The early decades of the 20th century witnessed an explosion of experimentation, innovation, and interpenetration in the arts throughout Europe. The battle-cry "Make it new!" reverberated across all the arts, enriching every individual field - painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama, and literature. As Roger Shattuck perceptively notes in The Banquet Years, "To a greater extent than at any time since the Renaissance, painters, writers, and musicians lived and worked together and tried their hands at each other's arts in an atmosphere of perpetual collaboration" (23). In this extremely fertile period for the arts, the air was thick with new beliefs, subjects, and techniques which were discussed, experimented with, and ultimately adopted, altered, or rejected. Rather than suffering "The Anxiety of Influence," artists at this time experienced what might be called "The Synergism of Influence." While Paris was the undisputed center of such artistic collaboration, this phenomenon occurred as well in London and other major European cities. For example, from 1918 onward, London's Bloomsbury group passionately attended performances of the newest and most avant-garde productions of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, seeing in their Modernist elements "the design, rhythm, and texture [they] sought in literature no less than painting" (Garafola 334-35).
In the midst of this creative ferment, there occurred an event which could be said to have revolutionized the notion of the avant-garde itself. One night in 1912 while crossing the Place de la Concorde in Paris after a performance of the Ballets Russes, its director Sergei Diaghilev commanded the young Jean Cocteau, "Astonish me!" Five years later, he astonished not only Diaghilev but the entire artistic world. On 18 May 1917 at the Theatre du Chatelet, the Ballets Russes presented the premiere of the ballet Parade, a collaborative creation with scenario by Cocteau, music by Erik Satie, set, curtain, and costumes by Pablo Picasso, choreography by Leonide Massine, and programme notes by Guillaume Apollinaire [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. Innovative and shocking in a multiplicity of ways - various labels included electroshock, a revolution, a comet, an earthquake (Kahane 96-97) - it caused a furor; indeed, the first-night audience responded with an uproar, some cheering, but most booing and hissing. Because of its notoriety, the performance of Parade for the first time in England during the 1919 autumn season of the Ballets Russes at London's Empire Theatre, with the premiere taking place on November 14, was a major cultural event, as were its Paris revivals in December 1920 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees and in May 1921 at the Gaite-Lyrique. In these instances, the response, while sometimes bewildered, was excited rather than outraged.
Among those excited by the ballet, I wish to argue, was T.S. Eliot; more specifically, I wish to demonstrate the extent to which the revolutionary aspects of his own masterpiece of this time - The Waste Land - owe much to the inspiration of this avant-garde ballet. For if the hallmarks of Eliot's poem are its fusion of tradition and experimentation, the everyday and the extraordinary, these too are the features of Parade, which in itself demonstrated the interpenetration of contemporary developments in the arts to a far greater extent than earlier productions of the Ballets Russes. Critics have, of course, long recognized a connection between The Waste Land and the Ballets Russes' 1921 revival of Le Sacre du Printemps, but the impact of Parade on the poem has been totally overlooked. Although a possible reason for this neglect may be the absence of direct leads - i.e., concrete evidence that Eliot attended a performance of this ballet - the more likely explanation may have to do with the way that this once infamous work has tended generally to be forgotten, its significance at the time paling perhaps as a result of the subsequent brilliant careers of its various collaborators.
At the same time, there is a great amount of circumstantial evidence that Eliot did know of and likely saw a performance of Parade, and thus, after first describing the origins and general features of the ballet, I will look at Eliot's familiarity with both ballet and music-hall culture. Following this, and constituting what will ultimately be the major proof, I will detail the many striking ways that the content, structure, characters, music and sound effects, curtain and set, and choreography of Parade have correspondences in The Waste Land. In this way, I hope to suggest that, while Eliot's poem is revolutionary, it is also very much a compendium and record of the tremendous synergism which characterized the arts in the early decades of the 20th century.
The conception and creation of Parade demonstrate particularly well the extensive collaboration among varied artists in the early years of the 20th century. The ballet was the idea of Jean Cocteau, who served also as the catalyst in getting the collaborators together. Having met both Satie and Picasso in the autumn of 1915, he determined to secure them to work on the ballet which he hoped he could convince Diaghilev to stage. So taken was he with Picasso and his peers that he immersed himself in the Cubist milieu in Paris centered in Montparnasse and the Butte Montmartre. As Richard Buckle points out, the Cubists "were a world apart from the Russian Ballet and its admirers; and Cocteau was...the link between them" (312). Diaghilev had heard and been impressed by Satie in the summer of 1914, but did not meet Picasso until May 1916 when he was taken to the artist's studio overlooking the cemetery of Montparnasse. At this meeting the two different worlds of the Ballets Russes and the Cubists came together, and in late August of 1916 Picasso agreed to join Cocteau, Satie, and the choreographer Massine to create Parade for Diaghilev's company (Buckle 312, 318). In February 1917, all the collaborators except Satie gathered in Rome to begin work on the ballet, scheduled for performance in Paris in mid-May.
