i t i o n operated in a soc ia l context character ized by r i g i d i t y in the soc ia l pos i t i on ing of i n d i v i d u a l s , by the cosmological l eg i t imat ion of the p o l i t i c a l l y important soc ia l codes, and by the monopoly concentrat ion of l i t e r a c y in the hands of a s o c i a l l y cohesive few (Douglas 1978: 45-54). With the development over time in Western European cu l tures of a p lura l i sm of the abso lute , there resu l ted the progressive d e - r e i f i c a t i o n of the ' n a t u r a l ' p r i v i l ege which pre-Enlightenment soc ia l systems c a r r i e d , a process often ca l l ed s e cu l a r i z a t i on (Wilson 1966: 221-223; Berger 1969: 105-125; Glasner 1977; Douglas 1978). The actual forms of human r e l a t i o n -sh ips , ma te r i a l , s o c i a l , and mora l , were seen no longer as ' n a t u r a l ' or 4 d i v i ne l y const i tu ted and mainta ined, but as man-made; thus, the wri ter-reader model of rhe to r i c no longer had a secure base in a communal cos -mology. In f a c t , what i s being c a l l ed for in th i s study i s a new kind of ' r h e t o r i c a l ' theory as the basis of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m , a p r a c t i c e , in shor t , that in i t s analyses of author, t ex t , and h i s to ry provides a more d e l i c a t e l y d iscr iminated and au thor i t a t i ve ana l y t i ca l model fo r Moody's defens ib le judgements about "Prufrock" than the th in and i r r e l e van t 'ev idence ' his c r i t i c a l perspec t i ve , choked by a naive empir ic ism, makes poss ib le (Cf. Eagleton 1983: 205-206). In the rest of t h i s chapter I am going to sketch b r i e f l y several 72 concepts tha t , although formulated o r i g i n a l l y in the ana lys is and i n t e r -pre ta t ion of soc ia l t e x t s , can serve as useful c r i t i c a l ideas to help in the development of a c r i t i c a l p rac t i ce that i s s i tuated in the conjunct ion of i n d i v i d u a l , language, and soc ia l s t ruc tu re . E a r l i e r I suggested that Moody's reading of "Prufrock" involves two p a r a l l e l c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s . One i s an enumeration of a number of ' l i t e r a r y ' surface features of the t ex t ; the other , more benign, i s s ighted in his c r i t i q u e only in his p lac ing judgements, but i t goes on underneath the surface manoeuvres and stems from Moody's c lose and int imate knowledge of the " soc i a l scene and ethos" (Moody: 31) of the Prufrock world. This second, s u b c r i t i c a l , a c t i v i t y i s an unannounced given of the pro jec t . How he's come to acquire th i s knowledge and intimacy would require a very c lose examination of Moody's own i n t e r -act ions with the r e a l i t i e s of everyday l i f e , inc lud ing such things as his own c lass p o s i t i o n , his sense of his own c lass p o s i t i o n , his educa-t ion and his own va luat ion of i t , the values he assigns to ce r ta in sorts of 'knowledge' , his knowledge of the status of those values in everyday l i f e and in the subuniverses or f i n i t e provinces of meaning he occupies , the value he places on these occupat ions , his knowledge of the values the o thers , the non-spec i a l i s t s , place on them, and so on. As i n t e res t i ng as i t would be to pursue these ques t ions , of one thing we may be sure , Moody does share to a considerable degree a c lose knowledge of the very loca l and l im i ted soc io-cu l tu ra l mi l ieux which E l i o t enacts in " P ru f rock . " B a s i c a l l y , he seems to share the same fundamental assumptions about the Prufrock world as E l i o t , fo r nowhere does he ra i se the questions of who exact ly i t i s E l i o t i s wr i t ing about, what kind of soc ia l r e l a t i ons these 73 are , why they are worth doing th i s way, and where they occur in the soc ia l system to which they are na t i ve , and, the re fo re , recogn izab le , e i the r as soc i a l rout ines or b i t s of spontaneous p lay . Furthermore, he doesn ' t pursue why E l i o t took the a t t i tude he did towards them and doesn' t ask whether th i s was a normal a t t i tude at that time or deviant in some way. The fac t that he suggests the voices of the poem incorpo-rate ' n a t u r a l ' speech rhythms (31) i s fu r ther evidence that he recognizes and accepts u n c r i t i c a l l y the Prufrock world as E l i o t enacts i t . A f te r a l l , from some perspect ives the speech rhythms of "Prufrock" are f a r from ' n a t u r a l 1 . One, in f a c t , would be hard pressed to f i nd any speech rhythm that was ' n a t u r a l 1 , in the sense of i t being pre- or subsoc i a l . And i f we take i t as axiomatic that a l l speech rhythms are soc ia l and vary from place to p lace , geographica l ly and s o c i a l l y , then i t is impor-tant fo r c r i t i c i s m to inves t igate the voice speaking fo r the signs of what r eg ion , geographical or s o c i a l , i t must be placed in order fo r i t to be f u l l y understood. Moody hears the voices of "Prufrock" qu i te c l e a r l y , but the level of ana lys is I am suggesting here i s almost e n t i r e l y bypassed. To repeat , then, in Moody's c r i t i c i s m we can d iscern the i n t e r -play of two kinds of c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t y , but coded, in the words of the B r i t i s h s o c i o l o g i s t of language Bas i l Bernste in , as two orders of meaning. Bernstein along with his col leagues at the Un ivers i t y of London began working with the idea that ind iv idua l exper ience, language, and soc ia l s t ructure (our conjuncture) are a l l fundamentally l i nked . He came to recognize that the organ izat ion of p a r t i c u l a r soc ia l groups i s asso-c ia ted with d i s t i n c t forms of speech. L i n g u i s t i c d i f f e r e n c e s , other than d i a l e c t ones, were seen to occur in the normal soc ia l environment and 74 these d i f f e rences were systemat ic , so that status groups, socio-economic l e v e l s , could be c l e a r l y d i s t ingu ished by the i r forms of speech. Study of these forms resu l ted in the e labora t ion of the idea that the d i f f e r en t types of language-use o r i en t the speakers of each type to d i s t i n c t and d i f f e r e n t kinds of r e l a t i onsh ip to objects and persons, i r r e spec t i ve of the leve l of measured i n t e l l i g e n c e . He found, fo r example, that the t y p i c a l , dominant speech mode of the well-educated middle c lass in B r i t a i n i s one in which speech becomes an object of spec ia l perceptual a c t i v i t y and a ' t heo re t i c a l a t t i t u d e ' is developed towards the s t ruc tura l p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f sentence organ izat ion (Bernstein 1974: 133). He was gradual ly able to d i s t i ngu i sh in : the va r i a t ions of l i n g u i s t i c behaviour in soc i e t y , va r i a t ions mapped p r i n c i p a l l y along c lass l i n e s , two funda-mental o r i en ta t ions to meaning by which ind i v idua l s are able to make meaningful t he i r in te rac t ions in the soc ia l contexts they inhab i t . He ca l l ed one order of meaning " u n i v e r s a l i s t i c " and the other " p a r t i c u l a r -i s t i c . " The f i r s t provides access to transcontextual soc ia l r e a l i t y , the r e a l i t y , fo r example, that susta ins and i s sustained by the discourses of an i nduc t i ve , empirical-, and formal t r a d i t i o n , such as the discourses of the academy. The other o r i en ta t i on to meaning, Bernstein found, i s context-dependent, organized around t a c i t conventions and with l i t t l e in te res t in symbolizing intent e x p l i c i t l y or of making v i s i b l e the d i s -play of i t s own convent ions, resources , processes, such as , f o r example, the orders of p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c meaning that charac ter ize the idioms of int imacy, or the f u l l y express ive , but s y n t a c t i c a l l y and l e x i c a l l y r e s t r i c t e d , language c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of working c lass semiot ic behaviour. From th i s evidence Bernstein theor ized that the two or i en ta t ions to 75 meaning are organized according to different speech 'codes', which he called 'elaborated' and 'restricted' respectively. The codes are so called because in the elaborated version the speaker selects from a relatively extensive range of alternatives, and in the restricted version such alternatives are, according to Bernstein, severely limited. A pure form of the restricted code includes most r i t u a l i s t i c or routinized modes of communication; hence, "individual intent can be signalled only through the non-verbal components of the situation, i.e. intonation, stress, expressive features, etc. Specific verbal planning will be minimal" (77). The social forms which produce the restricted code are of the kind where there is "some common set of closely shared identifications self-consciously held by the members, where immediacy of relationship is stressed." Its background is therefore communal. How things are said is more important than what is said, and the content of this speech is likely to be "concrete, descriptive, and narrative rather than analytical or abstract" (77). The major function of the restricted code is to re-inforce the form of the social relationship by restricting the verbal marking of individuated responses. Where there are opportunities for an individuated response, as in humour, the display of wit, or a joking relationship, the effect of the individuated response is to reinforce the solidarity of the social relationship. The elaborated code, on the other hand, "becomes the vehicle for individual responses." A major purpose of this code is the preparation and delivery of "relatively explicit meaning." It promotes a high level of structural organization, word selection, and verbal self-monitoring. The code promotes a tendency towards abstraction (93-95). 76 The problem with th i s d i s t i n c t i o n l i e s in the f ac t that Bernstein seems to be suggesting that the two codes neat ly d iv ide along c lass l i n e s , that the middle-class speaker 's whole verbal performance i s e labora ted , whereas the working-class speaker 's language i s e n t i r e l y r e s t r i c t e d . This is not t rue , of course, as Berns te in ' s more recent papers make c l ea r (See Bernstein 1981). Indeed, the two codes do not c lean ly mark the l i n g u i s t i c habits of d i f f e r e n t c l a s ses . Res t r i c ted forms of expression are fundamental to a l l c l a s se s , at a l l l eve l s of soc i e t y ; the c h i l d of a nobleman is born into a group whose primary o r i en ta t i on to meaning takes the form of a r e s t r i c t e d code in exact ly the same form and degree as a c h i l d born to a fac tory worker. But, depending on c l ass p o s i t i o n , or the operat ion of a mer i tocracy , or the r e l a t i v e openness of a market economy, i nd i v idua l s can gain access to the e laborated codes of a soc i e t y , codes which const i tu te the meta-languages of c o n t r o l , power, and author i t y . Indiv iduals are educated to the use of the elaborated codes of a soc ie ty the c l ose r they come to the centres of economic, p o l i t i c a l , c u l t u r a l , and soc ia l power. Whatever p a r t i c u l a r c lass or soc ia l group dominates those cent res , i t w i l l seem to 'possess ' the e laborated codes of control and knowledge, as i f they const i tu te the ' n a t u r a l ' speech of that group, and w i l l educate others to t he i r use. However, the ' n a t u r a l ' speech of a l l soc ia l groups takes r e s t r i c t e d form and thus r e s t r i c t e d codes p r imar i l y cons t i tu te the s p e c i f i c languages and idioms of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of p a r t i c u l a r groups of soc i e t y . Elaborated codes, on the other hand, are the p r i n c i -pal means by which those who govern at a l l l eve l s of soc ie ty manage, a r t i c u l a t e , and r e f l e c t upon paramount r e a l i t y . 