Too Tired to Go to Bed

And I am troubled by things.

1.  Is the dog cleaner than she was this morning?  So, the Butcher cleaned the whole house and the dog?  I know I shouldn’t admit this out loud, but shit, if I actually had the money to support both of us, I could happily go to work and pay for everything in exchange for a clean house.  Anybody with a trust fund want to be my wife?  I would be an awesome husband.  I can burp and fart with the best of them.  And unlike many traditional husbands, I don’t have a hairy ass.  And I like to talk about things.  And I would totally understand why Susan wearing the green dress to church upset you, even though I would not, of course, go to church.

2.  We have a tiny reversed crop circle in the back yard.  All the grass around it has been mowed, but a perfect circle of tall grass and clover is sitting in the middle of the near back yard.  I know aliens leave regular crop circles.  Do the people that live in the center of the earth leave the reversed ones?

3.  Can a modernist poet be a plagiarist or does the fact that he’s a modernist protect Eliot by reframing him as a contextualist?  Can a modernist poet plagiarize?  I’m not sure?

9 thoughts on “Too Tired to Go to Bed

  1. We’re not saying that King wasn’t an incredible person who did more to advance the human race than most of us can ever hope to do. We’re just saying that he was also a plagiarizing butthole.


  2. Pretty much the entirety of modernism (especially some of the bits and pieces that comprise it, like Futurism and Cubism and so forth) was built on plagiarism… or at the very least, appropriation. Tons of art from the period mimicked “primitive” artwork: famous example. This is also the period that gives you readymades. HD warn’t no famous poet, but her major work was translation of Sappho’s fragments. And many of the modernist poets and artists were hanging out and sleeping together anyhow, so you do see a lot of overlap and response to and re-imagination of each others work.

    That said, this article seems to misunderstand what plagiarism means. The Waste Land is indeed built up out of a lot of other peoples’ poems, but most of them are cited by Eliot – reading his footnotes is part of the poem. Poets in general – not just Eliot, though he does it frequently and noticably – tend to layer other works into their own writing; Shakespeare and the Bible are frequently embedded (repurposed, maybe) into our language, sometimes for irony, sometimes just because those works are so much in the public consciousness (some critics call this “cultural capital”). And, yeah, Eliot was a mastercraftsman of repurposing and re-imagining. It’s important that we understanding his uncited appropriation of contemporary poets as problematic, and it’s important (in my mind) to break down the notion of genius that motivated many of the modernist men and keeps them in the hall of fame over other poets who are not male and not white… but it’s also important to recognize what’s interesting and beautiful about what Eliot wrote.
    Crotchety old man that he was.
    /modernist scholar

  3. I’m no big fan of Eliot, but that site completely misunderstands what he was doing in “The Waste Land.” And tanglethis’s reference to HD reminds me of the great Roman poet Catullus, who put out Latin versions of Sappho’s poems and claimed them as his own.

  4. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve bought into what Eliot does hook line and sinker. But I don’t know anything about this other Waste Land and wonder about that accusation.

  5. I didn’t know anything about the other waste land either – which I find very odd, since one of my profs is a pretty prominent modernist scholar. So I tried to dig around a little – speaking of plagiarism, that cracked article didn’t cite its sources – and I only found one reference to Madison Cawein in the library database. It’s the article described on this webpage. The webpage quotes the article author: “Scott maintains that Cawein’s now little known work ‘seems to have provided the emotional geography on which Eliot’s poem, its effect and much of his fame are based.'”

    Emotional geography? That sounds a little more like cultural capital than plagiarism. And if the title is the issue, then the complaint ought to be directed to Ezra Pound – prior to his revisions, the poem was called “He do the police in different voices.”

    I’m not ruling straight-up plagiarism out, I just need to see a better case is all I’m saying.
    And now back to my regularly scheduled research.

  6. Oh, please. If the relationship between that and Eliot is plagiarism, then what do we call Cawein’s relationship to Parzifal?

  7. Yep, clearly. I also read one of the TSL articles about it that tried to claim that Cawein starting lines one, four and 14 (I could be off) of a poem with “Let us” and Eliot starting lines 1, 4, and 14 of Prufrock with “Let us…” was proof of plagiarism.

    I would tend to disagree.

  8. Oh, please. If the relationship between that and Eliot is plagiarism, then what do we call Cawein’s relationship to Parzifal?

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