Their goals were to create a work based on ordinary, contemporary life, specifically the low-brow world of popular entertainment seen in the music hall, the street fair, and the circus; to incorporate new technological inventions, such as the typewriter, the airplane, and the skyscraper; and to use techniques from the avant-garde developments in all the arts - in short, to create something entirely innovative and modern. As Massine notes, "[Parade was] an attempt to translate [popular art] into a totally new form...[and thus] we utilized certain elements of contemporary show-business - ragtime music, jazz, the cinema, billboard advertising, circus and music-hall techniques....[W]e were mainly concerned with creating something new and representative of our own age" (105). Parade thus constituted a radical departure from the ballets previously performed by Diaghilev's company which had been based on stories and characters from the past or from fantasy and had been Russian or Oriental in nature; here in contrast was, according to Cocteau's biographer Steegmuller, "a true theatrical innovation, the first totally modern ballet, the first balletistic 'metaphor of the everyday; in Lincoln Kirstein's phrase" (189-90).
The plot, created by Cocteau, is a "parade" or preview of the acts of a troupe of performers on a Parisian boulevard designed to entice the audience to come in to see the entire show. Reflecting actual acts performed in 1917 in Parisian music-halls and circuses such as the Cirque Medrano as well as contemporary American silent films, they include the feats of a Chinese conjuror, a little American girl, and two acrobats, which are introduced by two managers and a cheval-jupon (a horse played by two men). The finale is "a rapid ragtime dance in which the whole cast [makes] a last desperate attempt to lure the audience in to see their show" (Massine 105). The plot thus captures various elements of everyday, present life, making use of popular entertainment such as the music hall and fairground, material previously considered unsuitable for the elite world of the ballet. As composer Francis Poulenc notes in his autobiography, "For the first time...the music-hall invaded art - with a capital A" (89). According to Deborah Rothschild, Cocteau's goal of being vulgar (that is, common), of showing the "brash commercialism of modern life and the entertainments patronized not by the beau monde but by the general public," was effectively realized (30). This aesthetic belief, shared by all the collaborators, is seen, for example, in the poet Apollinaire's insistence that common forms of entertainment should inform high art, as demonstrated in his own poems which contain "street cries, signs, and contemporary urban intrusions within a format distinguished by formal austerity," as Rothschild notes (45). She argues convincingly that the "vulgar, commonplace quality" of Parade, not its use of Cubism, was the main source of its originality (and of its stormy reception) and made it the first Modernist ballet (71).
Eliot's exposure to and knowledge of ballet in general and the Ballets Russes in particular, along with his love of popular entertainments like the music hall, provide highly persuasive, if circumstantial, evidence that he saw Parade, either in London in November/December 1919 or in Paris in December 1920 during a week's visit just prior to Christmas. His interest in the Ballets Russes seems to have begun during his student year in Paris (1910-11) when the company presented its third season in June 1911. Its enormous popularity among the intellectuals and artists, its astounding innovations in dance, and its ideal of fusing various art forms into one artistic whole, as well as giving Eliot the opportunity to see Vaslav Nijinsky, the most acclaimed male dancer of the day, and to learn more about the culture of Russia in conjunction with his reading of Dostoevsky under the tutelage of Henri Alain-Fournier - all this would have been a strong attraction. Eliot has clearly indicated that he knew and was influenced by two of the ballets performed then, Le Spectre de la Rose and Petrouchka, and there is evidence that he knew a third, Narcisse, as well (see my "T.S. Eliot" 69-74).
In the late teens and the twenties, there is plentiful concrete evidence of Eliot's involvement with and interest in dance, for not only did he attend performances of the Ballets Russes in London but also he wrote essays, reviews, and letters containing various references to ballet and/or the company (see my "T.S. Eliot" 74-83). His literary and artistic friends, such as Clive Bell, Roger Fry, and Ezra Pound, not only were passionate supporters of the Ballets Russes but also wrote major articles and reviews about them, particularly in 1919 (Garafola 334-36). Along with his wife Vivien, an aspiring ballet dancer herself who knew well both the leading dancers and specific ballets (see Patmore 85), Eliot and various Bloomsbury friends attended a number of performances. On 13 May 1919, for example, in the company of Jack and Mary Hutchinson and Brigit Patmore, they saw Carnaval, The Firebird, and The Good-Humored Ladies (Letters 292), and on 22 July 1919 they accompanied the Sacheverell Sitwells to the opening night of Diaghilev's newest production The Three-Cornered Hat with Massine and Tamara Karsavina dancing. In her diary, Vivien described this performance as "very interesting and the music very good. Massine really wonderful," and the next evening Eliot went alone with the Hutchinsons to see it again, as well as Papillons and Prince Igor (Letters 320).
When the British premiere of Parade took place less than four months later, it is hard to imagine that Eliot would not have attended such a sensational cultural event with some of these same friends; indeed, the dance historian Cyril Beaumont in his book The Diaghilev Ballet in London: A Personal Record calls "the long-promised ballet" the "one event of the season" (148). Both the Sitwell brothers, for example, knew the ballet well and made commentaries on it; Sacheverell interpreted Picasso's curtain as depicting a company of performers at a fair eating supper before a show (Rothschild 209), while Osbert rendered the judgment that Parade was both tragic and original (Macdonald 238). Eliot may have been drawn to a performance by his own interest, by that of friends such as the Sitwells, or by the largely positive reviews that appeared in all the London newspapers, including the Observer, the Sunday Times, and the Daily Telegraph. Reviews such as "New Russian Ballet: 'Parade' at the Empire" in the November 15 issue of The Times reveal the bewilderment but also the excitement evoked by the ballet. The reviewer begins by asking, "What phrase can describe it? Cubo-futurist? Physical vers-libre? Plastic jazz? The decorative-grotesque? There is no hitting it off," and concludes by admitting that, while it is "a world of nonsense, where anything means everything or nothing, yet everything is exciting to the eye and ear and mind" (10); the last words in particular would have appealed to one so intensely interested in artistic innovations as Eliot.
