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T. S. Eliot;Eliot’s French poems;The Cocktail Party;The Rock;The Elder Statesman;the Stranger/the Foreigner/the Other;the canny and the uncanny;being-at-home and not-being-at-home;hospitality/inhospitality/hostility;culture and desire.
|Issue Date:||2018-08-27 17:23:53 (UTC+8)|
This is a three-year project which aims to explore Eliot's reconceptualization of the Stranger embroiled in debates about emplacement and displacement, the canny and the uncanny, being-at-home and not-being-at-home, hospitality and inhospitality and hostility, host and guest. The figure of the Stranger bespeaks a liminal experience for the Self to identify itself over and against the Other. I propose Eliot expounds his concern with the Stranger encountered via a triadic model of the Stranger, the Foreigner, and the Other. In year I, I choose to focus on Eliot's French poems, which are written in the early wave of Eliot's work and in which the intertwined issues of traveling/dwelling, writing/translation, identity/between-ness are closer to the surface and less resolved there than in his later work. Eliot composed during the late 1910s the group of French poems, which have witnessed vicissitudes in its critical reception. Critics tend to dismiss Eliot's French poems, disregarding them either as Eliot's desperate attempts to get through his serious writer's block at that time, or as Eliot's five-finger exercises and apprentice's homage to those French poets. Arguably, the French poems, written in French by an Anglo-American poet, represent a signature landscape of emplacement and displacement, the canny and the uncanny, being-at-home and not-being-at-home in Eliot's oeuvre. The year II aims to explore Eliot's The Cocktail Party via the concept of the stranger within and without oneself, oneness and otherness, hostility and hospitality. The Cocktail Party (1949) is Eliot's first composition after winning the Nobel Prize in 1948. Presumably, the main difference made by winning the Nobel Prize was that increased Eliot's anxiety regarding his future work—in Eliot's own words: “The Nobel is a ticket to one's funeral. No one has ever done anything after he got it.” Significantly, The Cocktail Party represents a signature landscape in the new peak of Eliot's oeuvre which returns us to the haunted threshold of cultural encounter and translation where an enigmatic stranger occupies to epitomize the impossibility and inescapability of humans trying to identify themselves via others and their otherness. The year III deal with Eliot's two plays: The Rock (1934) will offer a study on Eliot's Being, the Other, and the Stranger, while Eliot's last play The Elder Statesman (1958) completes the cycle of the hermeneutics of uncanny strange(r)ness that The Rock had begun by epitomizing Eliot's recurrent theme of “the hollow man” haunted by the “ghosts” from the past. The question of the Stranger is directly involved with the question of the meaning of Being. The feeling of a disturbing and uncanny strange(r)ness remains at the horizon of any encounter with the Stranger. Eliot refuses to privilege a single, totalizing entity of Being, instead, Being is exteriority with an irreducible plurality of the otherness as its identity, and Eliot grants the Other the priority which was once unquestionably assigned to the Self. A new poetics of the Stranger is rendered possible via the concept of the stranger within and without oneself, oneness and otherness, hostility/hospitality, culture and desire.
|Appears in Collections:||[英國語文學系] 國科會研究計畫|
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