77 From th i s perspec t i ve , then, we can make some sense of Moody's dilemma. "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" is wr i t ten in a r e l a t i v e l y r e s t r i c t e d code ( ' r e l a t i v e l y 1 because there are references--e . g . , the l i t e r a r y ones--in i t of a u n i v e r s a l i s t i c nature and f unc t i on ) , but Moody, because of the p r i v i l eges of the e laborated c r i t i c a l code he wishes to speak, must t a l k of the poem as if the poem, as well as his own d i scourse , i s e laborated f u l l y . His access to the Prufrock world occurs at the level of the r e s t r i c t e d code, at the level of the p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c order of meaning, an i n te rac t i on without much p r i v i l e g e in the scho la r l y wor ld , but , never the less , the leve l from which his real conclusions about the poem come. The i r r e l evan t induct ions s a t i s f y the c r i t e r i a that control the elaborated code, which code he knows the probable reader (other scholars ) of his performance expects and demands. His actual judgements or conclus ions have to be ra ised to a higher order semiot ic or e l s e , lodged in the r e s t r i c t e d code of the f r a c t i on of the c lass system that E l i o t enacts , they court d ismissa l as being merely sub jec t i ve . Thus, in order not to have to br ing to l i g h t th i s i n t e r a c t i o n , and, in a d d i t i o n , not to have to deal s e r i ous l y and concrete ly with the s t ructure of the very " soc i a l scene and ethos" he invokes, he reverts to m y s t i f i -c a t i on : ' "The sequence of the musical phrase 1 i s everywhere the best guide to the sense" (31). His ' conc lus ions ' a r r i ve from his ' s i l e n t ' and ' b l i n d ' reading of the poem's negative s t ruc tu re , but his ' a n a l y s i s ' i s e n t i r e l y of the poem's pos i t i ve presences. Cur ious l y , however, "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" addresses the very issues and questions ra ised by Moody's conc lus ion . The text of the poem, and th i s i s i t s p lac ing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , r e g i s t e r s , p o s i t i v e l y , 78 the f a i l u r e of i t s language to re-write knowledge derived from a c lose and intimate ' r ead ing ' of a p a r t i c u l a r soc ia l context in the idiom of some p r i v i l e g e d , elaborated code. The voice in the poem asks: "And how should I begin?" (CP 15). Begin what? What e lse than the burden of making subject ive intent e x p l i c i t , of e laborat ing his experience in a bounded, even c l o sed , soc ia l world densely a r t i cu l a t ed with meanings which the exper iencing subject of the poem takes as potent ia l judgements. That the poem records th i s ' f a i l u r e ' i s , of course, an arguable judge-ment; some might hear in the h e s i t a t i o n s , r e v i s i o n s , and withdrawals an essent ia l ' r e luc tance ' or 'embarrassment'. It is i n t e r e s t i n g , nonetheless, that the various attempts, sys temat i ca l l y vanquished, to e laborate knowledge derived from experience to a higher order semiot ic take the form of searching the pas t , of h i s t o r y , in order not only to f i nd an e f f i c a c i ous context-independent idiom but a lso some p r i v i l eged substant ia l s e l f that corresponds to i t : the choices of poss ib le i den t i t y the poem enacts are a f a m i l i a r set--Jules Laforgue, Guido de Monte fe l t ro , Hes iod, Michelangelo, Lazarus, Marvel 1, Hamlet, Polonius (Cf. Schuchard 1976: 208-223). This f a i l u r e or re luctance extends to the labor ious e f f o r t of the poem to put in place an overarching ana logica l s t ructure as an h i s t o r i -c a l l y e f f i c a c i o u s e laborated code, p r i v i l eged by the l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n ; that ambition i s shipwrecked in the second and t h i r d l i nes of the poem. These promise a s p e c i f i c re fe rence , independent of the context of the poem, fo r "even ing , " but de l i v e r only a p r i v a t e , p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c f igure--"Like a pat ient . . . "--that acts to d isp lace the process of f i gu r a t i on i t s e l f and to d i s rupt the conventional mimesis of the t rop i c a c t i v i t y . 79 This ' f i g u r e ' has the proper l i n g u i s t i c form but instead of t rack ing a systemat ic , h i s t o r i c a l l y p r i v i l eged s i m i l i t u d e , access ib le at the level of an e labora ted , l i t e r a r y code, o r , even beyond tha t , access ib le as the s i g n i f i e r of a coherent sup rah i s to r i ca l cosmology, E l i o t s e l e c t s , in completing the s im i l i t ude as he does, a f i gu ra t i on which re fers not to a universal order of meaning, but to a h ighly personal f ee l ing-s ta te of the speaker h imsel f . This f igure f unc t i ons , at the leve l of semantics, l i k e what Bernstein c a l l s a "condensed symbol" rather than the f u l l y elaborated f i gu ra t i on the form of the sentence promises. What comes into view is a d isp laced paradigm, the paradigm which the syntagmatic sequence—the chain appropriate to a simile—seems to be assembling: what are the usual or normal sets of resemblance suggested by " . . . evening is spread out against the sky / Like . . ."? (Cf. Edwards 1976: 8-10). Whatever they a re , the actual ' s i m i l e ' E l i o t chose--". . . pat ient e ther ised upon a t ab l e "—es t ab l i shes an eccent r i c set whose terms cannot e a s i l y be adduced, a set that is d e c i s i v e l y p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c and context-bound (Will iamson 1953, 1965: 59; Unger 1966: 20; Hargrove 1978: 49). Moody suggests a paradigm in which " i n th i s context aethereal may l i e j us t beyond ' e t h e r i s e d ' " (32; c f . Kenner 1974: 131-132). True enough. But Moody introduces th i s oppos i t ion as a way of having the poem do what the poem patent ly refuses to do, that i s , ascend to "a higher r e a l i t y corresponding to his state as does aethereal to ether" (32). Unfortunate ly , th i s runs dead against the actual choice E l i o t makes. If aethereal i s part of the paradigm which the whole context of the poem suggests , the more appropriate quest ion i s why E l i o t could not bring himself to say that and, f u r the r , to ask what 80 are the imp l i ca t ions of his re fusa l ? In a poem by A. R. Ammons, "Corsons In le t " (1968: 27) , the developing argument brings the poet to the brink of having to use the word 'God ' ; i ns tead , at the l a s t moment, he s u b s t i -tutes the word "Ove ra l l " ( l i ne 30) in 'God ' s ' p lace . As important as understanding what Ammons means by his invocat ion of de i t y in genera l , i t i s equa l l y , i f not more, important to ask why he invokes de i ty that way and why he cannot u t te r his c u l t u r e ' s usual name for God. To suggest, then, that "God 1 l i e s j us t a l i t t l e beyond "Ove ra l l " and, in f a c t , i s Ammons' d i s c r e t e l y obl ique way of a l l u s i v e l y saying something he hasn ' t sa id is to miss e n t i r e l y the force and drama of Ammons' actual speech. So too with "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed P ru f rock" ; aethereal, in i t s phonics and semantics, is qui te c l e a r l y assoc iated with "e the r i sed " but by a c tua l l y choosing " e the r i sed " E l i o t is not simply hiding ' ae the rea l ' up his s l eeve ; he has sa id no to such words and to t he i r p a r t i c u l a r deposits of meaning, p a r t i c u l a r l y , no doubt, t h e i r use in l a te romantic and fin de siecie verse where the word and i t s vague reference funct ioned as a f a c i l e access to a debased s p i r i t u a l i t y , a s p i r i t u a l i t y more gestural than r e a l , o r i g i na t i ng u l t imate ly in the displacements e f fec ted by the romantics, but which could only be invoked i r o n i c a l l y in 1917, the connotative d istance between " e the r i s ed " and aethereal asser t ing pre -c i s e l y the sum of that i rony. This composit ional procedure which anchors ' s t y l i s t i c ' choices in cont ras t i ve sets whose meanings are s o c i a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y coded occurs at a l l l eve ls of the poem, from the l e x i c a l , as in the case of " e t h e r i s e d , " to the d i s cu r s i v e . At the d i scu rs i ve l e v e l , "Prufrock" reasserts the primacy of a soc ia l l i f e ac t i va ted semant ica l ly in terms of a r e s t r i c t e d 81 code. The most general cond i t i on , we might r e c a l l , " f o r the emergence of th i s code i s a soc i a l r e l a t i onsh ip based upon a common, extensive set of c l o se l y shared i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s and expectat ions se l f -consc ious l y held by i t s members . . . [ in which] the unique meaning of the individual i s likely to be implicit" (Bernstein 1974: 127-128). E l i o t ' s poem refuses to brew from i t s fragmentary mater ia ls anything approaching a Prufrockian i den t i t y coded as an e x p l i c i t s u b j e c t i v i t y . The poem f e i n t s in that d i r e c t i on but cons i s t en t l y and de l i be r a t e l y f a l l s short of that goa l , as c r i t i c i s m has already to ld us. But the spur to such a representat ion of defeat , the spasms of an aborted e laborat ion of a substant ia l s e l f , i s not , as c r i t i c i s m unfortunate ly goes on to say, a sign of the tragedy of modern man paralyzed by the e x i s t e n t i a l horror of modernity, a tragedy that "mirrors the p l i gh t of the sens i t i v e in the presence of the d u l l " (Smith 1974: 15). There is no evidence that E l i o t ever r e a l l y thought of the human enterpr ise in those terms, being much more c l ea r and tough-minded than that (FLA 50 and SE 363-364, 374-375). None of his poems trade in genera l ized regret or p i t y fo r "the p l i gh t of the s e n s i t i v e " ; they are much more pointed in thought and f e e l i ng once the soc ia l and l i t e r a r y environment in which they appeared i s r e c a l l e d . " P ru f rock ' s " point begins to emerge as a funct ion of i t s d i f fe rences from the l i t e r a r y paradigm that a poem l i k e The Prelude inaugurates in nineteenth-century romanticism. "Prufrock" is impossible in a world that has not already es tab l i shed The Prelude and i t s ideology of se l f-generat ing and self-absorbed sub j e c t i v i t y as a norm. This norm oversees a conf ident and aggressive egoism, an entrepreneur ia l egoism of se l f -cons t ruc t ion and s e l f - v e r i f i c a t i o n , and, beyond tha t , the greater egoism of b e l i e f in the 82 capac i ty of the s e l f f o r eva luat ing the form and content of sub j e c t i v i t y from within sub j e c t i v i t y i t s e l f . The Prelude ennobles the 'self-made man' by i n s t a l l i n g him not as an a r i s t o c r a t of the sword, nor one of the robe, but as a new bourgeois a r i s t o c r a t of f e e l i n g , measured not by ex t e rna l , i n s t i t u t i o n a l , ob j e c t i v e , h i s t o r i c a l c r i t e r i a , but by i n t r i n s i c q u a l i t i e s of s i n c e r i t y and au then t i c i t y penetrable only to s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n . "Prufrock" appears in a common i n t u i t i v e l i f e insc r ibed by the norms of t h i s pervasive egoism, which, having s p i l l e d over into paramount r e a l i t y from a p r i v i l eged l i t e r a r y province in the nineteenth century , operates to encode f e e l i n g , conduct, and the notional l i f e of a p a r t i c u l a r soc ia l c l a s s . "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" i s a rather s l i g h t poem outside the boundaries of th i s s i t u a t i o n . What focusses the poem is i t s systematic nay-saying to the penetrat ion of th i s normative egoism in everyday l i f e and as one of the p r inc ipa l foundations of l i t e r a t u r e . We hear a l i t e r a r y " vo i ce " in the poem (cf . Schuchard 1976 and L ine t t 1978). C r i t i c i s m t e l l s us i t is a " vo i ce " tha t , while s e l f -de l u s i v e l y enact ing a ser ies of comic gy ra t ions , comica l ly thwarted, intends to induce the appearance of a canonic s e l f on the romant ic is t model. But a l l th i s " vo i ce " a c tua l l y speaks i s the r e s t r i c t e d soc ia l codes of bourgeois drawing-room small t a l k . What the poem v i v i d l y br ings to our ears i s the stammering into which the elaborated codes of romanticism have degenerated by century 's end. We don ' t have a " vo i ce " and an e lus i ve or ambiguous s u b j e c t i v i t y we can only p a r t i a l l y capture in c r i t i c i s m . Nothing could be more p l a i n l y spoken by E l i o t ; the "Prufrock" persona is an exact enactment t yp i f y i ng the wreckage of a kind of 83 " l i t e r a t u r e " and the forms of l i f e that the enabl ing p r i n c i p l e s of that l i t e r a t u r e helped shape. Str ipped of a l l i t s t yp i ca l psychic manoeuvres the romantic s e l f is o f fe red as a rather puny and ordinary th ing . This i s a devastat ing c r i t i q u e of a c ruc i a l skein of thought in romanticism, a c r i t i q u e that shears away an elaborated l i t e r a r y and soc ia l idiom of considerable power in the h i s to ry of bourgeois perception (Kenner 1974: 54-75). The sympathy we are asked to fee l in the poem is not fo r the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c agonies of modern man hoping to have a heart-to-heart conversat ion in a world of ch i t -cha t , but something more important than that . What the poem does is lament the absence of a standard or measure of conduct beyond the s e l f , the absence of an h i s t o r i c a l l y elaborated i n t e r s u b j e c t i v i t y , i nsc r ibed as object ive and impersonal ru les and representa t ions , and, f u r t h e r , the absence of an i n s t i t u t i o n a l locus fo r human agency through which the human subject wins a corporate condensa-t ion of s e l f . "Prufrock" i s the negative moment of a romanticism that has seeped into the everyday l i f e of the d i r e c t i v e e l i t e s of soc i e t y , the guardians, we w i l l see l a t e r , of o b j e c t i v i t y . The poem's 'argument' proceeds by s t r i pp ing bare an imposture, not of a s ing le man, but of a whole form of l i f e , and, f u r t h e r , the argument accomplishes th i s through the e rec t ion of a s t ructure of d i f fe rences with the romantic paradigms which i t a ssau l t s . The poem, in f a c t , makes i t s whole point by unmis-takably re fus ing to reproduce the conventional e f f e c t . Its impact i s e n t i r e l y one of a motivated negation of a normative ideology. E l i o t has subjected these norms to a process of transformation which distances them from w i th in , prov id ing a ' v i s i o n ' of them at work so tha