Further, in late 1920 he had another opportunity to see Parade in Paris. In an article appearing in Comoedia on 21 December, Cocteau, no doubt somewhat disingenuously, urges the Parisian public to see the ballet this time as the amusing entertainment that it was meant to be, suggesting that its negative reception in 1917 was a result of the audience's misunderstanding of its lighthearted nature: "The horse of Parade is going to reappear on the stage of the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. This brave horse who amused us and made simple stagehands laugh greatly angered the public in 1917 [when] dada was unknown....Now there's no doubt that the public recognizes dada in our horse without malice" He insists, however, that the ballet represents no school, but is "a big toy [which] Diaghilev is putting...in your Christmas stocking" (qtd. in Kahane 103; trans. mine). Eliot may have seen it at this time, for he was in Paris just before Christmas of 1920; he wrote to Leonard Woolf on 26 December of reading his review published on December 17 "when I got back from Paris" and he wrote to his mother on 22 January 1921 that during "my week in Paris before Christmas...I was...mostly with old and new French friends and acquaintances, writers, painters...and the sort of French society that knows such people" (Letters 427, 433; see also 425-26, 430-31), exactly the kind of companions who might have accompanied him to a performance of such great import to the cultural and artistic community.
In July 1921, his continuing patronage of the company is evident in his attending and then writing about its revival of Le Sacre du Printemps with new choreography by Massine; while he was somewhat disappointed in the dance itself, he described Stravinsky's music in the October issue of The Dial as possessing "the sense of the present...the scream of the motor horn, the rattle of machinery, the grind of wheels, the beating of iron and steel, the roar of the underground railway, and the other barbaric cries of modern life" (453), i.e., the same sounds we hear in The Waste Land.
In addition to his interest in ballet, his love for the music hall constitutes another form of evidence that he would have been drawn to a performance of Parade. He was likely to have frequented music halls and circuses, such as the Cirque Medrano, during his student year in Paris, perhaps even seeing some of the specific acts from them evoked in the ballet, and he was a devoted patron of British music halls from the time he settled in London in the midteens through his later years. His admiration for the music hall as well as his belief that it constitutes a legitimate and meaningful form of art is seen in his 1922 tribute to the music-hall performer Marie Lloyd. Clearly sharing the view of the creators of Parade that ordinary life is a valid basis for art, he asserts that "no other comedian succeeded so well in giving expression to the life of [the working class] audience, in raising it to a kind of art" noting that the spectator collaborated in her artistry: "The working man who went to the music-hall and saw Marie Lloyd and joined in the chorus was himself performing part of the act; he was engaged in that collaboration of the audience with the artist which is necessary in all art and most obviously in dramatic art" ("Marie Lloyd" 172, 174; emphasis mine). It is this kind of collaboration that The Waste Land requires, as indicated by the protagonist's direct addresses to the reader, just as Parade's use of realistic aspects of the everyday, modern life of the lower classes is reflected, for example, in the pub scene of Section II.
Given his documented attendance at performances of the Ballets Russes in the teens and twenties, his knowledge of the dance as revealed in letters, essays, and reviews, and the definite appeal that its music-hall format and subject matter would have had for him, as well as his interest in a wide variety of the arts (see, for example, my"The Waste Land"), Eliot almost certainly saw (or at the very least knew about) this radical ballet, the fruit of an extraordinary collaboration between the foremost avant-garde artists of the day, which made use of the most current trends in all areas of the arts and helped to usher in Modernism, Surrealism, and l'Apres-Guerre; yet as Cocteau so perceptively put it in 1920,"Parade is not dadaist, cubist, futurist, nor of any school. Parade is Parade" (qtd. in Kahane 103; trans. mine).
Every aspect of Parade from its guiding principles to its concrete details has striking correspondences in The Waste Land which reveal the powerful forces of synergism at work in the arts in the teens and twenties in Europe. Perhaps most obvious is the way in which the music-hall format of the ballet informs both the structure and the tempo of the poem. The ballet's rapid succession of acts, which mirrors the manner of presentation in the music hall or circus as well as the speed of modern life resulting from its new technology (the automobile, the airplane, and the cinema, for example), is clearly evident in The Waste Land's quickly shifting series of scenes which comprise its total structure. Speed and simultaneity (major tenets of Futurism) are also implied in the poem's references to the traffic of a large metropolis ("The sound of horns and motors"), to "a closed car" - a car with a roof, which at the time was so expensive that it could be afforded only by the wealthy - and to an idling taxi ("the human engine waits / Like a taxi, throbbing, waiting"), as well as in the typist who "Paces about her room again, alone" after the departure of her callous lover and in the staccato tempo of the wealthy woman's desperate attempts to elicit a response from her depressed husband ("'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?'").
