T. S. Eliot by Craig Raine

By Craig Raine

The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the 20 th century's most renowned poet and its so much influential literary arbiter, T.S. Eliot has lengthy been regarded as an imprecise and hard poet--forbiddingly discovered, maddeningly enigmatic.
Now, during this outstanding exploration of T.S. Eliot's paintings, prize-winning poet Craig Raine unearths that, to the contrary, Eliot's poetry (and drama and feedback) might be obvious as a unified and coherent physique of labor. certainly, regardless of its show up originality, its radical experimentation, and its staggering formal style, his verse yields which means simply as without doubt as different extra traditional poetry. Raine argues that an implicit controlling theme--the buried existence, or the failure of feeling--unfolds in unusually diversified methods all through Eliot's paintings. yet along Eliot's wish "to reside with all depth" was once additionally a mistrust of "violent emotion for its personal sake." Raine illuminates this paradoxical Eliot--an exacting anti-romantic realist, skeptical of the feelings, but frequently afflicted by means of the phobia of emotional failure--through shut readings of such poems as "The Love music of J Alfred Prufrock," "Gerontion," The hole males, Ash Wednesday, and so forth. the guts of the publication comprises prolonged analyses of Eliot's grasp works--The Waste Land and Four Quartets. Raine additionally examines Eliot's criticism--including his coinage of such key literary phrases because the target correlative, dissociation of sensibility, the auditory imagination--and he concludes with a powerful refutation of fees that Eliot used to be an anti-Semite.
right here then is a quantity completely necessary for all admirers of T.S. Eliot and, in truth, for everybody who loves glossy literature

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Sample text

In this Limbo, evasion is the medium in which the speaker exists; it is the oxygen breathed by ‘These paltry who never were alive’. The speaker is relieved of human contact. The ‘Eyes I dare not meet in dreams’ are gone. The speaker dare not make eye contact for reasons unspecified: Because the eyes are accusatory? Because they are erotic? We do not know. We know only that they are metamorphosed, transfigured, disguised. More evasion: the eyes become ‘Sunlight on a broken column’. ’ The speaker is avoiding some difficult, but unspecified human problem.

The real joke is on the timid men, ‘our lot’7—as opposed to Webster and Donne. For us, death—bones, the ‘dry ribs’—is a cosy refuge from discomfiting Grishkin. The locus classicus of timidity in Eliot’s poetry is The Hollow Men (1925), the first (radically different) thing Eliot wrote after The Waste Land. It is spoken by men without substance—without guts, without integrity—men who are spiritually gelded. But for this poem we need a different word. ‘Timidity’ isn’t sufficiently grave. Eliot is here considering spiritual evasiveness—the torpid version of renunciation.

E L I O T Two ELIOT AS CLASSICIST: THE ENQUIRY INTO FEELINGS ELIOT WASN’T ONLY THE POSSUM. He was also, briefly, a kiwi. In a letter to his cousin, Eleanor Hinkley (26 April 1911), Eliot describes a visit to the London Zoo, where he ‘gave the apterix a bun’. Seven years later, T. S. Apteryx, the correct spelling, was Eliot’s chosen pseudonym for two reviews he wrote for The Egoist—the first of Poetry 1916–17 edited by Edward Marsh (March 1918) and the second of Gilbert Cannan and Alice Meynell (April 1918).

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