T. S. Eliot’s the Waste Land

Current critical debate discusses contemporary poetry in terms of the Pound, Stevens or Williams’ era, forgetting T. S. Eliot, the poet who presided over the literary scenario for almost half a century. Eliot’s bookishness, political conservatism and religious leanings, together with the Modernist cultivation of an erudite, culturally charged idiom, have constituted a serious source of critical discontent. For the adepts of Marxist hermeneutics, his work came to represent “a privileged, closed, authoritative and exclusive form of discourse”.

1 In the Seventies and Eighties, Modernist high art came under attack, and was perceived as inimical to the democratic ethos. The popular argument against high culture was that it had turned its back on egalitarianism, advocating an art for the initiated few and expressing elitist disdain for the masses’ lack of cultural preparation. Difficult Modernist aesthetics, soon branded as “aristocratic”, were considered foreign, divisive, and difficult. In this context, tradition, culture, order or the spirit of Europe, values that Eliot embraced, became a way of getting around social inequalities and class privilege.

To the postmodern sensibility, Eliot had become an example of formal and intellectual closure, having apparently little to contribute to the new experimental and open forms. The new poetic idioms initiated an overt rebellion against Eliotic Modernism. According to prevailing misapprehensions, Eliot would have imposed poetic propriety at the expense of the more intuitive, visionary aspects of imagination. Eliot’s notion of impersonality was soon misunderstood as a way of repressing the subjective and instinctual dimensions of selfhood.

To him emotions and feelings would have been subsidiary to reason, order, authority and form, concepts banned from the postmodern agenda. Eliot’s concept of impersonality has been misinterpreted as a way of fitting the psyche into the Procustean bed of the willful ego. From this vantage point, Eliot ceases to be the champion of a unified sensibility and becomes, ironically, the advocate of a dissociation he so strongly combated. Yet Eliot affirmed time and again the emotional, unconscious roots that lie at the foundation of art, and considered that the recovery of the ability to feel was the guarantee of cultural vitality.

In spite of promoting the idea of the poet as a highly conscious craftsman, Eliot showed that poetic creation is in essence a much more irrational, uncontrollable process than the Romantic poets ever ventured to admit in their postulates. As a point of fact, his oeuvre is a confrontation of the rational and the irrational. Much more intensely than his Romantic predecessors, he recognized the workings of the unconscious to which the poet is exposed and which he cannot control.

2 Eliot reminds us that the poet is under “the obligation to explore, to find words for the inarticulate, to capture those feelings which people can hardly even feel, because they have no words for them” and to go “beyond the frontiers of ordinary consciousness”. His task consists in “making people comprehend the incomprehensible”. 3 The correlate of purifying “the language of the tribe”4 is to enlarge the range of feelings, “to extend the confines of the human consciousness and to report of things unknown, to express the inexpressible”.

5 Moreover, Eliot’s sense of tradition allowed for anthropological, historical, psychological and literary realities that include the primitive, archaic and unconscious as integral parts of artistic expression. As early as 1919, he sustained that the poet “should be aware of the stratifications of history that cover savagery”6 and explore the primitive, pre-logical regions out of which myth rose, and which constitute the unconscious foundations of our psyche. His visionary incursions into the past yield a search for anthropological origins.

This essay argues that the theoretical premises of the mythical method led to the exploration of worlds of otherness in quest for the spiritual foundations of the modern self. Both Joyce and Eliot resort to mythical and allusive strategies in an attempt to enact psychological conflicts and processes of consciousness. Eliot’s new poetics draws on the comparativist method of anthropology and psychology and shares their universal vocation. This quest for an open form is best illustrated by The Waste Land and is at the same time an attempt to bring forth the common language of Eastern and Western spirituality.

Heavily influenced by cubist aesthetics, the mythical method lays the basis of a new poetics that recognizes the cultural “other” at the foundation of the European self. Eliot’s great claim was that art is a transformation of personality. “Escape from personality” implied a creative process in which the personal had to be decreated, exposed to something other than itself and transformed into a new transpersonal reality through the medium of language. Creativity involved a “struggle – which alone constitutes life for a poet – to transmute his personal and private agonies into something rich and

strange, something universal and impersonal”. 7 Artistic creation was above all an endeavor to go beyond the limits of selfhood. Primitivism, myth and anthropology Eliot conceived artistic creation as a retrieval of the unconscious, irrational, primitive psychic energies that modern man with his rationalistic prejudices has eradicated from his present consciousness. In an early essay, he argued: “primitive art and poetry can even, through the studies and experiments of the artist or poet, revivify the contemporary activities.