The characters of the ballet, both as a group and as individuals, are also reflected in the poem. As a group, the ballet characters are realistic in that they are based on actual performers currently appearing in Parisian music halls. Further, they symbolize the artist in general who attempts unsuccessfully to attract an audience, thus communicating the plight of the arts and the artist in the modern world. As Rothschild notes,
[The] theme of the ballet is artistic frustration as the performers fail to entice the audience to enter the real show inside. At the conclusion of the first performances [in 1917] the Managers and actors collapsed in despair on the stage, and a placard was lowered reading: "The drama which did not take place for those people who stayed outside was by Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, and Pablo Picasso." Thus, the outcast Parade performers stood for the creative artists themselves, while the misapprehending audience of the scenario represented an uncomprehending public. In a neat dovetailing of art and reality, the outraged opening night audience was true to its cast role. (189)
In addition, the characters are mechanized and impersonal, reflecting the aesthetic of a variety of avant-garde movements; in his 1913 book on Nijinsky, the British dance critic Geoffrey Whitworth praised him for subordinating his individual talent to the art of the ballet as a whole (7-8), and the 1914 Futurist manifesto asserted that to promote impersonality the performer should wear anonymous clothing and exaggerated makeup, be free of personal expression, and use geometric movements (Garafola 79). The Managers, for example, move in a rigid, staccato manner, wear costumes suggesting that they are abstractions, and, in their enormous size as well as their callous attitudes, lack a sense of humanity.
All three of these traits of Parade's characters echo Eliot's own artistic precepts at this time; in the poem they are reflected in realistic characters such as the typist, Lil, and Marie (the latter based on the countess Marie Larisch, whom Eliot had met in 1911), and in figures who are mechanized (such as the typist who "smoothes her hair with automatic hand") and impersonal (such as the three unnamed Thames daughters and the crowd of City workers crossing London Bridge), as well as in the line "Hieronymo's mad againe" which indicates his fear of being misunderstood and rejected by his readers.
Some of the individual characters from Parade also seem to have correspondences in The Waste Land. The Chinese Conjuror, danced by Massine [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2 OMITTED], was based on the extremely popular magician Chung Ling Soo, who performed in music halls in Paris and London from 1906 to 1918; Eliot may actually have seen him during his 1910-11 year in Paris and/or in the mid-teens in London, when Soo performed at the Empire, the Alhambra, and the Coliseum, theaters with which Eliot was familiar. As the Conjuror, Massine swallowed an egg, retrieved it from his foot, breathed out fire, and walked with a jerky motion (Buckle 331), an act suggesting the magic and mystery of ordinary life as well as the artist's ability to create illusion and enchantment. The Waste Land's fortuneteller Madame Sosostris, associated with magic and mystery, may in part reflect this aspect of the Conjuror. Indeed, the warning she gives to the protagonist may have been inspired by the well-known fact that Diaghilev as a child had been told by a fortuneteller that he would die by water, causing in him such an intense fear of drowning that even as an adult he was terrified of sea voyages. Furthermore, as can be seen in the photographs of Massine as the Conjuror, this character, along with the Managers and the horse, displays a disturbing duality in that beneath the frivolous surface lurks a menacing element (Rothschild 189), a trait seen in Mr. Eugenides and in episodes such as the protagonist's chance meeting with an old war comrade Stetson which evokes a sinister and disturbing series of questions or the seemingly innocent canoe trip on the Thames which ends in seduction for the first Thames maiden. More generally, the angular quality which characterizes the Conjuror's movements attested to the new "hardness" in art revered in Modernism and sought after by its artists, including Pound and Eliot. Indeed, by 1919 the Conjuror in his bright yellow, scarlet, white, and black costume was used on the company's posters as the symbol of its modernity (Rothschild 101).
The Little American Girl, danced by Chabelska in 1917, Karsavina in 1919, and Sokolova in 1920 and 1921, reflects the influence of both American silent films and American popular music and dances in France in the early 20th century as well as conveying the freedom and daring of American life. Indeed, Sokolova asserts in her memoirs that "Parade discovered America" (103). Dressed in a blazer and pleated skirt (which for the 1917 premiere had been bought in a fashionable sports shop the day before), the character is a composite of two American stars of silent movies, Pearl White, whose films "The Perils of Pauline" and "The Exploits of Elaine" were very popular in France during World War I, and Mary Pickford, known as "America's Sweetheart" (Axsom 42). The actions of the Little American Girl come directly from such films: running a race, riding a bicycle, imitating Charlie Chaplin, chasing a robber with a revolver, dancing a ragtime, taking a photo, going down on the Titanic, and playing in the sand, all done in a playful or impudent manner. This character was also based on young American women who starred in music halls throughout Europe, such as Jenny Golder, described as a dancer who "burns up the stage. For high-kicks, knocking out a few dance steps, winking, juggling and making play with her fan, putting over a joke and even just showing off a bit, [she] is unrivalled" (qtd. in Jacques Damase 11). When at the premiere of Parade Chabelska danced the ragtime, a staple of Parisian music halls reflecting the popularity of current American music and dances, many in the audience vociferously expressed their outrage. However, by the time the role was danced by Karsavina in London in 1919, it no longer evoked such negative reactions.