t , wi th in the poem, the reader i s to an extent divorced from the habitual mental 84 assoc ia t ions which the norms fos te r and r e i n fo r ce . This has been accomplished through making us hear the elaborated codes of that ideology die on the l i p s of a t yp i ca l representat ive and, hence, reveal to us the soc i a l domain which these ' u n i v e r s a l i s t i c ' codes attempt to insc r ibe in o ther , more glamorous, terms. What we hear in the subtext of the poem is the actual speech of th i s domain, the r e -s t r i c t e d codes o f a p r i v i l e g e d , but nerve less , bourgeois ie . "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" i s not a pure form of r e -s t r i c t e d code; no work of ar t ever can be. My point i s that i t s micro-s t ruc tu ra l organ izat ion comes into view in the tension between r e s t r i c t e d and elaborated codes. Those fac tors that pu l l the text in the d i r e c t i o n of elaborated forms of expression i nc lude , p r ima r i l y , the poem's def t ' l i t e r a r i n e s s ' , such features as i t s d i sp lay of the remnants of a ta t tered l i t e r a r y technique (Moody's " pe r f e c t l y cor rec t couplet " ) and cu l ture (the debased s p i r i t u a l , confess ional mode of the fin de siecie) Its range of l i t e r a r y references a lso tends to s h i f t the code's centre of g rav i t y . The poem gestures towards a t rop i c design that never manages to enc i r c l e the poem's themes with in the play of appropriate metaphors and s i m i l i t u d e s . Those features of the text that pu l l toward elaborated forms of expression are never permitted t he i r f u l l potent ia l as un iver -s a l i z i n g , context- f ree , general and abstract orders of meaning. Instead, that movement i s hobbled throughout by the t e x t ' s qui te evident i n a b i l i t y to surmount the i n c lus i ve and the i m p l i c i t in the soc ia l r e l a t i ons that envelop the speaker and the meanings to which he has access and which he cannot abstract from the i r contexts . "For I have known them a l l a l ready , known them a l l - - " is a statement which can only be understood 85 by those already f u l l y cognizant of the soc ia l and e th i ca l context in which such a statement can be uttered in jus t that way.^ It i s that knowing, i m p l i c i t , p a r t i c u l a r , i n c lus i ve (the poem's t rop i c design cannot make i t e x p l i c i t ) which allows us to hear accurate ly the l i n e ' s ' tone ' and thus have access to the world the sequence s i g n i f i e s . What the speaker has "known" does not need to be s p e c i f i e d , in fac t needs no s p e c i f i c re fe rences , although some, rather c r yp t i c ones, are prov ided, because what he has "known" i s part of the context and thus access ib le to a l l those who share the r e s t r i c t e d code that s i l e n t l y names this "known." Bernste in : "The speech w i l l tend to be impersonal in that i t w i l l not be s p e c i f i c a l l y prepared to f i t a given re fe ren t . How things are s a i d , when they are s a i d , rather than what i s s a i d , becomes important" (1974: 128). How and when things are sa id produces " P ru f r o ck 1 s " tonal o rgan iza -t i o n , making audible the poem's embedded r e s t r i c t e d code which i t s f ragmentar i ly deployed ' l i t e r a r i n e s s ' works.to obscure, AH poems begin at the leve l of the r e s t r i c t e d code, the d i s cu rs i ve form of the concrete ly experienced. There the fundamental acts of percept ion , knowledge, and propr iocept ion occur wi th in a p a r t i c u l a r , s o c i a l l y and h i s t o r i c a l l y determined environment. The poet ' s task , un t i l the advent of modernism, i t seems to me, has been to re-write the p a r t i c u l a r knowledge derived from concrete experience in an elaborated code which gives poet and reader access to the grounds of experience and in which p r i n c i p l e s , concept ions , opera t ions , the schematic diagram of knowing, in shor t , are made e x p l i c i t . Here the work of the h i s to r i ans of ideas i s very u s e f u l , for they do provide the notional schemata of a period by which 86 the kind of transformation I'm t a l k ing about i s e f fec ted and given i t s proper values.^ An awkwardly negotiated ' t r a n s - f i g u r a t i o n ' of th i s sort accounts fo r the dissonance many hear in the 'moral 1 that concludes Co le r idge ' s "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" or in the tonal swerve in the f i r s t e ight l ines of "De jec t ion : an Ode," a dissonance that Donald Davie was the f i r s t to name (1955, 1976: 69). I am speaking here not of d i f f e r en t types or i n t e n s i t i e s of thought or f e e l i n g , but of the d i f f e r en t ways of wr i t ing out thought and f e e l i n g , of the way they are 'done' in tex ts . In the poetry of the c l a s s i c a l moment, the i n d i v i d u a l , the concrete , and the pa r t i cu l a r are not l ingered over , as Rosamund Tuve has shown (1947, 1968: 314), but are ' t r ans- f igu red ' in the elaborated code fo r which the re ign ing cosmology dest ines them. But such a cosmological framework i s only a cosmology in an o abstracted sense, useful to mythographers perhaps, but not productive c r i t i c a l l y . From the point of view of the actual soc ia l environment fo r which i t provides an absolute re ference , the anchor against parad ig -matic d r i f t ( i t spec i f i e s what goes with what), a cosmology i s simply an ' i d e o l o g y ' , or that network of meaning potent ia l s that are organized as a system of enabl ing and susta in ing r u l e s , p r i n c i p l e s , and techniques to h ie ra rch ize and make stable a given soc ia l system, and, f u r the r , to represent that p a r t i c u l a r hierarchy and s t a b i l i t y as natural or d iv ine (Will iams 1977: 65-71; Berger and Luckmann 1979: 140-143). Though i t acts p r imar i l y to leg i t imate what i s , the 'cosmology' l eg i t ima tes , a l s o , types of ' t r a n s - f i g u r a t i o n ' . A soc ia l system that i s se t t l ed or calm at any one time sees i t s l i t e r a t u r e ' t r ans- f i gu re ' the 'raw' into the ' cooked ' , the r e s t r i c t e d into the e laborated , without ser ious systemic 87 per turba t ion ; when framing 'cosmologies ' contend, or one is being d isp laced by o thers , which is the t yp i ca l form of the content ion , then, in l i t e r a t u r e , the primacy of the r e s t r i c t e d code is reasser ted . The id iosyncrasy , volume, and amplitude of tone and tonal organ izat ion measurably increases . Ideological perturbat ions are not simply phenomena of the framework; of course , they eventual ly resolve as mutations of frame, but they are fought and won in the domain of r e s t r i c t e d codes. There the f i r s t , fundamental, material and cu l tu ra l r e l a t i ons ( inc lud ing sexual ones) are f i r s t represented, and in being represented are de f ined , cha rac te r i zed , v a l o r i z e d , h i e r a r ch i zed , in shor t , 'cooked' (Eagleton 1983: 171-173). And, through that process, the i n i t i a l representat ions are ' t r ans- f i gu red ' into an elaborated code. Id iosyncras ies of tone and extended tonal range, emerging from the r e s t r i c t e d codes (with t h e i r syntagmatic d i s l o c a t i o n s ) , s ignal i d e o l o g i c a l l y unsett led per iods . It is not su rp r i s i ng that a phenomenon l i k e 'metaphysical p o e t r y ' , with i t s noisy foregrounding of the whir r ing machinery of i t s own t rop i c processes, should be the d i s cu rs i ve prelude to c i v i l war (Eagleton 1981: 12). S i m i l a r l y , we cannot be surpr ised by the narrowness of tonal amplitude, the we l l-p lot ted syntagmatic flow (Kenner 1966: 133-136), and the s t y l i s t i c marks of the f u l l y arrayed elaborated codes of Augustan poetry. "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" takes as i t s s t a r t i ng point the legacy of e laborated l i t e r a r y codes, in the p a r t i c u l a r condi t ion that E l i o t found th i s inher i tance in the f i r s t decade of our century. Indeed, he l a t e r wrote The sacred wood (1920) to examine what he had i nhe r i t ed . In "Prufrock" he l e t s us hear the f r ac tu r ing and see the d i s so lu t i on of each attempt to e s t ab l i sh the system of s im i l i tudes that 88 va l ida tes both the e x i s t e n t i a l and the cosmological p lanes. This process can be seen in the poem's ind i v idua l pa r t s . And indeed there w i l l be time To wonder, 'Do I dare? ' and, 'Do I dare?' Time to turn back and descend the s t a i r , With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--(They w i l l say: 'How his ha i r is growing t h i n ! 1 ) My morning coa t , my c o l l a r mounting f i rm ly to the c h i n , My neckt ie r i ch and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--(They w i l l say: 'But how his arms and legs are t h i n ! 1 ) Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there i s time For dec is ions and rev i s ions which a minute w i l l reverse. (CP 14) The passage begins by r e a s se r t i ng , with the conjunct ion "And , " the para tac t i c mode of connectedness between sect ions a f t e r cont inu i t y has been broken by the repeated ' c o u p l e t 1 . Pa ra tax i s , in contrast to the syntac t i c soph i s t i c a t i on of hypotax is , acts to narrow syntac t i c v a r i -a b i l i t y , a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of r e s t r i c t e d forms of express ion. Parataxis a lso measurably suppresses the de l i cacy of l og i ca l and categor ica l d i sc r imina t ions and a l l those hypotact ic features that make e x p l i c i t in t he i r form the way sentences make sense. Para tac t i c construct ions require a densely a r t i cu l a t ed ethos of shared assumptions, b e l i e f s , and r i t e s as background in order to become f u l l y express ive , as E r i c Havelock and Norman Aust in have shown in t h e i r seminal studies of the para tac t i c cu l tures of pre-Socrat ic Greece (Havelock 1963; Aust in 1975). In " P ru f rock , " the opening l i ne of the sect ion quoted above ca r r i e s the l ex i c a l and syntac t i c markings of an elaborated code: " indeed"--a l og i c a l i n t e n s i f i e r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of r a t i o n a l i s t and academic d i scourse ; "there"--the genera l ized agent of the c l ause , a s t ruc tura l dummy that 89 permits postponement of the theme; "t ime"--entrance of the main sub jec t , in the complement p o s i t i o n ; and then the p lac ing ques t ion , that acts to c r y s t a l l i z e an ind iv iduated speaking s e l f in the sequence "Do I d a r e ? . ' " The questions do not re fe r us to the p o s s i b i l i t y of answers at the level of the elaborated code on which the sequence seems to be operat ing (c f . the opening of "Burnt Norton" [Davie 1970: 65] ) . They de f l e c t us instead to s i t ua t i on and context , to ce r ta in enacted negot iat ions with an env i ron -ment dense with signs that swamp the exper iencing subject in anxiety and fea r , m a t "They" say--"'How his ha i r i s growing t h i n ! ' " - - i s r e a l l y rather t r i v i a l and not too important (Kenner 1966: 21) , but how they say i t is a l l . And knowing how, that i s , knowing how to in te rpre t the 'how' can only be e f fec ted by those who know the immediate soc ia l context i n t ima te l y , not t h i s p a r t i c u l a r one, but the soc ia l loca t ion of which the "Prufrock" scena i s the complex s i g n , where such things are sa id in jus t that way. E l i o t in The sacred mod: " . . . and i f we are to express ourse l ves , our va r ie ty of thoughts and f e e l i n g s , on a va r ie ty of subjects with inev i t ab le r i gh tness , we must adapt our manner to the moment with i n f i n i t e v a r i a t i ons " (80). The attempt to re-es tab l i sh the elaborated code and the u n i v e r s a l i s t i c connections to which i t points ends in a comic co l l apse : Do I dare Disturb the universe? The disengagement of rhe to r i ca l s t ruc tu re , the spare or de l i be r a t e l y eccent r i c use of s imi le and metaphor, and of other overt ana logica l pa t te rn ing , c l e a r l y a technica l legacy from French symboiisme (Davie 90 1970: 73-74), re leases the poem i n t o , what I c a l l ed e a r l i e r , the composit ional present tense, where the poem's primary generative contexts feed into the act ion of the language i t s e l f , now well beyond the s t r u c -tura l pu l l of t r a d i t i o n a l verse forms and beyond the const ra in ts of a problematic metaphysics. The p a r t i c u l a r sound-shape of "Do I dare"--three s y l l ab l e s i so l a t ed in a s ing le l i n e at the end of the passage above—is con t ro l l ed here not by generic or modal requirements, nor by the needs imposed by an underly ing ph i losoph ica l idea (as i s the back-ward f l o a t i n g d i s t an ta t i on in Wordsworth's response to Bartholomew Fa i r in Book VIII of The Prelude) but the s p e c i f i c accumulated anxiety which the preceding l i nes cons t i t u t e , so that when the verse l i n e contracts suddenly on the three s y l l a b l e s , they are not only a sign of an i n d i -v i d u a l ' s suddenly c r y s t a l l i z e d abjectness--the poem has done everything to obscure the edges of the speaker as ' cha rac te r '—but a lso a s ign of the de l ibe ra te re fusa l of the poem to ra i se i t s e l f to some un i f y i ng , u n i v e r s a l i s t i c order of meaning, some p r i v i l eged elaborated l i t e r a r y code that a man l i k e Edmund Gosse, f o r example, might duly recognize as a ' r e a l ' poem, as ' r e a l ' as any of Rupert Brooke's or A. E. Housman's-product ions. I can hardly doubt that E l i o t meant the poem to funct ion in both ways and tha t , in f a c t , Edmund Gosse and others l i k e him were the audience the poem ac tua l l y had in mind. E l i o t ' s o ther , sympathetic readers , of course, read the poem, not as such, but with the s i t ua t i on g of i t s recept ion c e n t r a l l y in mind. . We no longer simply have a poem that represents a conventional l i t e r a r y wor ld , whose themat ics , and the i r accuracy as representat ions or diagnoses, we can d iscuss and have d i f f e r i n g opinions about; we have 91 more properly a poem t h a t , through i t s negative s t r u c t u r e , discovers the actua l concrete world i n which i t occurs. This world can be discerned i n the t e x t ' s v i s i b l e procedures f o r making sense, i t s recuperable and c u l t u r a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t choices and i t s mutations of o v e r a l l form, mutations that e i t h e r express s o l i d a r i t y w i t h , or h o s t i l i t y t o , the s o c i a l l y p r i v i l e g e d forms i n the given c u l t u r e . The poem seen i n t h i s p e rspective i s not simply making a comment on the contents of r e a l i t y , but foregrounding the o r g a n i z a t i o n of r e a l i t y i t s e l f , the way s o c i e t y , i n a l l i t s i n s c r i b e d forms, t h i n k s , r e f l e c t s , imagines the real to i t s e l f . 