The most astonishing thing I’ve read about TS Eliot & anti-Semitism in a long time: Denis Donoghue, commenting (in Words Alone) on the (in)famous passage from After Strange Gods, “reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable”:
Eliot’s social philosophy at this point is no more questionable than if he were to say, alive and writing now, that reasons of race and religion combine to make it undesirable that any large number of Palestinians should live in the predominantly Jewish state of Israel, or undesirable that a large number of Irish Catholics nationalists should live in the predominantly Protestant and loyalist Northern Ireland, or that a large number of ethnic Albanians should live in Serbia. The resultant heterogeneity, it would be reasonable to say, is bad for everybody, including the dominant party.Slobodan Milosevic or Ian Paisley couldn’t have said it better. That, my friends, is the quality of “reasonableness” that will get you a named chair at New York University.
We had the cat put to sleep today; Aphra had been creaking about the house with increasing difficulty over the past few weeks, & the blood tests showed almost total kidney failure – a kind of systemic poisoning. A good long life – 18 years – by my estimate, probably 12 or 14 of them spent sleeping in the sun. The vet was decent enough to pay a house call for the euthanization, & I drove up with the girls – both primed with a long talk from their mother – just as he was finishing up. He was stepping out to his vehicle (an incongruously huge pickup with 5-foot monster-truck tires), having just administered the injection, carrying a little medical bag.
Pippa (5): I know what you’ve got in that bag!
Vet: Oh, do you?
Pippa: My cat!
As he drove off a quarter hour later with Aphra’s limp grey form wrapped gently in a towel, Daphne (3) stood on the front step for some minutes, waving from the wrist: “Bye-bye, Afree, bye-bye.”