In Eliot's poem, the Little American Girl may be reflected in the typist (since the tapping of typewriter keys accompanies her dance), the Hyacinth Girl, and the three Thames daughters. Similarly, her more general connections with the cinema may be seen in several technical aspects of the poem, such as the abruptly and quickly shifting structure, the fade-in, fade-out (in Section I when the setting of the desert fades into the German resort), and the close-up (in Section 1 when the panoramic view of the crowds crossing London Bridge zooms in to a close-up of Stetson). Eliot's fondness for cinema and his admiration in particular of the acting of Charlie Chaplin are seen in his comment that "It is the rhythm...which makes Massine and Charlie Chaplin the great actors that they are" ("Beating" 12). The Little American Girl's ragtime dance also has a parallel in Eliot's use of the lyrics of the 1912 rag "That Shakespearian Rag" in Section II, just as the poem's motif of death by drowning may echo her being on a sinking ship, and the seduction of the third Thames maiden on Margate Sands may be a grotesque parody of her playing in the sand.
Three other characters [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 3 OMITTED], which were the most experimental and elicited the greatest response from audiences, particularly those in 1917, have even more striking connections to the poem. The first of these are the two Managers, towering ten-foot high Cubist structures that stamp upon the stage, trying in the manner of fairground barkers to convince the audience to come in to see the show. The French Manager, who introduces the Chinese Conjuror, is a caricature of French culture, combining both a Master of Ceremonies of the Parisian music hall and a ballet master with his baton, top hat, tails, and background scene of a Parisian boulevard lined with chestnut trees. The American Manager, who introduces the Little American Girl, is a caricature of the French view of the United States in the teens, largely created by American silent films. He wears cowboy chaps, vest, and a stove-pipe hat behind which rises a skyscraper with smokestack and carries a placard reading "PA / RA / DE" and a megaphone, the last inspired by Cocteau's having seen a megaphone at a music hall in December 1916. Through the Managers Parade criticizes the harsh commercialism, particularly advertising, that imbues the modern industrialized world in general and the arts in particular; as W.A. Propert noted in 1921 in his book on the Ballets Russes, they "typify the overbearing, unhuman monsters that they must appear [to be] from the point of view of the artists that work under them" (57). This aspect of the Managers has a parallel in Eliot's attacks on commercialism in The Waste Land in his descriptions of the crowds of anonymous, robotic workers crossing London Bridge on their way into the City District ("A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,/...And each man fixed his eyes before his feet") and of the industrialized section of the Thames with its pollution and commercial barges ("The river sweats / Oil and tar"). Further, the Cubist nature of the Managers conveys an inhuman, robot-like, mechanized quality, while their functioning as both amusing and terrifying figures underlines the dual nature that they share with the Chinese Conjuror and the Horse.
The Horse, the third experimental character, perfectly illustrates the role of chance in artistic creation acknowledged in Cubism, Futurism, and Surrealism in that this creature was originally intended to carry the third manager (a dummy) who would introduce the acrobats; however, because the dummy kept falling off in rehearsal, it was scrapped, and the Horse performed alone without musical accompaniment since there was not enough time for Satie to compose additional music. The Horse was among the most incendiary parts of Parade at the premiere because it was considered totally inappropriate in a ballet, imitating almost exactly the antics of the cheval-jupon currently appearing in the clown act of the Fratellini Brothers at the Cirque Medrano as it cavorted on the stage, dancing cross-legged, kicking, sitting down, and standing pigeon-toed (Rothschild 33, 186). So popular were the three brothers at this time that a Fratellini cult had developed; indeed, they were even invited to meet the actors of the Comedie Francaise (Damase 31). However, having a horse appear in a ballet was going too far for many in the audience on opening night.
As the most daring example of the use of the common and everyday in legitimate or high art, the horse may have encouraged Eliot to be equally innovative in his poem. Further, the Horse exemplifies two other characteristics of contemporary art espoused by Eliot - the influence of the primitive and experimentation with duality. Not only was the cheval-jupon a part of primitive rituals, fairs, and folk festivals, but also Picasso's design for the head of Parade's Horse reflects the African masks and the double faces with which Picasso was experimenting at the time (see Marianna Torgovnick on the primitive in modern art). The underlying menace of the primitive residing in the civilized contemporary world is skillfully conveyed in the duality of the Horse's head. While the face with its cross-eyed expression looks comical from the front, its bared teeth as seen from the side make it appear frightening, creating "psychic displacement and disturbance,"a trait that would never be found in an actual music-hall horse (Rothschild 186, 189). The Horse thus demonstrates the blending of the primitive and the contemporary that Eliot felt to be absent from Le Sacre du Printemps, the transformation of the commonplace into art, and the complex ambiguity evoked by dual perspectives, all of which can be seen in The Waste Land in the ironic evocation of the ancient associations of fertility in the hyacinths carried by the sensual 20th-century young woman and in the allusion to the rituals of burying pagan fertility gods in a present-day conversation about gardening, with the frightening implication that rejuvenation is not likely in the modern world; similarly, the lines "Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men, / Or with his nails he'll dig it up again? exemplify the kind of duality found in the horse by suggesting that the traditionally friendly dog may in this scenario actually destroy the possibility of resurrection.
