the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

gluck on tennyson’s “the love song of j. alfred prufrock”

Posted by rigorousm on November 20, 2014

“Presume” is Prufrock’s motif, with its suggestion of social error, of brute, clumsy will imposing itself. To venture, to dare, to take liberties. And, as well, to take on faith. To begin, you must believe in a future; motion enacts that belief. Prufrock stands to one side, out of the way of savage time, but changed anyway. The poem is all wringing of hands, its rhymes regularly sealing off options. Prufrock, in being motionless, does his best imittation of being inert: “… that which is only living/ Can only die.”

Eliot has written the masterpiece of avoidance.

– Louise Gluck, “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence,” Proofs and Theories: essays on poetry, p 84.


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