Why do people not like TS Eliot? He writes some of my favorite poetry. Every opinion I read about him on here though is somehow incendiary, but nobody ever explains it. Why he bad?
They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
OP here, Just found an example. In a Borges thread lower in the catalog, someone said Poe was a shitty stylist. Then someone replied with something along the lines of how that's a TS Eliot-tier opinion, which automatically makes it pleb. What did he mean by this?
I love Prufrock, but The Waste Land is mediocre at its lowest and magnificent at its highest, which is seldom. If it weren't for Pound, he wouldn't be what he is today.
His book of cats is quite good, too.
Haven't read those yet but want to. I looked at the first lines of the first Quartet and liked the way in which he treats time as a unity.
I enjoy taking my time to appreciate a poet's work, even if it's only his or her most "famous" poems. I prefer quality of analysis over quantity of reading.
I wouldn't know about that.
I don't think somebody should comment on a poet's worth if they've only read 2 popular pieces that already have the stink of the critical gangbang on them. It would be like calling Melville shit because you didn't like Moby Dick or Burroughs shit because you didn't like The Naked Lunch
So one can only give his opinion on a poet if he has read all of his ouvre? That's ridiculous. Even more so because you focus on their popularity instead of their literary characteristics, as if you were implying that I read them because they are popular instead of because their importance in Eliot's works. Would I have a "better" opinion, according to you, had I read 30 less "popular" poems?
It's ok if you don't agree with me just because you fap to The Waste Land. I'd rather fap to Prufrock any day, because I consider it the greater of the two, but that's just me.
And I said I also enjoyed Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
Well, no. But if some retard comes along and says a writer I like is shit after having read almost nothing by them, I'm going to call them (read: you) an ignorant dumbo, like a little child who likes to smear his shit on the walls for attention.
There is a difference between reading every work of an author, and reading next to nothing (you). Read a few more poems and comment on something that hasn't already been critically analyzed to death, or shut the fuck up, because you'll add nothing to a discussion
Eliot wrote very studied, deliberate, smug, self-satisfied poetry.
His poetry contains a lot of intellectual posturing that doesn't go anywhere.
In my opinion, Ezra Pound was a much better poet. More passionate, more honest, less namby-pamby.
It's good that you are so passionate about a poet's work, but you should calm down because you are sounding pretty pretentious (even more than I did some posts above) while contributing absolutely nothing to the "discussion."
I didn't call Eliot a shit. Did you actually read my posts, or just got mad because someone doesn't share your opinions? Talk about little children. Prufrock is one of the poems I like the most; I even learned some passages by heart. However, I do not like The Waste Land because it lacks the poetic strength Prufrock had. I do believe that it is a great poetic achievement, and a very influencial piece of poetry, and I can appreciate it from a critical perspective, but I also think that some of passages lack what Prufrock had.
I insist, you are only focusing on quantity over quality. I read and analyzed thoroughly two of the most important works by Eliot (and his silly book of cats), yet you can only listen to someone who shares an opinion with you and who has read some obscure poem just for the sake of its obscurity. No one cares if you have read every single line written by Eliot. It should only matter whether you can defend your opinions or not.
I also do not see the problem with reading poetry "critically analyzed to death", as if criticism could exhaust a poem or worn it down. On the contrary, richness of criticism equals richness of interpretation, which only shows the merits of a poem and of its author.
No, I don't have any problem with literary allusions. I think Pound (as mentioned above) and Joyce are two examples of great writers who used literary allusions.
The smugness is in the tone of Eliot's poetry, the details he chooses to dwell on, his repetition of certain phrases, even things like where he places his line-breaks. It's a sense that every thing he says is of some great intellectual value. I tried to find an example but you can take literally any line of his poetry. The opening of the Four Quartets is typical. A strong sense of self-importance.
I can see what you mean, but in some works it actually increases the power of his poetry, as in Prufrock. Perhaps that is the result of his increasing importance and popularity in the literary scene of his time. Perhaps, too, it is part of his creating a literary persona as the new patriarch of English poetry (which he did become later on in his life).