”8 Like Laforgue and Gourmont, two of his poetic models, Eliot considered that the unconscious is the fundamental source of aesthetic creation9 and that the function of art lies in liberating man from bondage to his egoistic interests. The French symbolists’ notion of art as primarily a form of artistic selfpurgation and quest for the artist’s true hidden self was to exert a lasting influence on Eliot’s theory of impersonality – for him the transformation of the personal into the impersonal also entailed a mystical process of stripping and purification.

For Gourmont real life took place at the level of the unconscious, where emotions responded to the stimuli of new sensations. “Personality”, a term Eliot was to borrow from him later and which he used loosely, was not the genuine self, but a mask of received attitudes one had to get rid of, since it stifled life with its automatic conventions. Gourmont, like Eliot after him, conceived art as a process that brought about the stripping of the stereotype.

To be impersonal, presupposed a deliberate effort to break up conventional modes of perception of a contingent, superficial personality, a puttingoff of dead stringencies of an old self so as to prepare the way for a visionary process. Echoing Gourmont, Eliot remarked: “the personality is distilled into the work, it loses its accidents, it becomes … a permanent point of view, a phase in the history of mind.

”10 Like Jung, Eliot affirmed the essential link between art, archaic spirituality and the structures of the unconscious. Sensitive to primitivism and mysticism, yet equally conscious of countervailing systems of beliefs, Eliot argued that modern art was made possible by the rediscovery of myths, religious symbols and archaic modes of consciousness that survive in the unconscious structures of the psyche: “the prelogical mentality persists in civilized man, but becomes available only to or through the poet.

”11 Given the fact that “our lives are mostly a constant evasion from ourselves”, the essential powers of poetry “may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate”. 12 Primitive cultures were an inspirational source for modern art: “some study of primitive man furthers our understanding of civilized man, so it is certain that primitive art and poetry help our understanding of civilized art and poetry.

”13 The role of the poet, who is endowed with shaman-like powers, consisted in reawakening the unconscious contents of our mind and in putting them to the service of poetic creation: “The artist … is more primitive, as well as more civilized, than his contemporaries, his experience is deeper than civilization, and he only uses the phenomena of civilization in expressing it. ”14 At no point did Eliot emulate these forms of atavism, but instead integrated them into modern consciousness in an effort to breach the rupture of a “dissociated sensibility”.

His own poetry deals with those primitive energies – ecstasy and terror – that cannot be approached by pure intellectual means and have been dismissed from the daylight experience of civilized man. Linked to the retrieval of archaic fantasies, mystical participations and primitive energies, modern art implied a retrieval of the invisible roots of our conscious thoughts and the assimilation of “the stratifications of history that cover savagery”.

15 In 1923, almost two years after the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses and a year after the publication of The Waste Land, Eliot hailed Joyce as the discoverer of a new artistic technique, “the mythical method”, which held for him “the importance of a scientific discovery”. 16 In Ulysses, Joyce used the Homeric argument of the Odyssey as the informing structure of the contemporary adventures of Leopold Bloom during his one-day wanderings through modern Dublin.

Eliot defined the mythical method as a “continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity” which implied “a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving shape and significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history”. 17 Regardless of what the mythical method might have meant for Joyce in “Ulysses, Order and Myth”, Eliot was indirectly expounding the structural principles that informed his own poem. The new literary method, Eliot emphasized, had been made possible by the new discoveries in “psychology …

ethnology, and The Golden Bough”,18 Frazer’s encyclopaedic compendium of classical texts, folklore, comparative religions, immemorial rites and faiths. Unlike Joyce, Eliot did not resort to a specific myth, but to a web of classical and anthropological sources. With its montages of overlapping traditions, The Waste Land shares the anthropological aspiration of setting up correspondences, analogies and equivalences between different cultures belonging to various temporal and cultural perspectives.