92 Notes to Chapter Two Lowry 1961: 103 and see P l a to ' s Republic VI: 493 where the Sophists are gored fo r pandering unconscionably to the f i c k l e mul t i tude ' s whims and op in ions . He the Sophist learns by heart a l l the beast ' s whims and wishes, how he must approach, and how touch him, when he i s dangerous and when he i s tame, and why; learns his language, too--what sounds he usua l l y makes at what, and what sound uttered by another creature quiets him and what i n fu r i a t e s him. The keeper learns these lessons pe r f ec t l y in the course of time by l i v i n g with him, and c a l l s i t wisdom: then compiles a handbook of veter inary a r t and sets up as a p ro fessor . He knows noth ing, in t r u t h , about these reso lu t ions or whims of the mul t i tude , whether any of them is beaut i fu l or ug ly , good or e v i l , jus t or un just , but gives a name to each according to the monster 's op in ions , c a l l i n g beaut i fu l what pleases him the monster and ev i l what annoys him; he has no other p r i n c i p l e whatever in a l l t h i s , but he c a l l s necess i t i e s jus t and b e a u t i f u l ; and how r e a l l y d i f f e r e n t by nature necess i ty i s from good he has never seen himself and he i s unable to teach another. (Plato 1956: 291) The a t t i tude towards the 'beas t ' and the beast ' s 'keepers ' which the text assembles soon loses the pedagogical relevance Plato gave i t and comes down to ea r th , becoming simply a social a t t i tude that eventual ly comes to enjoy a long and d i s t ingu ished career in Western p o l i t i c a l cu l tu re . This a t t i tude comes f i r s t to be associated with a r i s t o c r a t i c d isda in fo r unre l i ab le demos. With the l i b e r a l Enlightenment and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n in the nineteenth century , when the bourgeois ie d e c i s i v e l y distance themselves from the hoi poiloi f o r good, through 93 the development of class consciousness and the formulation of class-specific practices, they appropriate this way of seeing. This way of seeing demos functions as an inwardly experienced legitimating gesture of the new power they hold, borrowing from the aristocracy they've empedestalled one of its constitutive moral attitudes, l i t t l e realizing that i t is as the manageable, but socially odious, 'keepers' of the 'beast' that the bourgeoisie themselves have been generally regarded by an economically marooned, but socially aloof and contemptuous, aristocracy. An unsigned contemporary review of Eliot's Ara vos Prec (1920) in the Times Literary Supplement hits the nail on the head, insisting that Eliot's poetry, and modernism as a whole, "is all refusal." However, the reviewer, who recognizes and seems to accept the late Victorian decline of romantic poetics, finds Eliot's "anti-romantic" procedures appallingly self-defeating. "But all this is mere habit; art means the acceptance of a medium as of l i f e ; and Mr. Eliot does not convince us that his weariness is anything but a habit, an anti-romantic reaction, a new Byronism which he must throw off i f he is not to become a recurring decimal in his fear of being a mere vulgar fraction." Earlier in the review he recognizes immediately the source of Eliot's transformative practice, although he misreads the purpose. So the young poets of to-day are apt to insist that they will make poetry of what they choose; but their choice is not always so free as they think. It is conditioned by reaction, disgust, ennui; they want no more of "La belle dame sans merci," or of King Arthur or Pan or Prosperpine, just as they want no more of rhythms such as 'By the tideless, dolorous, midland sea--' so they choose themes and rhythms 94 the very opposite of these. Often they seem in t he i r poetry to be t e l l i n g us merely how they refuse to write poems and not how they wish to wr i te them. It is l i k e the bridge-movement of the Choral symphony; a cont inual r e j ec t ion of themes and rhythms, but without anything pos i t i v e to fo l low. Mr. E l i o t i s an extreme example of th i s process. His c l eve rness , which i s a lso extreme, expresses i t s e l f almost e n t i r e l y in r e j e c t i o n s ; his verse i s f u l l of de r i s i ve reminiscences of poets who have wearied him. As f o r subject-matter, t h i s i s a lso a l l r e f u s a l ; i t can be expressed in one phrase; again and again he t e l l s us that he is ' fed-up' with a r t , with l i f e , with people, with th ings . Everyone fo r him seems to be a parody of exhausted and out-of-date emotions. To read his verse is to be thrown d e l i b -e ra te l y into that mood which sometimes overcomes one in the s t ree ts of a crowded town when one is t i r e d and bewi ldered, the mood in which a l l passers-by look l i k e over-expressive marionettes pretending to be a l i v e and a l l the more mechanical f o r t he i r pretence. In such a mood one is morbidly aware of town squa lor ; everything seems to have been used and re-used again and aga in ; the symbol of a l l l i f e is c iga re t te ends and s ta le c iga re t te smoke; the very conversat ion is l i k e tha t , i t has been sa id a thousand times and is repeated mechanica l ly ; in fac t a l l things are done from hab i t , which has mastered l i f e and turned i t into an end less ly recur r ing squalor . ("A New Byronism" 1920: 184) Gordon 1977: 45n, suggests, on the author i ty of a personal i n t e r -view E l i o t gave to the Grantite Review 1962: 16-20, that he "used the notion of the s p l i t pe r sona l i t y , which was f i r s t studied and widely popular ized in his you th . " The problem he re ' i s that we are not given much sense of what soc ia l meaning the notion of the ' s p l i t pe r sona l i t y ' c a r r i e s , as a widely and popular ly d iscussed i dea , as "Pruf rock" passed through i t s var ious revisons in 1911, in 1915, in 1917? Who were i t s champions and what did they represent fo r those among whom the idea was "widely popular ized"? Against what cons t e l l a t i on of ideas and a t t i tudes did those who took up th i s doc t r i ne , e i the r as pro fess iona ls ( theoret i-95 cians and c l i n i c i a n s ) or popu l a r i ze r s , aim i t ? How does th i s encompassing popular i ty fo r the notion of ' s p l i t pe r sona l i t y ' appear in the poem? What kind of i n t e l l e c t u a l , mora l , and soc ia l a l l eg iances are unavoidably set up by the use of avant-garde psychologica l ideas , such as th i s one, in E l i o t ' s day? 4 This development in European thought i s a product of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, as i s well known, and can be seen in i t s ear ly form in the work of Giambatt ista V i co . See F isch 1968: xx ix . 5 See F. W. Bateson on the "mental d ishonesty" of L ionel Johnson's "Oxford" (1950: 235-240) and F. R. Leavis on Johnson's poetry of "spe-c i a l i z e d poet ica l experience where nothing has sharp d e f i n i t i o n , " in Living Principle (1975: 84). 6 Cf. Kenner 1966: 11, fo r a reading of these l i nes that assumes everyone knows what they re fe r to . ^ Here a book l i ke Rosemond Tuve's Elizabethan and Metaphysical imagery (1947, 1968) can be very useful in surveying the cogn i t i ve topography and the paradigmatic and combinatory procedures of the l i t e r a r y mind in the per iod she examines. Indeed Tuve's spur in wr i t ing the book in the f i r s t place was her dismay at the programmatic new c r i t i c a l ignorance of the re levant soc i a l and aesthet i c contexts of Engl ish Renaissance wr i t i ng (5). Read in conjunct ion with accounts of the soc ia l dynamics of the t ime, say, a work l i k e David Mathew's Ford Lectures at Oxford in 1945, The Social Structure of Caroline England (1948), Tuve's book helps us reconstruct the appropriate soc iosemiot ic environment, one in which a rule-governed system of symbolic representa -t ions allows us to perceive the operat ive semiot ic of l e v e l s , r o l e s , and events in the soc ia l s t ructure of l a te s ixteenth and ear l y seventeenth century a r i s t o c r a t i c l i f e in England. 8 E. M. W. T i l l y a r d in his Elizabethan world picture fo r example. g See Bradbury 1971: xxxn i-xxxv and fo r a more uncomprehending account of wr i ter-reader r e l a t i ons in ea r l y modernism, see Tay lor 1967 179-180. 97 C h a p t e r T h r e e : U n d e r m i n i n g t h e f o u n d a t i o n s In " P r u f r o c k " E l i o t s t r i p s " l i t e r a t u r e " ba re o f i t s c o n v e n t i o n a l l y r o m a n t i c l i t e r a r i n e s s and o f t h e p r i v i l e g e s bes towed on i n d i v i d u a l i t y as t h e s o u r c e and t e s t o f a l l e x p e r i e n c e . Of c o u r s e , i t i s no t o n l y t h a t one poem w h i c h s h a r e s i n t h i s p u r p o s e ; i n f a c t most o f t h e poems i n E l i o t ' s f i r s t v o l u m e , Prufrock and Other Observations (1917),WOrk w i t h i n t h e e n t e r p r i s e announced by " P r u f r o c k . " . I n d e e d c a l l i n g t h e t e x t s i n t h a t vo lume " o b s e r v a t i o n s , " r a t h e r t h a n poems, i t s e l f s u g g e s t s a c r u c i a l r e f u s a l , o r n e g a t i o n , o f t h e l i t e r a r y . " P r u f r o c k , " howeve r , r ema ins t h e ma jo r document i n t h i s p r o c e s s o f t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . T h i s l i t e r a r y h i s t o r -i c a l p r o c e s s ends i n t h a t poem l a y i n g ba re a s o c i a l v o i c e s p e a k i n g the r e s t r i c t e d i d i o m o f i t s s o c i a l c l a s s i n t h e c o n t e x t o f a wrecked l i t e r -a r i n e s s , some o f t h e ' e f f e c t s o f w h i c h — m u s i c h a l l r h ymes , t h e s e l f -c o n s c i o u s t r o p e s , e t c . - - s t i l l c l i n g i n a m i x t u r e o f i r o n y and n o s t a l g i a t o t h e poem's s o c i a l s p e e c h . But t h i s s t a t e o f a f f a i r s does not r e p -r e s e n t a sudden b r eak i n t h e l i t e r a r y uses o f v o i c e and t o n e i n n i n e -t e e n t h - c e n t u r y p o e t i c p r a c t i c e s . B rown ing and C l o u g h e x p e r i m e n t e d w i t h an e x t e n d e d range o f t o n e and v o i c e beyond t h e r o m a n t i c norms i n some o f t h e i r s t r o n g e s t w o r k . 