Parades innovative music and sound effects also seem to be echoed in The Waste Land. Satie's score is both radical and ambiguous in a number of ways, revealing the significance of his clever nickname, Esoterik Satie. Most obvious is its unthinkable combination of classical music (the ballet's prelude, for example, is a classical fugue) with jazz and ragtime tunes, reflecting the popularity of these types of American music in Parisian music halls and Satie's previous experience as a pianist in the Montmartre cabaret Le Chat Noir (see Perloff 45-85). As Cocteau points out,"two melodic planes are superimposed" so that the music "seems to marry the racket of a cheap music-hall with the dreams of children, and the poetry and murmur of the ocean" ("Parade" 106). Satie was one of the earliest great composers to insert popular, indeed commonplace material into serious music, creating a discordant effect analogous to collage in Cubist and Surrealist painting; according to James Ringo, "No musical style was too humble for him: that of the fair, the circus, the street corner. It is to his credit that he was among the first 'serious' musicians to realize that jazz was artistically worthy of his attention" (qtd. in Rothschild 39).
In this way, Satie was demonstrating in music the beliefs held by his collaborators that the commonplace could make a contribution to art, as seen in Cocteau's comment that from Picasso he learned that "a ditty sung by a street singer may prove more rewarding than 'Gotterdiimmerung," (Oeuvres 251). Satie subtly indicates his methods in the overture "Prelude du Rideau Rouge," which appears to be a "fugue of a classic nature" (Cocteau, "Parade" 106); yet as The Times reviewer for the 1919 London premiere notes, "He begins with a lovely little flowing overture, into which he drops queer hints of squeaks and crashes; before the ballet is over he is rioting in rich and suggestive cacophony" (10). For the ragtime dance of the Little American Girl, he inserts into the score "The Steamboat Ragtime" which in fact is Irving Berlin's "That Mysterious Rag" (1911), a widely popular piece featured in a revue at the Moulin Rouge in 1913 (Rothschild 88).
Eliot's use of the lyrics from "That Shakespearian Rag,' a tune popular in music halls at the very same time, is without doubt indebted to Satie's rag in Parade. The husband's thoughts in Section II contain a fragment of the chorus, reproduced almost exactly. The original's "That Shakespearian rag, Most intelligent, very elegant" (Buck and Ruby) is only slightly changed in the poem to "O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag - / It's so elegant / So intelligent," in which the odd spelling "Shakespeherian" is no doubt meant to suggest the way it sounds when sung. Further, just as Satie merges two unlike types of music, so Eliot combines the lyrics of a bawdy ballad about prostitutes popular with soldiers during World War I ("O the moon shines bright on Mrs. Porter / And on the daughter / Of Mrs. Porter / They wash their feet in soda water") with lines from two Renaissance poems, Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" ("But at my back I always hear / Time's winged chariot hurrying near") and Day's "Parliament of Bees" ("When of the sudden, listening, you shall hear / A noise of horns and hunting, which shall bring / Actaeon to Diana in the spring"):
But at my back from time to time I hear The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring. O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter And on her daughter They wash their feet in soda water.
And, perhaps reflecting the more classical aspects of Satie's score, Eliot's poem contains allusions to Wagner's operas: lines from the first and third acts of Tristan und Isolde in Section I (ll. 31-34, 42) and the refrain of the Rhine maidens from the third act of Die Gotterdtimmerung in Section III (ll. 277-78, 290-91). These uses of a "ditty" (the Mrs. Porter ballad) and of Die Gotterdammerung are an uncanny echo of Cocteau's comment about the value of a street singer's ordinary song and reveal the similarity of artistic beliefs and stylistic techniques espoused by the creators of Parade and by Eliot.
Satie's score is experimental in other ways as well. Its rapid shifts from one type of music to another reflect not only its Cubist nature but also the quickly changing acts of the music hall, the flickering sequence of images of the early cinema, and the chaotic, disjunctive quality of modern metropolitan life. In addition, they create dissonance, which marks the music as distinctly modern in opposition to the more harmonious and unified classical works then in vogue; as early as 1921, Propert described it as "noisy and discordant," pointing out, however, that "the blatancy and the dissonance were the deliberate choice of a clever musician" (56). The Waste Land's quickly shifting and disconnected scenes can thus be seen not only as reflections of the rapid acts of the music hall but also as echoes of these aspects of Parade's score. Satie's composition is noted for its wit and satire, and these too have correspondences in the poem's plays of intellectual wit (as in the superimposition of the contemporary prostitute Mrs. Porter on the goddess of chastity Diana) and satire (as in the attacks on materialism and meaningless sexual encounters). In general, then, underlying both the poem's structure and style are not only the acknowledged influence of Stravinsky's music for Le Sacre du Printernps, but also the unacknowledged influence of Satie's music for Parade.
Another important auditory element of this ballet is its sound effects. In addition to the noises of the klaxon, calliope, and lottery wheel associated with a fairground, the sounds of typewriters, airplanes, trains, telegraphs, sirens, and pistol shots provide realism and convey the frenetic, staccato pace and the mechanization of the highly technological modern world. Indeed, Satie said, over-modestly no doubt, that his score was only "a background to throw in relief" these realistic noises, which are, "in music, of the same character as the bits of newspapers, painted wood-grain, and other every-day objects that the Cubist painters employ frequently in their pictures, in order to localize objects and masses in nature" (qtd. in Cocteau, "Parade" 106). While to Cocteau's dismay the sound effects were almost entirely omitted at the premiere, they were at least partially restored in subsequent revivals; with respect to the 1919 performance that Eliot might have seen, Beaumont describes "the clicking of typewriters for the American Girl and the humming of an aeroplane for the acrobats" (150). This transformation of commonplace, contemporary sounds into art is echoed in the poem in the "dead sound on the final stroke of nine" of St. Mary Woolnoth's bells (which Eliot heard at the beginning of every working day as he entered Lloyd's Bank), the "sound of horns and motors" of City traffic, and the music of the typist's gramophone.