The poem flows over multitudes of points of view and establishes links between different sets of beliefs that lie at the foundations of “the mind of Europe”, a mind that “abandons nothing en route”,19 conceived as a repository for individual and collective memory. Its atemporal nature is endowed with an almost Jungian blend of mythic time and psychological history. The Waste Land is the poetical illustration of Eliot’s historical sense and what it means to write with “a feeling that the whole of literature from Homer … has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order”.

20 Eliot recognized Frazer’s indelible impact on the literary and psychological circles of his generation. Frazer had shaped the contours of the “contemporary mind” and extended its consciousness “into as dark and backward an abysm of time as has yet been explored”. Eliot believed The Golden Bough was “the complimentary [sic] work of Freud” and of greater “permanence”, since it did not present a “theory”, but a “vision” or a “point of view”. More importantly, The Golden Bough brought “its light on the obscurities of the soul from a different angle” and gave evidence of “the agony of spiritual life”.

Eliot found in anthropology and psychology the fountainhead of a new poetic idiom. He challenged scientific claims to explain mythico-religious phenomena from sociological, positivist or empirical perspectives. Eliot disapproved of Frazer’s theories, feeling that he reduced archaic religions to a complex of irrational superstitions that could be surpassed only by progress and the certitudes of scientific reason. 23 Frazer’s evolutionary framework was for him a mere mystification of religious experience.

Yet although he criticized Frazer’s interpretive model, Eliot admired his comparative method. Moreover, in his poetic transpositions, Eliot adopted Frazer’s strategy to find an underlying pattern to the heterogeneous elements of different cultures. The Waste Land shares the common aspiration of sociology and comparative religions, which consists in “interpreting into one language an indefinite variety of languages”. Like Frazer’s Golden Bough, Eliot’s poem presents a quest for the continuum of modern consciousness, a search for “that vanished mind of which our mind is a continuation”.

25 In its search for origins, Th Waste Land looks beyond the founding monuments of Western tradition – Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Dante, Spenser, Shakespeare, Webster, Marvell, Wagner, Baudelaire, Verlaine – into the more remote beginnings of Eastern culture – the Upanishads and Buddhism – and further back into the more primitive past of archaic myths. Its allusive strategies and shifting points of view present a kaleidoscope of inner experiences and dramatic moments of consciousness of a mind that struggles to retrieve a lost legacy.

Eliot decried modern man’s loss of a vital relationship with symbols that once formed an active part of his cultural heritage. And in an age in which traditional religious forms no longer expressed the inner mysteries of being, he argued that psychology brought about a scientific re-discovery of ancient truths, reviving those “truths long since known to Christianity, but mostly forgotten and ignored”, and as the positivistic psychology of Ribot, Janet and Charcot prefigures many of the concerns expressed in The Waste Land.

Frazer, like Comte, distinguished three stages in man’s evolution: magic, religion, and science. Religion evolved from the superstitious explanations by which primitive man tried to explain natural phenomena. “Sociology, and Comparative Religions, have a task … unique among sciences: that of interpreting into one language an indefinite variety of languages” recast them into “a form and a language understandable by modern people to whom the language of Christianity is not only dead but undecipherable”.

The open-ended quest for consciousness in The Waste Land In Eliot’s work myth is inextricably bound to history and provides the key to the chaotic reality of modernity. The parallel between antiquity and contemporary history allows for a realistic portrayal of modern life, yet it also suggests the existence of a continuous vital, buried life that rises to the surface. Eliot saw in myths the symbolic expressions of psychological patterns that point the way towards spiritual development and release from confining patterns of existence.

The process of breakdown and integration of the individual psyche is projected onto the background of a larger quest for cultural values of a ruined civilization struggling to retrieve its spiritual sources. 27 Furthermore, the exploration of consciousness presupposes concern with a collective cultural heritage. The Waste Land bears out the archetypal meanings and psychological significations of fertility and vegetation rituals mentioned in Jessie L. Weston’s From Ritual to Romance and Frazer’s The Golden Bough.

Their myths and legends, which center around the quest for a source of inner vitality and the need to inquire into the fount of life and regeneration provide, according to Eliot, the plot and symbolism of the poem.