1 A n d , o f c o u r s e , f o r E l i o t e s p e c i a l l y , t h e e x -t e n d e d t o n a l range o f les symboiistes i n F r ance i s a w e l l - d o c u m e n t e d 2 i n f l u e n c e . In E n g l i s h p o e t r y , t h o u g h , i t was t h e " P r e f a c e s " t o t h e Lyrical Ballads t h a t c u l m i n a t e d t h e i n f l u e n t i a l c r i t i q u e o f A u g u s t a n p o e t i c d i c t i o n i n t h e l a t t e r p a r t o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , a r g u i n g 98 that real poet ic speech must stay c l o s e , l e x i c a l l y , s y n t a c t i c a l l y , and g e n e r i c a l l y , to the soc ia l speech of real men in the real world. The attack on Augustan poet ic d i c t i o n by the romantics, although fought in the name of the common tongue, i n i t i a t e d not the overturning of poet ic d i c t i o n as such, but a l ex i c a l and formal s h i f t towards a new poet ic d i c t i o n based on the p r i v i l e g i n g of a ce r ta in type of poet ic s e n s i b i l i t y that rooted i t s author i ty in the nature and process of imaginative ex-perience rather than in the pol ished mastery of the l i t e r a r y and soc ia l resources o f an achieved c i v i l i z a t i o n . A hundred y e a r s . l a t e r , "Prufrock" enacts the ru in of romantic s e n s i b i l i t y in the terms suggested in the previous chapter , in the same way that Co le r idge ' s "Frost at M idn ight , " in i t s very composit ional process, se l f -consc ious l y d isp laces the neo-c l a s s i c a l poet ic norms. " P ru f rock , " oddly enough, completes the r evo lu -t i on in poet ic d i c t i o n which the Lyrical Ballads announced in 1798. However, with the shearing away of romantic l i t e r a r i n e s s , "Prufrock" does not lay bare a new literary domain based on some new rhe to r i c or a new metaphysics. The SOCial Voices Of Prufrock and Other Observations instead lay bare the bourgeois world to which these voices are nat ive . And in that soc ia l world lay the more important bourgeois orthodoxy, the socio-economic and ph i losoph ica l progenitor of romanticism: the l i be r a l legacy of the European Enlightenment (Jameson 1974: 94-95). Freed from the g rav i t a t iona l pu l l on poet ic form of an ancient rhe to r i ca l t r a d i t i o n and from the s u b j e c t i v i s t thematics of a surpassed metaphysics, ea r l y E l i o t , and modernism in genera l , began that t r ans -formation of the elaborated d i s cu rs i ve codes of the Whig l i b e r a l i s m in which Engl ish soc ie ty from the 1820s and 1830s had learned to represent 99 i t s e l f to i t s e l f . In the Engl ish nineteenth century, the legacy of the Enlightenment, and i t s extensions into the aesthet ic regions of ideology through the poet ics of romanticism, was thoroughly i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d at every level of soc i e t y . This penetrat ion in depth of the bourgeois s t ructure of f ee l i ng focussed and legi t imated l i b e r a l assumptions and i n s t i t u t i o n a l behaviour. In i t s most elaborated form, the d i s cu rs i ve prac t i ce of the l i b e r a l world-view runs from Locke, through Adam Smith and the ear l y Burke, the Hartleyan psycho log i s t s , Bentham, and the M i l l s down to L. T . Hobhouse and J . A. Hobson in the la te V i c to r i an and Edwardian decades. This genealogy i s very well known and has been much 3 descr ibed , analyzed, and commented upon. I am of course not simply taking l i b e r a l i sm in i t s p o l i t i c a l and economic manifestat ions as the pa r t i cu l a r thematics of e i the r a formal philosophy or a parl iamentary programme. The centra l commitment to laissez-faire economics weakened and strengthened i t s p o l i t i c a l form according to the requirements of the day. What E l i o t was in teres ted to understand and, eventua l l y , subvert , was the way the f u l l array of l i b e r a l r e f l e c t i v e and d i scu rs i ve pract i ces had penetrated the semantics of the soc i a l r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e . Laissez-faire was the ba t t l e pennon under which a hundred p o l i t i c i a n s 4 entered the l i s t s at Westminster, but i t was also a su i tab le text that could leg i t imate (to himself ) a shopkeeper's dec i s ion not to extend any 5 more c r ed i t to a bankrupt. Of course, I have not said that a discursive practice alone can cause an agent to act, but i t does help expla in and l eg i t imate a c t i o n , or at l e a s t , de f l e c t a t tent ion from concrete de te r -minants to a higher level semiot ic where the actual in te rac t ions of agent and pat ient are e i t he r c l a r i f i e d or obscured depending on one's 100 o r i en ta t i on to the prac t i ce (Habermas 1973: 77). At another l e v e l , i t i s only a poet ics dominated by the 1iberal-romantic over-valuat ion of personal i d en t i t y and the voice as access to Being (Abrams 1963: 37-42; Derr ida 1967, 1976: 22) that can give the quest fo r an authent ic voice and i d e n t i t y , the centra l concern o f , f o r example, Clough's Amours de voyage (1858), i t s moment and po in t . E l i o t , from his e a r l i e s t works, set out to d i s r u p t , a l i enate and, indeed, subvert the dominant ideo log ica l settlement e f fec ted by l i b e r a l i s m in the nineteenth century , and a l l i t s d i s t i n c t i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l and a f f e c t i v e themes,' 7 through a transformation of i t s e laborated d i s cu rs i ve p r a c t i c e s . E l i o t ' s great o r i g i n a l i t y as a subversive stems from the fac t that he grasped bet ter than most what was required to d i sp lace a dominant ideology. His reading of Durkheim at Harvard in 1913-1914 (Coste l lo 1963: 74-75) no doubt suppl ied him with an understanding of the s t ructure of everyday soc ia l r e a l i t y and the prac t i ces that susta in i t . He knew that to shake the foundations of a p a r t i c u l a r system of ideo log i ca l o representat ions and leg i t imat ions i t is necessary to perturb i t in depth. This means s h i f t i n g a t tent ion from elaborated d i s cu r s i ve prac t i ces with t he i r f i n e l y d iscr iminated abst rac t ions to the l o c a l , the i n d i v i d u a l , and the mundane, prufrock and other observations operates e n t i r e l y in th i s domain, o f f e r i ng obl ique perspect ives on the domestic i n t e r i o r s of that l i b e r a l upper middle c lass in which E l i o t was ra ised (Gordon 1977: 10-11). Many of these poems resemble those pecu l i a r l y vulnerable moments, when, on opening a door, someone catches s ight of some one or th ing that suddenly makes v i v i d l y c l ea r some hidden secret or hypocrisy or s e l f -de l u s i on : 101 The Dresden c lock continued t i c k i n g on the mantelpiece, And the footman sat upon the d in ing-table Holding the second housemaid on his knees--Who had always been so carefu l while her mistress l i v e d . ("Aunt He len , " CP 31) The poems in th i s volume are dense with knowledge of the tex tu res , decors , vo i ces , g lances , r e s t r i c t e d speech codes, in shor t , the en t i re p h y s i c a l , mora l , psychologica l sediment--the "dust in c r e v i c es " ("Rhapsody on a Windy N igh t , " CP 28)--of a whole way of l i f e . Moreover, i t is important to note that the de t a i l s in a poem l i k e "Aunt Helen" do not funct ion metaphor ica l l y , const ruct ing an analogica l canopy that ra ises the s t r a i g h t -forward presentat ion of some inc idents in a household to a higher level abs t rac t i on . They funct ion metonymical ly; that i s , they defer metaphor by s h i f t i n g the i n t e rp re ta t i ve focus to the soc ia l ethos from which the 9 poem draws i t s props. A "Dresden c lock " i s both a Dresden c lock and a decorous metonym for a whole way of l i f e , a l i f e that E l i o t c l e a r l y knew his readers would i n s t an t l y p lace , and thus hear the poem a r i gh t . A l l the d e t a i l s in the poem funct ion metonymically to s i tua te the l i ved densi ty of th i s way of l i f e , and not only the objets, but a lso the small soc i a l a c t s , such as the open ease of the footman and housemaid in the absence of t he i r mis t ress . In a d d i t i o n , the poem i t s e l f , as an a r t i f a c t , funct ions metonymically. The poem focusses the d i f f e rence between i t s own weary, sardonic knowingness (no doubt a sound almost wholly derived from Laforgue and Corbiere [Bergonzi 1972: 7, 52]) and the earnest agonies and exert ions o f much la te V i c to r i an verse , Engl ish and American, where the 'music ' of domestic i n t e r i o r s was s t r a i ned , comica l ly to E l i o t ' s ear , to commit strenuously banal sp lendours . "^ Coventry Patmore: 102 Dead M i l l i c e n t indeed had been most sweet, But I how l i t t l e meet To c a l l such graces in a Maiden mine! A boy's proud passion free a f f e c t i on b lun t s ; His well-meant f l a t t e r i e s o f t are b l ind a f f r o n t s ; And many a tear Was M i l l i c e n t ' s before I, manl ier , knew That maidens shine As diamonds do, Which, though most c l e a r , Are not to be seen through; "Aunt He len ' s " f l a t music takes a l l i t s resonance from th i s p lac ing cont ras t , or i t s American equiva lents and im i t a t i ons . That Edmund Gosse was insp i red by Patmore's poem to enthuse that " ' Ame l i a ' gives evidence of a ta len t fo r i n te rp re t ing in most d i g n i f i e d language the homely emotions of mankind" (Patmore 1948: 18) ind ica tes the c r i t i c a l standards to which E l i o t was a lso eventua l ly dr iven to respond. The f i r s t theme in the c r i t i q u e of the soc io-cu l tura l ethos that gave r i s e to the twinned des t in i es of a Patmore and a Gosse was the re-conquest of language, a language perceived to have been ' p o l l u t e d ' by the semantic accumulations of l i b e r a l i s m . E l i o t ' s well known fas t id iousness in d e f i n i t i o n (see the opening pages of The Sacred wood, on the words "organized" and " a c t i v i t y " ) ca r r i e s a double polemical charge: a fake schoolmaster ly concern fo r denotat ive p rec i s ion and a thorough c leansing of what he saw as the language's accumulations of semantic g r i t in the l i b e r a l epoch. E l i o t well knew that language i s not an innocent , neutral medium, into which only the meanings speakers and wr i ters e x p l i c i t l y intend get s tu f fed (Kenner 1966: 116). He knew that words t r a i l networks of connotative connections with a c t i o n , thought, and f ee l i ng in p a r t i c u l a r contexts . The denotative seren i ty of the d i c t iona ry did not l u l l E l i o t 103 into assuming that words are simply s t i p u l a t i v e devices (Kenner 1966: 119-120). Words only ex i s t in s p e c i f i c contexts and always, loudly or s o f t l y , ac t i va te soc ia l meaning (Bateson 1950: 80). He knew that the use of a word l i k e " a c t i v i t y " by a leading l i b e r a l c r i t i c was an attempt to borrow the prest ige with which Enlightenment ideology had endowed the pos i t i ve sciences (sv 8 ) . That such a rhe to r i ca l manoeuvre could be unconscious or at least semi-conscious suggested the extraord inary power and control exerted by a s e t t l e d , es tab l i shed ideology through a s o c i e t y ' s speech codes, not j us t a d i c t i ona ry of words, but a reper to i re of ' t e x t s ' (Jameson 1982: 73). A deeply and ' f i n e l y ' i nsc r ibed common i n t u i t i v e l i f e can make the dumb speak; i t cou ld , in f a c t , E l i o t was to argue, 12 make some memorable plays 'happen' to several minor E l izabethan hacks. He would have understood, no doubt, Gabriel Pearson's important po in t : Words are not only 'echoes and recesses ' of t he i r own l i t e r a r y past . They are equal ly soc ia l deposits and r epos i to r i e s of soc ia l ac ts . Moreover, the d i s p o s i t i o n of words that makes them 'echoes and recesses ' i s i t s e l f soc ia l f a c t . The words of the s o l i t a r y poet impl icate a soc ie ty in which they once had meaning and being as communications. They imply a past in which audience was once community; wh i l e , of the present audience, some were once of that community and conscious of being so , some are un-conscious that they were, while some have never been so. A l l these states of audience are present in the t o t a l i t y of the poet ic ac t . (1970: 83) That E l i o t knew his audiences w e l l , knew them better than they knew themselves, i s not yet a c r i t i c a l commonplace, which is perhaps su rp r i s ing 13 seeing that the polemical mastery of his prose wr i t ings i s . Habituated to addressing the well-educated middle and upper middle c lasses of a l l persuas ions, whenever he ventured to address other c l a s s e s , such as the 104 working c lass in The Rock, E l i o t was a d i s a s t e r . Rest r i c ted to his 'natural 1 audience, the audience who could hear and accept the embedded r e s t r i c t e d code of his formula t ions , he was devastat ing. His main t a c t i c in the supplant ing of the l i b e r a l d i s cu rs i ve hegemony was to ac t i va te a deeper layer of ind iv idua l response than the layer of i n t e l l e c t u a l and a f f e c t i v e sediment a hundred-odd years of l i b e r a l ' t a l k ' had deposited 14 in the c o l l e c t i v e psyche of the educated c l a s ses . This deeper l a ye r , absorbed in feudal ism and the age of f a i t h , with i t s roots in pre-Enlightenment cosmologies, soc ia l h i e r a r c h i e s , and s cho l a s t i c notions of Natural Law and r a t i ona l i sm , could be act ivated i f enough of the l i b e r a l sediment were b lasted away. E l i o t ' s assessment of the f igures of the past , e s p e c i a l l y those who were i d e o l o g i c a l l y i n f l u e n t i a l , was p rec i se l y determined by t he i r a t t i tudes towards, and the i r a c t i v i t i e s in savaging, the s u p e r f i c i a l encrustat ions of the Enlightenment 'm ind ' . Of those whose e f f o r t s in th i s regard were not up to the mark, he o f fe red only his unique form of d i sda in . To i l l u s t r a t e , I would l i k e to glance at E l i o t ' s most important essay on Matthew Arno ld , the one he c a l l ed "Franc is Herbert Bradley" : On the other hand, the Ethical studies [by Bradley] are not merely a demol i t ion of the U t i l i t a r i a n theory of conduct but an attack upon the whole U t i l i t a r i a n mind. For U t i l i t a r i a n i s m was, as every reader of Arnold knows, a great temple in P h i l i s t i a . And of th i s temple Arnold hacked at the ornaments and cast down the images, and his best phrases remain fo r ever g ib ing and sco ld ing in our memory. But Bradley, in his ph i losoph ica l c r i t i q u e of U t i l i t a r i a n i s m , undermined the foundat ions. {FLA 58-59) E l i o t c l e a r l y sees himself as cont inuing the more e f f e c t i v e t a c t i c s 105 of Bradley in the vast