The front curtain and the set, both designed by Picasso, are equally daring, though in different ways. Beginning with this production, Diaghilev instituted the practice of commissioning contemporary artists to create a front curtain in addition to the set, so that the curtain for Parade was innovative in its very existence [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 4 OMITTED]. Also radical is its deceptive, double-edged nature. While it appears placid and conventional at first sight, portraying a group of entertainers in a simple, even primitive style, and is viewed by the audience while the orchestra plays Satie's largely classical overture, these expectations of conventionality are then upset by the ensuing production with its Cubist set, its cacophonous music, its innovative choreography, and its disturbing characters. In addition, the viewer's relationship to the scene is unclear; because of the stage flooring and the red curtains framing the scene, whether the viewer is in front in the audience or on the stage with the performers is uncertain.
Further, the situation and identities of the figures are ambiguous. Are they having a meal, relaxing, entertaining each other, and/or practicing? The group on the right, consisting of two women, a clown, a harlequin, a moor, a sailor, and a guitarist, are seated around a table and seem to be watching the group on the left, consisting of Pegasus suckling a foal, a ballerina or bare-back rider, and a monkey on a ladder. Both Nesta Macdonald and Marianne Martin argue that the audience is presented with a joke or puzzle to be solved, for the figures are actually caricatures of people involved directly or indirectly in the production of Parade, each of which provides a hidden clue to his or her identity: the clown is Cocteau, the girl beside him is Chabelska, the guitarist is Picasso, the girl with the hat is Olga (the dancer whom he was to marry), the sailor is Diaghilev (an allusion to his fear of drowning at sea), the moor is Stravinsky, the harlequin is Massine, and the ballerina is Sokolova (Macdonald 239-41). Further, Rothschild points out that the curtain combines different styles, compresses space, presents multiple perspectives, and makes use of strange proportions: the bodies, for example, are not entirely realistic in that body parts are missing, out of proportion, or in bizarre relationships to one another, as in the harlequin whose trunk faces forward while his head seems turned backward on his neck, thus presenting both frontal and dorsal views at once and defying reality (211-14).
Many of these techniques appear in The Waste Land with the same unsettling or confusing effects. For example, the reader's position in relation to the poem is ambiguous at best, since the traditional, noninvolved status is challenged by the direct addresses at the ends of Section I ("You! hypocrite lecteur! - mon semblable, - mon frere!") and of Section IV. Further, the protagonist has multiple identities which are constantly shifting, and many characters are described solely in terms of body parts (arms, hair, eyes, back, knees, feet, fingernails, hands), altering the conventional manner of presenting a whole person.
Parade's set is a Cubist cityscape with a steeply angled proscenium at the center, Italianate balustrades on each side, and characterless apartment buildings rising menacingly behind [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 5 OMITTED]. The bizarre angles and confusing multiple perspectives suggest disorientation, the enormous buildings reflect the dominance and their blank windows the anonymity of the city, and the dull ochre and grey colors typical of Cubist paintings denote monotony. Further, as Buckle notes, some elements of the set are reversed, seen as if "from the back or in negative, so that the windows of the building at the top centre [appear] lit up as if by night, while those on either side [are] black rectangles in a sunlit wall" (330). All conspire to suggest the nightmarish, chaotic, and alienating effects of the modern industrial city on its inhabitants. This first-time use in ballet of the modern city as the setting and as a powerful symbol of modern existence may have confirmed for Eliot his similar use of the city in early poems such as "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" and "Preludes" and encouraged or reinforced its major function in The Waste Land.
Although the city in Parade is Paris, Eliot's London in The Waste Land is quite similar. Its nightmarish and menacing quality is evident in such lines as, "Unreal City, / Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, / A crowd flowed over London Bridge," while its anonymity and dullness are seen in the bleak description of the desolate wintertime Thames: "The river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf / Clutch and sink into the wet bank." And the typist's flat, from whose window are "perilously spread / Her drying combinations," may well be located in one of those huge, featureless blocks of buildings caught in Picasso's set. A less obvious similarity is his utilization of the techniques of steep or contorted angles and multiple perspectives in describing settings. The reader observes both the crowds crossing London Bridge in Section I and the "hooded hordes swarming / Over endless plains" in Section V as if looking down on them from a very high angle, while he or she sees the tolling bell towers "upside down in air" in Section V looking upward from a low angle, creating an effect of disorientation and confusion. Multiple perspectives are seen, for example, in Section I in the abrupt shift from the German resort to the desert, suggesting that they are one and the same.