28 26 T. S. Eliot, “The Search for Moral Sanction”, The Listener, VII/168 (30 March 1932), 446. 27 Both David A. Moody, Thomas Stearns Eliot: Poet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980, 79-80 and Ronald Bush, T. S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984, 69 argue that The Waste Land, while simultaneously advancing a cultural critique, documents a process of breakdown and reintegration that occurs in the individual psyche. Elizabeth Drew in T. S.

Eliot: The Design of His Poetry, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1950 was the first to associate the metaphoric transformations of The Waste Land with Jung’s archetype of individuation and integration of personality (19-51, 87-90). On the similarity between Eliot’s aesthetics and Jungian theories, see also William Skaff, The Philosophy of T. S. Eliot: From Skepticism to Surrealist Poetic 1909-1927, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986, 72-75. 28 See Eliot’s own note to The Waste Land in The Complete Poems and Plays 1909- 1950, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1962, 50.

Unless otherwise indicated, all page references are to this edition. T. S. Eliot’s Poetics of the Mythical Method 99 The central experience of The Waste Land gravitates around the age-old pattern of death and rebirth that lies at the foundation of mythical narratives of wounded gods and their symbolic processes of regeneration.

The stories of their destinies, projected onto the seasonal alternations of winter and spring, are metaphorical expressions of psychological processes which involve the death of an old ignorant self, the surrender of its materialistic egocentrism and the emergence of a new, regenerated personality for whom the meaning of life is different from mere getting and spending.

The theme of The Waste Land is a quest for a buried self and a buried life. The voices in the “waste land” perceive themselves as the living dead – “we who were living are now dying / With a little patience” (l. 329-30). Apathy is linked to forgetfulness and a paralysis of feeling. The text gravitates around the narrator’s awareness that he is “neither / Living nor dead” (l.

39-40), and a difficult question, “Are you alive, or not? ” (l. 126). The poem traces the inner journey into the depths of the personal and cultural past, as if trying to give an answer to the haunting question that resounds insistently in the space of the poem: “Do / You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember / Nothing? ” (l. 121-23). The modern characters of The Waste Land are spectral inhabitants of an unreal city in which “the nymphs are departed” (l. 175). Plagued by an indefinite sense of loss and deprivation, they are tortured by the “dry sterile thunder without rain” (l.342).

Their “little life” (l. 7) is composed of a compendium of mechanical gestures devoid of freedom, love or ethical values. Modern men and women act out assigned parts in the play of life and participate in a drama they do not understand. Unconscious of the cause of their suffering and oblivious of their fundamental desires and fears, they drift like pawns on a chessboard, unguided by love and ethical values that could bring them freedom. Automatic, mechanized forms of life impose their constricting norms on the inner reality of selfhood and create a lifeless sensibility.

In the world of Albert and Lil, the typist and the young man carbuncular, human relations are dominated by the dynamics of the marketplace or those of a battlefield. Life exhausts itself in the vulgarity of physiological materialism. Love has turned into a power game. Its language is that of commercial transactions and military strategies. 100 Viorica Patea The people in “the waste land” lead a subterranean existence, illustrated in the symbolic opening of the poem. Their bodies lie buried or drowned, and their regeneration in spring is still uncertain, despite the coming of April, the traditional month of passion and rebirth.

Their lethargic spirit animates metaphorically “dull roots” and “dried tubers” (l. 4, 7). Life lies suspended in the apathy of a safe forgetfulness, withdrawn to the minimum expression of mere survival. Like Kafkaesque characters they wait for something they do not know yet vaguely intuit: “thinking of the key, each confirms a prison” (l. 415). The revivifying spring rain brings the intuitive longings of “memory and desire” (37) that disturb the placidity of an inert consciousness, and drives its dormant contents into being.

The regenerating energies of nature set up a psychic parallel. The stirrings of spring unearth the personal memories and recollections of literary experiences. Lines from Dante, Wagner, Verlaine, Marvell, Shakespeare resound in the consciousness of the lyric “I”. They bring the poetic narrators in touch with suppressed realms of feeling and make them relive the inner meaning of these fragments that span in non-chronological fashion the course of civilization from its remote origins to the present.

