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Reviews179 303). This is why, no matter what their intentions or method, they will inevitably end in theorizing "conduct-" rather than "life-morality." Goldberg claims that if both conduct-morality and life-morality are "too deeply built into the foundations of our culture for either to be abandoned, so too with both philosophy and literature in moral thinking. Very different as they are, the reach of one is insufficient without that of the other" (p. 277). Hence, philosophers who continue to read and write about literary texts from a moral angle need not totally despair. We are still required . . . but only for the "conduct-morality" side of things. University of SydneyMoira Gatens T. S. Eliot and American Philosophy: The Harvard Years, by ManjuJain; xviii & 345 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, $54.95. Much excellent work has been done on Eliot's early years as a student of philosophy: Piers Gray's T. S. Eliot's Intellectual andPoeticDevelopment, 1909-1922 and Lyndall Gordon's Eliot's Early Years (1977), not to mention Eric Sigg's The American T. S. Eliot (Cambridge, 1989), andJohn Soldo's The Tempering of T. S. Eliot (1983) have provided a wealth of material, and one could cite a veritable mother-lode ofbooks and articles seeking to understand Eliot in the context of his responses to Bergson, Babbitt, Bradley, Heidegger,James, Nietzsche, Royce, Russell, Santayana, and so forth. What use will a narrowly focused work on Eliot's Harvard years be, then? Of great use, for Jain's study recreates Eliot's involvement in the debates among the academic philosophers whom he read—and eventually left behind —in a depth and a detail and with a clarity unmatched in the critical literature. The coverage of philosophical issues is excellent. To keep the book accessible, the author has perforce served up many short summaries of the work of the philosophers whom Eliot read and dissected. These are done with great efficiency and skill, and followed up with details about Eliot's responses to particular points of argument that do indeed offer major insights into the development ofEliot's critical vocabulary. The chapters on Babbitt and Bradley are particularly helpful and nuanced, but those on Santayana, Royce, and James are very useful as well. A fine passage at the end of a chapter on Royce's seminar places Eliot's critique of Royce's theory of interpretation in the context of the hermeneutical debate, touching on Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, and Habermas (pp. 148-58). Jain has read and comprehended Eliot's graduate papers more extensively dian anyone before her, 180Philosophy and Literature providing a rich trove ofquotations for readers to cull and meditate. The book includes an appendix listing courses taken by Eliot at Harvard, a good bibliography, and a beautifully prepared index. While one will, no doubt, disagree widi the assessment of this or that figure—I would draw a different picture of Santayana, for example—or wonder at an occasional omission— Alexius Meinong contributed to Eliot's concept of the "half-object," yet is not mentioned—one ends in being convinced of Professor Jain's mastery. She possesses a lucid and objective mind and has perfected an ear for Eliot's ironies. Admittedly, the book implies advocacy for Eliot's course toward Christianity. There will dawn in some readers an annoyance as Eliot picks apart one, then another of his mentors and their heroes—finding their errors and inadequacies with almost surgical accuracy. Is it really true that Eliot's "sense of human imperfection is perhaps as deep as, ifnot deeper than that ofSt. Augustine" (p. 239)? Are we supposed to see him as the man whose powers surpassed his professors', but who knew better than to waste a career? Certainly Eliot's intellect and, as importantly, intellectual couragewere of the first water, but at age twenty-four and twenty-five he was diffident enough about his work, despite the bravado of the essays he contributed to Royce's and others' seminars. Jain's stated purpose is to recreate Eliot's intense search for answers to certain questions. As she tells it, he ransacked philosophy butfailed to find the answers there which he would eventually find...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 179-180
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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