work that Arnold was not well enough equipped to carry on. E l i o t ' s i n te res t in Bradley, although st imulated by the importance of neo-Hegelian idea l ism in Anglo-American philosophy (Wollheim 1959: 18-19 and 1970: 169-193. See a lso Bolgan 1973: 110-115), very soon developed into a wider apprec ia t ion of the Oxford phi losopher as a cultural i n f l uence , an in f luence nonetheless deserving of the same not ice and stature as the bet ter known, but fuzzier-minded, V i c to r i an sages. Possessor of a more d i s t ingu ished i n t e l l e c t , of a more re f ined s e n s i b i l i t y , and of a more l u c i d and i n c i s i v e prose s t y l e than e i the r Arnold or Ruskin, Bradley came to represent fo r E l i o t the true res is tance to the swagger of "Whiggery" (SE 18). Not that Arnold or Ruskin did not a lso r e s i s t what they saw as the encroaching ma te r i a l i s t ' ba rba r i sm ' ; they d i d , and E l i o t acknowledges t he i r e f f o r t s , but they were e f f o r t s l a rge l y wasted, because done s u p e r f i c i a l l y from confused premises and assumptions. What was required was p rec i se l y Bradley 's attack on the " foundat ions . " The po in t , for example, was not to convince some convent iona l ly ra t iona l person that Darwinian evo lut ion was 'wrong ' , but that to believe it was the symptom of a deep-seated disease in the soc ia l system as a whole. The soc ia l semantics of E l i o t ' s tone, insc r ibed in the r e s t r i c t e d speech codes of the middle c lasses he normally addressed, ca r r i ed the top ic beyond the reach of mere debate. The intent was always, in the e a r l y , as in the l a t e , E l i o t , to penetrate below the conceptual currenc ies [SE 250 and see Eagleton 1983: 39-41): here i s "Dry Salvages" (1941) 106 It seems, as one becomes o l de r , That the past has another pa t te rn , and ceases to be a mere sequence--Or even development: the l a t t e r a pa r t i a l f a l l a c y Encouraged by s u p e r f i c i a l notions of e vo lu t i on , Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past. (CP 208) What are the social semantics of these l ines ? The tentat iveness of "It seems," the tone of th i s donnish f i l l e r funct ion ing as a s i g n , allows the convent iona l ly educated and convent iona l ly re f ined to recognized one of t he i r own, an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n re- inforced several times in the sequence. F i r s t , the sinewy conversat ional syntax i t s e l f underl ines the i d e n t i f i -c a t i on . Then the d i sp lay of convent iona l ly ra t iona l arguments gathers to a minor climax in the pre l iminary d ismissa l of "mere sequence"--a d i s im issa l no one with any pretensions to a soph is t i ca ted view of h i s to ry could poss ib l y cha l lenge. Our assent to i t--of course "the past" i s not "mere sequence"--prepares the reader fo r the more important d ismissa l that fo l l ows : "Or even development." But th i s i s c l e a r l y a more ser ious tack running dead against a l l the ' l i be ra l - roman t i c ' connections of th i s key word: ' o r g a n i c 1 , ' p r o g r e s s ' , 'growth' to higher forms of ex i s tence , the soc i a l value the middle c lass assigns to ' complexi ty ' in maturation (Thomson 1981: 51), are a l l brought into c r i s i s by E l i o t ' s sudden erasure of "development." But the assaul t is too po inted, the anxiety i t pro-vokes too a l i e n a t i n g ; the q u a l i f i c a t i o n that fol lows the colon softens the blow by ass igning the abuse of the notion of e vo lu t i on , a notion which has not been e x p l i c i t l y re jected ye t , to the "popular mind, " the codeword fo r the grasping i n t e l l e c t u a l asp i ra t ions of the s o c i a l l y i n f e r io r--D . E. M. Joad's mob. The soc ia l d istance which the phrase 107 " i n the popular mind" marks accomplishes the f i n a l disarming of the educated middle c lass reader the poem addresses. It i s the i n t e l l e c t u a l arrivistes, i t turns out , who wallow in " p a r t i a l " f a l l a c i e s and super-f i c i a l i t i e s , not our l o t . The key l i b e r a l notion of developmental evo lut ion has not r e a l l y been erased, but having i t comfortably ins ide one's head has now become imposs ib le . Hardly anything has been s a i d , but the e f f e c t s are memorable. The r e s t r i c t e d speech codes of the educated middle c lass here achieve the status of l y r i c song. The attack on the legacy of the l i b e r a l Enlightenment had to be engaged at the point of contact of d iscourse and experience. The speech habits an educated ' e l i t e ' had come to use to represent h i s t o r y , soc ia l 15 r e a l i t y , and ar t to i t s e l f had to be re-wr i t ten. In that opera t ion , perception and cogni t ion themselves become batt legrounds. The pr ize? Nothing less than the system of representing the r e a l i t y of concrete experience (and of course the representat ions themselves). E l i o t d id not write or ut ter a word at any stage of his l i f e about concrete ex-perience that wasn't f i n e l y tuned, e x p l i c i t l y or i m p l i c i t l y , to the words and texts that a lready lay on men's tongues to ho ld , de f i ne , charac ter ize that experience (cf . PP 22). It seemed impossible fo r him not to wr i t e , in Mikhai l Bakht in 's term, " d i a l o g i c a l l y " (Bakhtin 1929, 1973: 163-167), that i s , to a c t i v e l y modify the s t ruc tu r e , meaning, and use of an utterance in order to take account of the use of words in the utterances to which his i s a response, or in the use of words in responses yet to come, which his own utterance seeks to s o l i c i t . E l i o t never writes without the context and audience of his words f u l l y in view, a l t e r i ng and qua l i f y ing his poetry or prose in the l i g h t of probable reac t ions . 108 His text i s , wi th in such a d i a l o g i c a l p r a c t i c e , constant ly looking over i t s shoulder and ever sens i t i ve to the words of o thers . It is subject , in shor t , to incessant mod i f i ca t ion and adjustment. Used in th i s way, his work r e f l e c t s and e f f ec t s a p a r t i c u l a r set of s o c i o - h i s t o r i c a l r e l a t i onsh ips between wr i te r and reader with in language i t s e l f and can only be f u l l y understood when i t s funct ion ing wi th in the context of such re l a t i onsh ips is proper ly apprec ia ted. Thus, his work is not only absorbed by the ' d i r e c t treatment 1 or presentat ion of concrete exper ience, but a lso by the knowledge that i t i s always already enveloped in words and so already thoroughly insc r ibed with meaning to which any new c o n t r i -but ion must be pa t i en t l y and scrupulous ly adjusted. This accounts fo r the shaping of the piece of "Dry Salvages" analyzed above. There E l i o t i s wr i t ing fo r a member of his own soc ia l c l a s s , on whose d i r e c t i v e i n t e l l i g e n c e , or so the assumption goes, must rest the proper funct ion ing of the soc ia l system as a whole, although the voice in the poem knows th i s c lass has some bad ideas (about e vo lu t i on , for example) in i t s head, which, unless ex t i r pa t ed , w i l l hasten the dec l ine of the c lass from within {idea 1939: 7-24, 25). The world the young E l i o t l i v ed i n , as Lyndall Gordon has ins t ruc ted us in d e t a i l , was thoroughly upper middle c lass in the t r a d i t i o n of the New England Brahminate. He learned e a r l y , as d id 'Miss Helen S l i n g s b y 1 , the "secret codes" of his m i l i eu (1977: 18). But as Gordon shows, his a t t i tude towards th i s mi l ieu was ambivalent. He both enjoyed the benef i ts such a world had to o f f e r him--a Harvard educat ion , study abroad, etc.--and he loathed them. Enough at l eas t to grasp any excuse not to return to i t when he got away to Europe and England in 1914. 109 There he sk i r t ed the London bohemia, s e t t l i n g fo r a time in 'Bloomsbury' , before h is changing r e l i g i o u s s e n s i b i l i t i e s moved towards s o c i a l l y more centra l a f f i l i a t i o n s . His connection with Faber 's gave him that i n s t i -tu t iona l substance that must have been the norm to which he had been bred among the inst i tut ion-bui Id ing-and-mainta in ing E l i o t s back home. Indeed, there was a rough equivalence between E l i o t ' s soc ia l des t ina t ion in England and his soc ia l o r i g ins in America. However, he experienced th i s cross A t l a n t i c t r ans l a t i on not as a hor izonta l movement so much as a v e r t i c a l one. He did not go from one f u l l y achieved cu l ture to another, subs t i tu t ing one fo r the other . His experience of immigration from America to England was keyed by his sense of America as "a fami ly exten-s i on " of England (Gordon 1977: 14), so that his immigration was a move-ment from the per ipher ies of a cu l ture back to i t s cent re , from the surface to the deep s t ruc tu re . From th i s view of i t s o r i g i n s , America had come into being as the consequence of a number of generative transformations in England in the seventeenth century. In i s o l a t i o n , i t had erected a sor t of cu l ture on the leas t promising fragments of Engl ish soc ia l and r e l i g i o u s l i f e in the seventeenth century; the emigres were people who could not stomach or survive the p o l i t i c a l and soc i a l settlements in England of the l a t t e r part of the century. These fragments, whose a f f e c t i v e l i f e was determined by i t s genesis in oppos i t ion to the es tab l i shed con t i nu i t i e s of Engl ish royal ism, a lso turned out to be the most open to Enlightenment ideas in the eighteenth century , in which the h inter land f i n a l l y glimpsed an acceptable future f o r i t s e l f . As an Enlightenment extension of E u r o p e , h a v i n g never l o s t i t s sense of i n f e r i o r i t y to the 110 source c u l t u r e , American soc ia l l i f e s t i f f ened in i n s t i t u t i o n a l ro les and behaviour cut to a pattern invented in the Home Count ies . Upper middle c lass soc i a l l i f e in nineteenth-century America, in i t s manners, i t s d ress , i t s physical and psychologica l decor , bore the same r e l a t i on to the Home County template as does. Ross in i ' s Gugiieimo Tell to t r ans -a lp ine p o l i t i c a l h i s to r y . Indeed, i f E l i o t ' s New England poems, those in the Prufrock volume, are any i nd i ca t i on of the texture and densi ty of l i f e in his c l a s s , he experienced i t as i f i t were the p rov inc ia l vers ion of a s l i g h t l y out of date tragicomic opera come down from the cap i ta l fo r a short run , a production f u l l of mechanical armwaving, conventional vocal ornaments, and a rather limp l i b r e t t o : You w i l l see me any morning in the park Reading the comics and the sport ing page. P a r t i c u l a r l y I remark An Engl ish countess goes upon the stage. A Greek was murdered at a Po l i sh dance, Another bank de fau l te r has confessed. I keep my countenance, I remain se l f-possessed Except when a s t ree t-p iano , mechanical and t i r e d Rei terates some worn-out common song ( " Por t ra i t of a Lady," CP 20) Quotidian bana l i t y r i ses to i t s lame crescendos in the conventional hys ter i cs of melodrama: Clasp your f lowers to you with a pained s u r p r i s e -M i n g them to the ground and turn With a f u g i t i v e resentment in your eyes: ("La F i g l i a Che P iange," CP 36) It is no surpr i se that an American wr i te r l i k e Wi l l iam Carlos Wi l l i ams, whose commitment to a c u l t u r a l l y autonomous America reached I l l the l e v e l , a lmost, of a r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , could not stomach the v i s i on of a c lums i l y and embarrassingly de r i va t i ve American soc ia l e l i t e to be found in the Prufrock volume, a v i s i on l imply and sa rdon i ca l l y to ld by one of i t s more p r i v i l eged sons.* ' 7 E l i o t , in his t u rn , was never to not ice such things in the upper middle c lass mi l i eu to and fo r whom he was dest ined to speak from the v i c i n i t y of the Gloucester Road tube s t a t i o n ; from there , his eye, famous fo r acute observat ion of the s ing le p lac ing d e t a i l , f e l l rather on the metegues (Gross 1972: 144), Eastern European Jews, the L ibera l arrivistes, and pushy petit bourgeois house agents' c l e r k s . For his B r i t i s h audiences, his enactment of what he experienced as the inner l i f e of t he i r American counterparts must have only confirmed and s a t i s f i e d the complacent B r i t i s h cl iche's about the 'make bel ieve England' ra ised precar ious ly on the banks of the Char les . Cha rac t e r i s t i c of his soc ia l experience in the New England of his 18 student days i s "Mr. A p p l l i n a x . " This i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y important poem as i t places 'England' and 'New England' s ide by s ide . "Mr. Apo l l i nax " i s convent iona l ly read as E l i o t ' s response to the v i s i t of Bertrand Russel l to Harvard in ea r l y 1914. The r e l a t i on between the " i r r e spons ib l e foetus" (Apol l inax) and Boston g e n t i l i t y , among whom A p o l l i n a x ' s "centaur ' s hoofs" beat "over the hard t u r f , " i s sharply de l inea ted . Russel l is " l augh te r , " a blend of " F r a g i l i o n " and " P r i apus , " "submarine and profound," "the o ld man of the sea . . . Hidden under coral i s l a n d s , " a head "gr inn ing over a screen / With seaweed in i t s h a i r . " He i s a mecurial f i g u r e , p h y s i c a l l y , i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , to be experienced in a l l the sudden and de l i gh t fu l aspects his capacious and capr i c ious wit showers on his s t a r t l ed hosts. He embodies an energy only metaphor can hope to 112 enc lose , as he beats round the shrubbery and the teacups, provoking in the anxious "Mrs. Phlaccus" and the uncomprehending "Professor and Mrs. Cheetah" po l i t e r e t r ea t s . The conception of the ' rea l t h i ng ' in terms of myth i s a lso i n te res t ing as i t an t i c ipa tes the attempted in tegra t ion of symbolic t o t a l i t i e s in The waste Land. But, fo r the time be ing, myth here funct ions s o c i a l l y , not ep i s temo log i ca l l y . It provides an absolute re ference , both ra t iona l and rapturous, Apol lonian and Dionys ian, to be juxtaposed—with humour and with more than a l i t t l e s a t i s f i e d d i s d a i n -to the appal led smiles of the Cambridge marionettes. If the abounding energy of ' Apo l l i n ax ' can only be enclosed by the play of metaphor, that associates him with an authent ic p ro fund i ty , i n t e l l e c t u a l and mythic , his e laborate and alarmed hosts are contained metonymical ly, in the minor props of t he i r wor ld: such things as "a s l i c e of lemon," "a b i t t en macaroon," and the b r i t t l e t a l k : ' "He is a charming man' . . . . 