Just as the brief vision of the Grail awakens in the quester the urge to retrieve it, so the drama in The Waste Land begins with a personal reminiscence and the desire to regain the brief moment of spiritual and erotic fulfillment lived in the hyacinth garden. 29 This experience will be kept alive by Ariel’s and Philomel’s songs, the recurrent and transformative energies of the poem, that repeatedly disturb the lethargy of the present with their promise of metamorphosis and transcendence. The ecstatic vision will be followed by other insistent calls and epiphanic moments.

The space of the poem is haunted by a series of questions and injunctions which mark the progressive stages of a mind struggling to escape its own inability to remember, feel and express feeling: “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? ”, “That corpse you planted last year in your garden, / Has it begun to sprout? ”, “who is that on the other side of you? ” (l. 19-20, 39, 71-71, 366). Their metaphysical, epistemological or existential connotations incite spiritual ventures and quests of inner plenitude.

29 Robert Langbaum, “New Modes of Characterization”, in Eliot in His Time, ed. Walton Litz, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973, 112. T. S. Eliot’s Poetics of the Mythical Method 101 Hence, the prophetic promise “And I will show you fear in a handful of dust” (l. 30), the Augustinian prayer, the Buddhist sermon and the impersonal admonition to “Hurry up please it’s time”, mobilize psychic energies and prepare the speaker’s ultimate awareness of “Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. / Shantih shantih shantih” (l.

433-34). In the final meditation of the poem, the lyric “I” assimilates the words of prophets and saints and the non-human utterances of thunder-gods, nightingales and spirits of the air, which typify coherent and integral parts of consciousness. Surrounded by symbols they do not quite understand, the inhabitants of the waste land repeat unawares fragments of archaic myths and legends that lie at the foundation of Frazer’s and Weston’s rituals. Their actions and gestures partake of an archetypal penumbra.

Unknowingly, they relive mythic scripts, archetypal realities and symbolic deaths. Marie’s banal reminiscence of a childhood scene in which, overcoming her fears, she lets herself slide down a mountain slope and experiences an unexpected moment of ecstatic freedom, prefigures the course of the mystic way in which “the way down is the way up”. Her descent into the winter is an ascent beyond fear towards transcendence, an unconscious parallelism to Dante’s spiritual pilgrimage in which the road to the summit of Paradise passes through the abyss of the Inferno.

The personal reminiscence of the love encounter in the hyacinth garden seems a surviving episode of an ancient initiation ritual, whereas the contemporary scenes of lovelessness indicate the desecration of these mysteries. A bath – “The hot water at ten” (l. 135) – takes on connotations of ancient purification rites. Death by water is not a drowning, but a promise of rebirth and metamorphosis, a rite of passage. The game of chess translates into a game of death and life. And casual encounters in the modern city – “Stetson! / You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!

” (l. 70) – bring strange recognitions of former lives and awaken the wastelanders’ awareness of their multiple, haunted identities. Even a banal activity like gardening, in which seeds are interchangeable with corpses, turns into an unknowing participation in mystery ceremonies of cyclic religions commemorating the drama of a slain god.

The inhabitants of the waste land overcome their insignificant existence to the extent to which they become aware of the spiritual significance of their lives and, as Langbaum remarks, of 102 Viorica Patea the archetypal structures that imperceptibly inform their daily routines. 30 The wastelanders acquire their identity by melting into remote characters and reliving their experiences.

They undergo unconscious identifications with literary and legendary figures of the past: those in quest of the Grail, Fisher Kings, tarot card figures, hanged men, buried or drowned gods, or the violated Philomel, whose experiences they re-actualize across time. And awareness of their archetypal identifications breaks the closed circle of the solipsistic personality and delivers it from the opacity of history.

The insomniac woman and her silent interlocutor, Albert and Lil, the typist and the young man carbuncular, the modern Thames daughters and “the loitering heirs of city directors” (l. 180) coexist in the same space with Dido and Aeneas, Anthony and Cleopatra, Tristan and Isolde, Ferdinand and Miranda, Hamlet and Ophelia, the idealized pastoral couples of Spenser or the impatient lover of Andrew Marvell. The modern couples reenact old dramas of love or lovelessness, perpetuating the same age-old stories of betrayal, treachery and cruelty.

