Modern Heresies. To the Editor of The New English Weekly
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[ 87 Modern Heresies To the Editor of The New English Weekly The New English Weekly, 5 (3 May 1934) 71-72 Sir, – There appears to be left one matter upon which Mr. Pound and I do not agree: namely, the vital problem of what is and what is not blue china. Let Mr. Pound dust his own blue china and let me potter about with mine.1 Incidentally, the personalities of Mr. Chesterton and Dean Inge, and Mr. Pound’s lack of respect for them, seem to me to be totally irrelevant.2 I am not convinced that my own concern for the future of society, in England A.D. 1934, is any less than that of Mr. Pound in Italy anno 12.3 On the contrary, as Mr. Pound is not interested in the survival of the Christian Faith, his demands upon the future are much more likely to be satisfied than are mine. And this is the point, and indeed the only point for me of embarking upon or pursuing this correspondence. It is only a step from asserting (what appears to be true) that the economic problem must be solved if civilisation is to survive, to asserting (what I dispute) that all other problems may be or ought to be neglected until the solution of the economic problem. And from this point it is only one step more into complete Secularism. The political alternatives which we are offered as alternatives to the present rotten state of affairs both seem to me wholly secular. The reason why I have been able to support the New English Weekly is that the doctrines it advocates do not appear to be necessarily and exclusively secular. The kind of fanaticism which Mr. Pound applies to economic reforms with which I am, in any case, in sympathy, and which he applies in a different sense to a religious institution of which I am a member, seems to me to degrade the former, and to leave the latter unaffected. Mr. Pound has been kind enough to inform me about the works of Alberto de la Magna, the Collection Migne, and Larousse.4 I may recommend in return a small pamphlet, Le bien commun, published by Desclée de Brouwer et Cie., fr. 2.50. I have also found Le meilleur régime politique selon S. Thomas (Marcel Demongeot) and Fragments de sociologie chrétienne Essays, Reviews, Commentaries, and Public Letters: 1934 88 ] (Tristan d’Athayde) of some interest. I have no doubt that he is already familiar with Quadragesimo Anno.5 T. S. Eliot Notes 1. Pound wrote in his letter “Mr. Eliot’s Quandaries,” printed in the NEW of 26 Apr 1934: “I would not stop to discuss blue china in the midst of a cholera epidemic if I possessed means to combat the epidemic, and, in the present circumstances, I consider certain kinds of aesthetic discussion on a par with such a course” (48). 2. “Perhaps the measure of religious degradation in England in our time may be measured by the fact that Chesterton is the most vocal Catholic, and Inge the noisiest and most persistent verbal manifester of the Anglicans” (48). 3. The Era fascista (Fascist Era) was used in Italy between 1922 and 1943 as an alternative calendar system to that of the Christian calendar, so that Anno EF XII or “Fascist Era Year 12,” meaning twelve years since the March on Rome on 28 Oct 1922, denotes 1934 in the Christian calendar. 4. “I refer Mr. Eliot to Migne’s collection of the early Church Fathers, the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ or Larousse and/or any passable history of the Church” (48). The Dominican friar and bishop Albertus Magnus (1193/1206-1280), also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, achieved fame for his erudition. His writings, collected in 1899, cover such topics as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, and mineralogy. Dante meets him and his pupil Thomas Aquinas in Paradiso X.98-99. TSE referred to Migne’s 221-volume Patrologiae cursus completus (1844-64) in his third Clark Lecture (2.652) and in “If I Were a Dean” (4.298). The Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle (1866-76) [Great Universal Dictionary of the 19th Century] is a French encyclopedic dictionary planned, directed and published by Pierre Larousse (1817-75). 5. The manifesto Pour le bien commun. Les Responsabilités du chrétien et le moment présent (Paris: Desclée, De Brouwer et Cie, 1934...