'There was something he said that I might have c h a l l e n g e d . ' " While his "dry and passionate t a l k " devours the a f ternoon, the sere , oppressive soc ia l mi l ieu answers only with incomprehension and impotence. The dead husks of conversat ion at the end of the poem do not simply r eg i s t e r fear and d i s l i k e of " A p o l l i n a x , " but express in the r e s t r i c t e d speech code of t h i s c lass the soc ia l a f f i rmat ions and s o l i d a r i t y of a c losed group, 19 putt ing ar ight t h e i r l i t t l e world recent ly v io l a t ed and bru i sed . Of course, E l i o t ' s loath ing of the Cambridge ethos passed with t ime; he grew indulgent , even f a i n t l y fond. When he had thoroughly immersed himself in the new element and celebrated his re-connection with the Engl ish E lyots in "East Coker , " he l a i d to rest the American ghosts in "Dry Sa lvages. " 113 When from the 1940s he looked back to the New England of his youth, he no longer heard the edgy voices of October evenings: '"I have been wondering f requent ly of la te . . . ' " ( " Por t ra i t of a Lady," CP 21). He r e ca l l ed instead " d i f f e r e n t voices / Often together heard" : the whine in the r i g g i n g , The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water, The d i s t an t rote in the gran i te t ee th , And the wa i l ing warning from the approaching headland ("Dry Sa lvages, " CP 206) And, of course, d i f f e r e n t people came to mind: "anxious worried women / Lying awake," but not because they are alarmed at some gaffe in e t i que t t e , but because t h e i r men are " a l l those who are in sh ips , those / Whose business has to do with f i s h " (CP .211 ) . Of course, even in his youth he had known these "f ishmen" (r^e waste Land, CP 73), but only as s o c i a l l y d i s t an t characters beyond the wa l l s . When he did turn to them in the ear l y poetry , he i dea l i zed them, as in "The F i re Sermon" (CP 73) under the wal ls of Magnus Martyr , or more extens ive ly in the re jected longer vers ion of "Death by Water" in the Va le r i e E l i o t manuscript (Facsimile 1971). There the long sect ion on.the storm at sea is an awkward mixture of the se l f -consc ious l y fo lksy ("Marm Brown's j o i n t " ) and the se l f -consc ious l y l i t e ra ry-myth ic ("A t r i t o n rang.the f i n a l warning b e l l " [1971: 55-69]). In the 1940s the mannered observers of soc ia l boundaries had f i n a l l y melted away into the h i s t o r i c a l ob l i v i on that had devoured t he i r c a r e f u l l y ranked, ca tegor ized , and separated world. It was not that wor ld 's ranks, ca tegor i es , and separat ions E l i o t r e j ec ted . P ruf rock 's i s not the voice of the romantic hero who can 114 strenuously devote h imse l f , without hope of s a t i s f a c t i o n , to the pursu i t of an end that always eludes him, of an end, a f te r the ba r r i e r s f a l l , towards which des i re t u m u l t o u s l y and t r a g i c a l l y pours. The meaning of such gestures i s in the actual breach of the boundary. In "The Love Song of J . A l f r ed Prufrock" the f lood of des i re simply breaks and d isso lves at the foot o f the w a l l . But the soc ia l and emotional wal ls that d iv ide the Prufrock world seem to have no h i s t o r i c a l author i ty (Douglas 1973: 15). They enclose a world where ce r ta in conventions are observed ("And how should I presume?") but where other c ruc ia l ones (Michelangelo as the subject of salon ch i t-chat ) are not. It is a world whose l i v ed dens i t y , i t s s o c i a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t inner s t ruc tu re , i t s t yp i ca l r o l e s , vo i ces , and d i sc r imina t ions seem the product of an u l t i -mately mot i ve less , perhaps even mal ign, capr i ce . And fo r a young man who was about to announce to the Harvard department of philosophy that his "p rac t i ca l metaphysic" impelled him "toward the Abso lu te , " th i s world would not do {KE 1915, 1964: 169). In Boston E l i o t was on the edge, where the cen t r i fuga l force of the source cu l ture was weak and f l a c c i d . At best , l i f e there was a mime-show; 21 i t was l i f e at a d is tance . In London he was at the centre . But l i f e here had had i t s ' n a tu ra l ' ranks, ca tegor i es , soc ia l boundaries obscured by a century of l i b e r a l i s m , the s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l text of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The upper middle c lass e l i t e in whose stewardship the d i s c r im ina t i ve de l i cacy of a soc ia l system la rge ly l a y , or so E l i o t thought {idea 1939: 26-28, 35-43), had had i t s deeper, ' n a t u r a l ' r a t i o -n a l i t i e s co l l apse . The texts of th i s 'more profound r a t i o n a l i t y ' were the soc ia l texts of an es tab l i shed national church, h ie rarchy , au thor i t y , 115 paternal ism (Kojecky 1971: 126-141, but c f . Harr ison 1967: 152-160). The boundaries and d i v i s i ons of soc ie ty are maintained symbo l i ca l l y ; in his reading of Durkheim, F razer , and Har r i son , E l i o t would have learned that the o r i g i n of t h i s soc ia l segmentation i s always r e l i g i o u s . The attempted in tegra t i ve funct ion of the 'mythic framework' of The waste Land (1922) has i t s o r i g i ns in th i s percept ion. In f a c t , I would go so fa r as to say that E l i o t ' s reading in the anthropologists of his student days was u l t imate ly much more important than his ph i losophica l t r a i n i n g . Philosophy c l e a r l y had an ear l y i n f l uence , but i t was the texts of the anthropologists that had the more profound e f f e c t throughout his l i f e , an e f f e c t that can be seen even in his la te Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948). What these ear l y anthropologis ts taught about the soc ia l organism was not to look so much to the thematics of the way a soc ie ty represents i t s e l f in i t s most elaborated form, but to read i t s symbolic representa -t ions as a kind of machinery f o r maintaining i t s soc ia l s t ructure at the microcosmie l e v e l . E l i o t a lso took in the lesson that the soc ia l seg-mentation of space and time o r ig ina ted in re l ig io-myth ic consciousness. For him a soc ie ty that c lean ly r e f l e c t ed the sacred o r ig ins of i t s d i v i s i ons was in a heal thy, ' n a t u r a l ' s ta te . The l ibera l-democrat ic notion that the erected s t ructure of a soc ie ty came as a consequence of an o r i g ina l ' soc i a l con t rac t 1 was fo r E l i o t simply a pervers ion of 23 the o r i g i n . Modern s t ruc tura l anthropology has taught us of course "that a l l boundaries are artificial i n te r rupt ions to what i s na tu ra l l y continuous" (Leach 1976: 34). The boundaries zone soc ia l space both ho r i zon t a l l y 116 and v e r t i c a l l y . At the not ional l e v e l , to move from one zone to another is simply to switch ca tegor i es ; marriage is an example of such a re-ca tegor i za t i on . But at the leve l of soc ia l ac t ion zone-switching i s the focus of considerable soc i a l a t t en t i on , e i the r in terms of s o c i a l l y regulated r i t u a l s of t r a n s i t i o n s , fo r example, r i t e s of i n i t i a t i o n , wedding ceremonies, funeral r i t e s , e t c . , or in terms of unregulated zone-swi tch ing, which chal lenges and undermines the e f f i c a c y of the t r ad i t i ona l zoning. The number and kind of such d i v i s i ons are immense fo r any one soc ia l system. Segmentation of soc ia l space occurs at the macro leve l in such soc ia l i n s t i t u t i o n s as property ownership and the c a r e f u l l y marked and regulated borders of the national s ta te . But the f u l l y a r t i c -ulated s t ructure d i s t ingu ishes and d iv ides at the micro leve l in much greater dens i ty . In th i s way we can " d i s t i ngu i sh domesticated areas from wi ld areas, town from country , sacred prec inc ts from secular dwe l l ings , and so on" (Leach 1976: 34). Time also is segmented in s im i l a r ways and the same p r i n c i p l e holds fo r psychologica l and e th i ca l space. This densely a r t i cu l a t ed s t ructure i s ac tua l i zed and maintained symbol ica l l y in the r e a l i t y of everyday l i f e . The most important s ign-system in th i s operat ion i s language. Language both codes the soc ia l boundaries with meaning and helps us ' r e t r i e v e ' meaning; i t ' r e t r i e v e s ' meaning in one of two ways: (a) in a r e s t r i c t e d speech code that simply operates the meaning potent ia l of the soc ia l zones, the borders and the c ross i ngs , and (b) in an elaborated speech code that makes e x p l i c i t , no t i ona l l y or metaphor ica l l y , the s t ructure of the meaning potent ia l r e a l i z ed in ac t ion (Ha l l iday 1978: 108-126). Thus the bounding of soc ia l and psychologica l space impl ies a se r ies of metaphoric equivalences which 117 allow us to re t r i eve meaning in elaborated form: normal/abnormal; time/ e t e r n i t y ; c lear-cut categories/ambiguous ca tegor ies ; per iphery/centre ; secu la r/sacred ; n a t u r a l / a r t i f i c i a l ; h ea l t h y/ i l l and so on (Leach 1976: 35). Although language ac tua l i zes and maintains the meaning potent ia l of the soc ia l s t ruc tu re , i t can a lso d is rupt and change the inher i ted 24 d i s c r im ina t i ons . E l i o t ' s great ins igh t in the face of these two fac ts was a d i a l e c t i c a l one; i f language could d is rupt what language had once sus ta ined , then language could d is rupt the d i s rupture . It i s th i s sharply focussed sense of the soc i a l funct ion of language that accounts fo r the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y d i a l og i c a l openings of many of his l i t e r a r y essays, namely t he i r concern to foreground the semantic obscur i ty into which the vocabulary of c r i t i c i s m had f a l l e n in his t ime: In Engl ish wr i t ing we seldom speak of t r a d i t i o n , though we occas iona l l y apply i t s name in deplor ing i t s absence. We cannot re fe r to "the t r a d i t i o n " or to "a t r a d i t i o n " ; at most, we employ the adjec -t i v e in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is " t r a d i t i o n a l " or even "too t r a d i t i o n a l . " Seldom, perhaps, does the word appear except in a phrase of censure. If otherwise, i t i s vaguely approba-t i v e , with the i m p l i c a t i o n , as to the work approved, of some pleas ing archaeologica l r econs t ruc t ion . You can hardly make the word agreeable to Engl ish ears without th i s comfortable reference to the reassur ing science of archaeology. {sw 47) This paragraph not only examines a word's d e f i n i t i o n , but conveys how that word is normally used and, thus, makes us aware of the small fragment of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e which the word occupies . The in tent i s not simply to c l a r i f y , d i s i n t e r e s t e d l y , the meaning of the term, but to transform that b i t of the mental l i f e of soc i e t y . C l ea r l y the paragraph on " t r a d i t i o n " foregrounds the connotative t i ssue which 118 connects the content to the soc ia l space i t segments, where i t serves a va r ie ty of purposes. It i s one small example of the way segmentation of soc ia l space i s coded in the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e . The examination of the word in j u s t th i s way invokes, as a strong subtext , the presence of a small part of that densely a r t i cu l a t ed s t ructure in which a l l who belong to a soc ie ty pa r t i c i pa t e and which i s ac tua l i zed through the operat ion of language in everyday l i f e . The poems Of E l i o t ' s Prufrock and Other Observations and the fo l lowing Poems 1920 funct ion p rec i se l y in th i s way. They do not rest u n c r i t i c a l l y wi th in ah es tab l i shed set of soc ia l and aesthet i c norms. The poems do not innocent ly reproduce