Massine's innovations in choreography played a major role in Parade's startling originality, and, as he explains in his autobiography, he was inspired to be inventive himself by the originality of his collaborators Cocteau, Picasso, and Satie: "I found that the music, with its subtle synthesis of jazz and ragtime, offered me excellent material on which to base a number of new dance patterns....Every innovation - the sound effects, the Cubist costumes, the megaphones - would set off a fresh train of ideas for the choreography" (102, 106). Cocteau in turn marvelled at Massine's ability to transform into dance movements the ordinary actions he described for him: "Massine is a Stradivarius....I think up every slightest gesture, and Massine executes it choreographically" (qtd. in Steegmuller 177). The dance movements are indeed based on reality: the Chinese Conjuror, for example, pantomimes the actions of Chung Ling Soo by swallowing an egg, retrieving it from his foot, and breathing out fire; similarly, the Little American Girl pantomimes numerous actions of Pearl White and Mary Pickford in their films, while the choreography incorporates popular dances of the day, such as the ragtime danced by the Little American Girl. The extremely fast tempo in both the Little American Girl's dance, done at "breakneck speed" (Rothschild 95), and the finale performed by the entire cast reflects the speed of modern life, no doubt an influence of the Futurists' promotion of dynamism.
Another of Massine's innovations in Parade is his use of angular, jarring, and mechanical movements, in defiance of the traditionally flowing and harmonious movements of classical ballet, as evidenced in the stamping, rigid movements of the Managers, the jerky motions of the Conjuror, the Chaplin imitation done by the Little American Girl, and the pigeon-toed prance of the horse. Garafola suggests that Massine's angularity was "perhaps the most dramatic sign of the modernist revolution in ballet" for it hardened the "soft and 'beautiful' line" that was a required component of choreography at that time (86). Sokolova's description of her performance of the Little American Girl's dance effectively captures all three innovations as well as the pleasure they evoked:
[Her entrance and exit] consisted of sixteen bars of music, and with each bar she had to jump with both feet straight out together in the front and almost touch her toes with her outstretched arms. This is hard enough to do on the same spot, but when it was a question of moving around a vast stage at full speed it was no mean feat. When it got to dancing rag-time in this part, whacking myself on the head and tripping myself up with the back foot in true Chaplin style, I began to enjoy myself. (104)
Eliot adapts each of these characteristics of Parade's choreography in The Waste Land. His use of similar bits and pieces of the commonplace is seen in his allusions to the lyrics of a bawdy ballad and a ragtime song, to taxis, closed cars, and automobile horns, and to dirty breakfast dishes in the typist's sink, among others. A concern with speed is reflected in the rapidly shifting scenes, the frenetic pace of the wealthy woman's series of questions and her threat to "rush out as I am," and the urgency of the bartender's ever more insistent announcement "HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME." Indeed, the final stanza with its dizzying, rapid shifts from fragment to fragment might be seen as the poetic equivalent of the ballet's exhausting finale. Overall, Eliot's adaptation of the choreography's hard, angular movements can be seen in The Waste Land's jarring rhythms of actual speech ("He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you / To get yourself some teeth"), its abrupt shifts from section to section, its unexpected alterations of line and stanza lengths, and its "hard" images from the modern metropolis.
The striking correspondences between Parade and The Waste Land constitute an impressive testament to the interartistic synergism so prevalent in the early decades of the 20th century, a period which truly gave meaning to the concept of"the sister arts" As indicated by Shattuck's comment quoted at the outset, perhaps never since the Renaissance was there such a high degree of collaboration among various artists, and, although Shattuck is referring to literal collaboration, as in Parade, his observation might fairly be extended to include the kind of indirect collaboration through various artists' knowledge of experiments and innovations in artistic areas other than their own and the ensuing interpenetration of influence that seems particularly evident in the case of Parade and The Waste Land. This mutuality of the arts might in part be seen as a response to the disruption and separations of various kinds engendered by World War I with the result that, ironically, in the artistic arena the war caused a creative ferment and interaction unparalleled in modern times. Certainly, the creation and first performance of Parade in the very midst of the war testify to the validity of that speculation as does Eliot's composition of The Waste Land in the disillusioned years just following the war's end; indeed, while the poem is in part the epitome of the ruins which were the legacy of the Great War, its daring innovations place it firmly in the context of the revolutionary developments occurring in all the arts at the time, so that it is not such an aberration as it has often appeared but a reflection of the artistic trends then in vogue. The creativity and vitality evoked by the literal artistic collaboration that produced Parade, which was a response to Diaghilev's specific challenge to Cocteau to "Astonish me!" and which Diaghilev subsequently called his best bottle of wine (Cocteau, Foyers 50), astonished and inspired the entire artistic community, one member of whom, I have argued, was Eliot as he composed, in indirect collaboration with its creators, his own great work, which in its turn had an even more powerful and long-lasting effect on the arts.
Permission to reproduce Fig. 1 is courtesy of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Theatre and Dance Collection, a gift of Mrs. Adolph B. Spreckels (T&D 1962.13) to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Permission to reproduce Figs. 2-5 is courtesy of The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, and courtesy of the Archives de la Foundation Erik Satie, Paris.
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NANCY D. HARGROVE, Professor of English and Giles Distinguished Professor at Mississippi State University, is the author of books on T.S. Eliot and on Sylvia Plath as well as more than thirty essays on 20th-century authors. She is currently working on a book about the influence of Paris on Eliot's work. She has held Fulbright Lectureships in France, Belgium, and Sweden, and has received numerous teaching awards.…