Eliot’s wastelanders are collage portraits in which the lineaments of contemporary men and women draw on those of mythical or literary personages. They are based on a new concept of personality influenced by Bradleyian theories of subjective-objective centers of experience or Jungian presuppositions of a universal substratum that underlies personal consciousness. The lyric narrator is an “I” who accounts for the voices he hears within himself and those he hears in the world and who lives out the many literary quotations of the past.

His mind moves beyond the tonalities of a personal inner voice towards the integration of the “other”. The narrative voice is successively and simultaneously identified as Phoenician sailor, Phlebas the Phoenician, the Tarot oneeyed merchant and Mr Eugenides, the ancient and modern seller of currants. He takes on the personality of the Grail quester, the Fisher King, Ferdinand, the Shakespearean Prince, while his voice modulates into that of a modern Londoner, an ancient Greek, a medieval Florentine lost in Dante’s limbo, a Baudelairean ghost, a psalmist, and a modern exile, among many other instantiations.

By means of these multiple identifications, the narrative subject recognizes himself in the 30 Ibid. , 101. T. S. Eliot’s Poetics of the Mythical Method 103 other across time: “You! hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, – mon frere! ” (l. 76). Eliot renounced the convention of a stable lyric voice and the allsufficiency of a single consciousness in order to create a poetic persona who assumes a plurality of voices, masks, registers, and points of view. He creates a new space in which to record the self’s multiple identities and posturings, and the ongoing dialogue between the various cultural projections of selfhood.

31 Eliot’s strategy of impersonality undermines the ego’s effort to impose a single univocal prism onto the flux of reality, transforming the poetic text into a cubist site where complexes of feelings and cultural representations are at play. The first-person narrator of The Waste Land is deprived of a name or a concrete history. It is a composite “I”, a vortex of many registers and voices, whose subjectivity emerges out of literary quotations, historical recollections, scraps of conversation and personal memories.

And so is the “other”, the resurrected god, whose existence the wastelanders vaguely intuit, yet fail to recognize. Referred to by the indefiniteness of the personal pronoun, “he who was living is now dead”, or obliquely by a number, “the third who walks always beside you” (48), this transcendent figure is not limited by a concrete system of belief. Eliot avoids specification and carefully eludes an exclusively Christian reading. The “third” is an archetypal deity who blends the image of an archaic god with that of Christ or of a Vedic thunder and rain god.

32 Not confined to a specific time period or culture, he appears in the guise of an unknown phantom companion, “that on the other side of you”, the ever present other “who walks always beside you”. By conceiving the poetic persona as an assemblage of many psychic registers, historic and cultural identities, as “zones” or “fields 31 Charles Altieri, “Eliot’s Impact on Twentieth-Century Anglo-American Poetry”, in The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot, ed.

Moody, 198-99, convincingly argues that Eliot’s theory of impersonality and the objective correlative enabled him to achieve a more sophisticated dramatization of psychic forces and inner conflicts. 32 As Nageswara Rao observes, the “third” may contain an implied reference to the Vedic rain and thunder god Varuna, the god of righteousness, referred to in the Rig Veda as “the third whenever two plot in silence” (see Nageswara Rao, The Peace Which Passeth Understanding: A Study of the Waste Land, Tirupati: Sri Venkateswara University, 1976, 59).

104 Viorica Patea of consciousness” – in Kenner’s phrase33 – Eliot illustrates his essentially open, dialogic conception of art and/or selfhood in which “the personal to oneself is fused and completed in the impersonal and the general, not extinguished, but enriched, expanded, developed, and more itself by becoming more something not itself”. 34 The quest for a new form and language The Waste Land also presents a quest for a new form. Like Joyce, Eliot defied formal completeness and did away with categories such as plot, narrative sequence, and the notion of a unified character.

The new poetics resorts to cubist aesthetics and privileges a complex mode of ever-shifting temporal dislocations, narrative and rhetorical discontinuities and unexplained alternations of past and present, reality and myth. Within the framework of these montages, dramatic action loses its linear progression and ceases to compose mere sequences. The new experimental form rescues reality from the flux of photographic naturalism and re-composes it into a new geometry of interpenet