concrete exper ience. They f o r e -ground the powerful ly determinative substrata of convent iona l ized meanings, customs, b e l i e f s , ideas of beauty, manners, sounds, and the l i k e in order to chal lenge and change them. This fo r me i s c l e a r l y the thrust of "Prufrock" and what ra i ses that poem fa r above the leve l of a mi ld l y i n t e r e s t i n g , but u l t imate l y f o rge t t ab l e , v ignette of t yp i ca l middle c lass anx i e t i e s . The anx ie t i es are there , but they are there in order to foreground and destroy the t r a d i t i o n a l l i t e r a r y and a f f e c t i v e system of represent ing them, a system romantic in aes the t i c s , comfortably subject ive in out look, that has drained l i f e , E l i o t imp l i e s , of i t s courage, i n t e l l i g e n c e , and t as te . The importance of " Po r t r a i t of a Lady" in the same volume and of a poem l i k e "Geront ion" in Poems 1920 l i e s wi th in the scope of the same purpose. Aga in , in " Po r t r a i t of a Lady," a poetry is made by the avoidance of poetry , or more p rec i se l y by the i r o n i c foregrounding of a l l the mater ia ls of poetry in the immediate la te romantic context , here for the 119 purpose of unve i l ing the psychologica l d i sas te r into which romantic a t t i tudes towards love have driven the bourgeois ie . And th i s i r on i c foregrounding is unre lent ing . It pervades, f o r example, the rhythmic shaping of the l i nes and makes the p o s s i b i l i t y of an innocent and con-ven t iona l l y ' b e a u t i f u l ' music imposs ib le . -- And so the conversat ion s l i p s Among v e l l e i t i e s and c a r e f u l l y caught regrets Through attenuated tones of v i o l i n s Mingled with remote cornets And begins. (CP 18) The rhythmic e f f e c t of the fourth l i n e is se l f -consc ious l y subsumed in the wider i rony , and thus a poss ib ly beaut i fu l l i n e is transformed so that we hear the e f f e c t i t s e l f as a s i g n , E l i o t w i l l have i t , of a ce r ta in kind of commonplace poe t i c i z i ng t yp i ca l of a debased romanticism, which only an ear coarsened by such an aesthet ics could s t i l l f i nd ' b e a u t i f u l ' or 'charming' and not d iscern the ru in of the l i n e ' s beauty in the i n c o r r i g i b l y pervasive bana l i t y (c f . "A New Byronism" 1920: 184). By r a i s i ng i t s own often master fu l l y constructed e f f e c t s as a s ign of a debased l i t e r a r i n e s s , the poem is able to focus more c l e a r l y and more devastat ing ly the e t i o l a t ed and disembodied character of the personal r e l a t i onsh ip i t enacts. The epigraph from Webster with i t s evocation of B i b l i c a l ethics--"Thou hast committed--" and the brutal candour of the fo l lowing word, accentuated by the pause--"Fornicat ion . . . " (CP 18) contrasts the " v e l l e i t i e s " of a submerged e ro t i c i sm that cannot f i nd any poss ib le outward express ion , except in obl ique and def lec ted forms, i n , as i t were, symbolic coup l ings , l i k e " f r i e n d s h i p s . " 120 'You do not know how much they mean to me, my f r i e n d s , And how, how rare and strange i t i s , to f i nd In a l i f e composed so much, so much of odds and ends, (For indeed I do not love i t . . . y o u knew? you are not b l i n d ! How keen you are! ) To f i nd a f r i end who has these q u a l i t i e s , Who has, and gives Those q u a l i t i e s upon which f r i endsh ip l i v e s . {CP 18-19) Here i s the c a r e f u l l y ca l cu la ted speech of the bourgeois salon (Kenner 1966: 22) , f o rmu la i ca l l y s i n ce r e , a l e r t a lso to a l l the subt le sh i f t s of f e e l i ng which the words cue and shape, s i l e n t l y conveying an unspeakable d u p l i c i t y at work of which the male persona i s only obscurely aware. The tenta t i ve and precar ious movement of the woman's conversat ion proceeds by repetit ions-, i n t e r rup t i ons , q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , and an exact ing syntax, a l l of which are the signs she o f f e r s of "a l i f e composed so much," but not , as she says , of "odds and ends. " This t a c t i c a l evocation of a d i s t r ac ted spontaneity v e i l s the actual sever i t y of the composi t ion, subcutaneously s igna l l ed in the exact a f f e c t i v e shaping of the syntax--"To f i nd a f r i end who has these q u a l i t i e s , / Who has, and gives / Those q u a l i t i e s . . ."--the phrase "and g ives " here catching up the merest ghost of a poss ib l y concrete demand, to be immediately d isso lved in the genera l i t y that fo l lows . Design has become the hidden o r i g i n of authen-t i c i t y . We return to the epigraph from th i s l i k e a drowning man. Among the windings of these v i o l i n s a l l that seems s o l i d one moment in the next melts into. a i r . The memorableness of th i s process , however, is impossible without the value personal au then t i c i t y and candour acquire as the a f f e c -t i ve medium of intimacy at the beginning of the bourgeois century ( T r i l l i n g 1972, but c f . Adorno 1964, 1973: 122-130). Of course, what the poem does is unmask the subt le and de l i ca te she l l game that under l ies 121 the genuine. In the distance between the B ib l i c a l -E l i zabe than candour of " Fo rn i c a t i on " and the 'candour' of the love a f f a i r which the poem enacts l i e s a l l the transformat ive force of the poem. C l ea r l y the blunt tone of the epigraph funct ions as the measure against which the f a l se notes of the poem are s e t , a d i f f e rence which speaks to an audience tha t , E l i o t presumes, w i l l recognize and accept , within the province of the common i n t u i t i v e l i f e of the bourgeo is ie , the greater e f f i c a c y of the ep igraph 's tone as a sign of a more genuine candour, a more genuine soc ia l speech, and a more musical poet ic speech, than the dess icated husks that are the signs of an exhausted romanticism (Eagleton 1970: 146). What the poem makes v i s i b l e are the codings of the soc ia l boundaries; the experiences enact a t yp i f y i ng soc ia l drama that 'makes strange ' r i t u -a l i z e d bourgeois soc ia l r e l a t i o n s . The i n e r t i a l drag of the r i t u a l , a weight that progress ive ly paralyzes the male speaker, provides a base l ine for the play of an ambiguous e ro t i c i sm which the woman commands. These soc ia l r i t u a l s and boundaries become the occasion fo r the provocation of d e s i r e , rather than funct ion ing as both the guarantors of the meaning of human acts in terms of a non-human absolute s i g n i f i e d , and the h i s t o r i c a l referents of that absolute s i g n i f i e d . This ambiguous e ro t i c i sm comes to l i f e when the woman's t a l k , or the man's, seems to threaten t ransgress ion of these boundaries, in what amounts t o , for th i s context at l e a s t , a r i sky t es t ing of the tolerances between the pressure of a poss ib l y anarchic des i re and the always coy ly deferred promise of i t s concrete f u l f i l l m e n t in some ac tua l l y genuine human contact . E l i o t ' s epigraph cuts through these tangles l i k e a c lean wire . The voice in the epigraph mobi l izes the a t t i tude we are being asked to take towards the represented 122 events. In i t s B i b l i c a l and E l izabethan evocations i t a lso serves to ' l o ca t e ' h i s t o r i c a l l y the poem's enactments, to remind us, in shor t , of that pre-Enlightenment world in which the codes, which regulate and make sense of conduct, were not assumed to be a rb i t r a r y or cont ingent . With t he i r B i b l i c a l and r e l i g i o u s o r i g i ns obscured, these codes are now only devices fo r the a r t i f i c i a l s t imula t ion of d e s i r e , and, worse, the poem suggests, not even fo r the purpose of i t s f i n a l f u l f i l l m e n t , but fo r the purpose of observing i t s disembodied motions. This drawing room pornog-raphy is d e c i s i v e l y rebuked by an e a r l i e r form of moral l i f e fo r which the tone of the epigraph serves as metonymic s i g n . Later in E l i o t ' s developing c r i t i q u e of bourgeois forms of l i f e we sha l l see him assign the major blame fo r t h i s state of a f f a i r s to Enlightenment thought. The consequences of the loca t ion of a new absolute s i g n i f i e d in h i s to ry and the Enlightenment notion of a se l f - sus ta in ing human Reason as the qu in -tessence of a s p e c i f i c a l l y human form of Being are taken up in one of E l i o t ' s greatest l y r i c s , "Geront ion" (1920). C r i t i c i s m has loquac ious ly paraphrased and debated the issues which the poem r a i s e s . H i s to ry , uprooted from the s o i l of a d iv ine telos, becomes a l aby r in th of b l ind c o r r i d o r s , a wi lderness of mirrors leading to human f u t i l i t y , van i t y , and moral pa ra l ys i s (Smith 1974: 61; Rajan 1976: 10). Socia l l i f e cut o f f from a transcendental s i g n i f i e d as foundation and guarantor of the everyday i s emptied of s i g n i f i c a n c e . There i s no overwhelming ev idence, however, to suggest that the poem exac t l y reverses the sacramental meanings which E l i o t saw as underly ing a l l exper ience. The gestur ing of the four character-types near the beginning of the poem does not add up to the f u r t i v e ce lebra t ion of a 123 Black Mass, as Hugh Kenner t en t a t i v e l y suggests (1966: 112-113). The names are " e e r i l y suggest i ve , " but they are suggestive metonymically of a deracinated and id l e in te rnat iona l bourgeo is ie . The passage doesn ' t r e a l l y convey "some r i t e , not innocent" (Kenner 1966: 112) which seems to unite them. At l eas t i f they were united in such a " r i t e " i t would imply the motivated negation of a s t i l l v i t a l sacramenta l i ty . Such an intent led E l i o t to pra ise Baudelaire in his famous essay (1931) on his French precursor . C l e a r l y , Mr. S i l ve ro and the others are not extended the same kind of p ra i se . As in " Po r t r a i t of a Lady," the soc ia l ce re -monies and boundaries of a sacramental ized cosmos ("the word with in a word," CP 39) lose t he i r meaning in a world in which the absolute or transcendental s i g n i f i e d has been re located wi th in h i s to r y . The real "moral s u i c i d e " (Kenner 1966: 113) of these character-types i s ne i ther t he i r ac t ive e v i l , nor t he i r acedia, but a corrupted r e l a t i onsh ip to the objects and r i t u a l s and d i s c re t i ons of a sacramental ized conception of. cosmic and soc ia l r e a l i t y . These ob jec ts , ceremonies, d i s c re t i ons are not the object ive co r r e l a t i v e s of f e e l i n g , the processes that culminate and g r a t i f y des i r e . They are handled, as in " Po r t r a i t of a Lady," as the props fo r i t s a r t i f i c i a l s t imu l a t i on , f o r the se l f-contemplat ion of one's own des i re rather than i t s e f f e c t i v e discharge in the achieved unity of human subject and God, s i g n i f i e d through a r i t u a l observance that connects the two. Thus, a l l that can be va l idated by "Ch r i s t the t i g e r " being " ea ten , " " d i v i d e d , " and "drunk" becomes the occas ion , i n s t ead , fo r the obscene s t imula t ion of aesthetes (Mr. S i l v e r o ) , denatured cosmopolites (Hakagawa), the p ro f e s s i ona l l y supers t i t i ous (Madame de To rnqu i s t ) , and the fashionably neurot ic (F rau le in von Kulp) . The t r a d i t i o n a l ' s i g n s ' 124 of the presence of the absolute as the target and s a t i s f a c t i o n of des i re now convey not i t s presence, but i t s absence. "Signs are taken fo r wonders" s t i l l , but the sentence has acquired a new and corrupted sense. These " s igns " have become the media of a l i m i t l e s s na r c i s s i sm, not the guarantors of the presence of a higher r e a l i t y . The " s i gns " through which one once caught glimpses of God now f e t i s h i s t i c a l l y render the ghost ly bodies of ungra t i f i ed des i r e . That is why, as Kenner notes, the syntax obscures whether Mr. S i l v e r o ' s hands are caress ing something, or are simply hands of a caress ing kind (1966: 112). The poem has usua l l y been celebrated fo r i t s e th i ca l daring and the suppleness and muscular i ty of i t s phras ing; but i t s real force l i e s in the i m p l i c i t recogni t ions the bourgeois reader makes of where the poem's voice locates i t s e th i ca l substance along the exper ien t i a l continuum s p e c i f i c to that c l a s s . I am speaking, of course, of the poem's vo i ce , not simply the voice of the character-type whose t o n a l i t i e s the voice of the poem enacts . It i s t h i s more i nc lus i ve voice that is d i a l o g i c a l . Ever sens i t i ve to the i n t u i t i v e l i f e of the bourgeois reader, "Geront ion" s i tuates the e th i ca l centre of that l i f e not in the f l i g h t towards a renewal of human s u b j e c t i v i t y , but in the f l i g h t away from i t . The sub-j e c t i v e as e th i ca l cent re , through the growing inf luence of the moral r e l a t i v i sm i t imp l i e s , eventual ly co l lapses in n a r c i s s i s t i c p romiscu i t i e s . The voice of "Geront ion" i s located on the journey back towards the d i s c i p l i n e s of b e l i e f , " a f t e r such knowledge." Its asser t ions gain t he i r t ransformative author i ty not from the f a m i l i a r C h r i s t i a n i t y they recommend, but