A Pair of Ragged C(itations)

We’re not going to argue the artistic merits, or lack thereof, of graffiti here, but I think we can all agree that if one is going to advertise their “intelligence” they should in the least make sure to do the research.

In Pittsburgh, a graffiti artist decided to tag the library with the quote “I wish I were a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”  Now the careful reader recognizes the lack of a line break after “claws” as the author would have intended.  But the best part is really that the graffiti artist attributed the quote to a “J. Alfred Prufrock.”

The line, cribbed from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is arguably the most famous work (although some would say The Wasteland) of expatriate Modernist master T.S. Eliot.  The question here really, is how do you have the level of education to quote the line exactly, but so grossly botch the attribution thereof?  God forbid someone mismatch his own work with that of Banksy (although Banksy would never be so sloppy).

Oh, and who tags a library, I mean really.

Sidebar (from yours truly, a total Eliot nerd):

For your enjoyment, the full poem is here, but I personally can’t stand reading poetry online, in which case you want to pick up any of the following:

-A great copy of The Wasteland (with annotations from Ezra Pound, who was his introduction into London society when the premiere critic of the time read “Prufrock” and said to Pound something to the tune of “Your friend doesn’t need a publisher, he needs an asylum.”  This is a great text with which you can work through the poem).

-The Complete Poems and Plays (this one is just great, try “Four Quartets”)

-Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (this is not good, just don’t go here)

-The Sacred Wood or Christianity and Culture (if you like G.K. Chesterton you’re going to love these, when Eliot delved into Christianty he did so with restraint and a distinctly intelligensia/modernist tinge, very interesting!)

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