>More passionate, more honest, less namby-pamby.
As someone who likes Pound as a man and an essayist and even thinks a few of his lyrics are fantastic, what the hell are you talking about? Pound was certainly more elitist than Eliot. He's a hard character to read, and its hard for me to read that out of him, other than his very early work like Personæ and Lume Spento. His best poetry is far more sardonic and brooding than the best of Eliot's.
Prufrock has its moments, but a lot of the images are pretty clumsy and arbitrary when you think about them. Why should the evening be "spread out" like an etherized patient? How is one supposed to picture the "hair of the waves" or the "chambers of the sea"? These all sound quaint and quirky but for me they are not logically or intuitively consistent enough to hold any lasting power.
Sure he was more of an elitist personally. But he wasn't content to fill his poems with witless aphorisms about nothing in particular and tepid, intellectual naval-gazing. I agree that this is easiest to see in Pound's early work.
I'm pretty sure you just don't have any poetic sensibility. No, really -- you don't have the capability to understand metaphor beyond a basic simile of "my eyes were stars that swam in blah blah". Read Eliot's essays, espeically The Metaphysical Poets, maybe Crane's 1925 letter to Harriet Monroe, and come back. If it doesn't help, poetry isn't for you.
Quite the contrary. I believe that the sky spread out "Like a patient etherized upon a table" is one of the most memorable images in the poem, precisely because of the diction.
The hair of the waves is "white", so it's a metaphor of the foam. If you have never gone to the beach, perhaps you won't get the metaphor, but it is pretty good.
I'll have to agree with >>7312138. Perhaps you don't lack "any" poetic sensibility, but you shouldn't read poetry literally or expecting easy images.
I'd agree except I distinctly remember him writing out a line of homer in the Greek and rhyming it against another line in English. One case but kek that's pretty strong elitism. Which is fine, though the best poetry is that which only requires strong sensibility, not intellectual reference, to grasp, in my view.
That said, I do like pound and even think some of his cantos are good. I always tell people that Papa Pound is pounding me into poetic shape. He even has me learning Old Occitan, Latin, and Chinese for the poetry. But as a poet he is really hard to put into a taxon, either for quality or for sincerity.
>all the 'discussion' so far ITT
Now I see why people like to discuss philsophy or just post memes. The actual literary/poetic threads on here are terrible. Nobody can offer criticism aside from vague personal opinions and vomited essays, and then everyone else acts like an attack on Eliot is an attack on their e-peen which galvanizes the thread into further combativeness.
t. realize I'm not contributing anything better
I dropped into this thread like 4 posts ago kek, only because nobody else had offered up his essays. They are CRUCIAL to understanding Eliot's poetics, or at least his motivation towards poetics. I don't see what's wrong with asking someone to READ something so that they can UNDERSTAND something. Christopher Jesus
>everyone else acts like an attack on Eliot is an attack on their e-peen
maybe it's because your criticism a shit
you can get decent replies here but your content has to be high quality. I've seen it
I understand that the waves are white, but I think pairing the image with that of combing hair is clumsy and creates a kind of awkward image.
Compare with Shakespeare's "pretty-vaulting sea", for instance, or (since you mentioned him) Crane's "rimless floods, unfettered leewardings / Samite sheeted". These are much stronger, more powerful metaphors, in my opinion.
So you prove you have some sensibility. But can "white" be the only thing you get from it? From the patien metaphor, what do you get out of it? Not at all a sense of helplessness, foreboding, sloth, perhaps drug-inducedness? Perhaps you feel an undercurrent of mortality, and the emotion thereby attached? This is sensibility.
Jesus Christ, Eliot is deliberately juxtaposing nature and homely mundane rituals of the middle class like combing of hair, attending art galleries, eating peaches, etc. It is a great metaphor contextually, you cant just pluck lines out of poems and say one is better than another.
The sense of helplessness etc. is there, and this is obviously the poet's intention, but again the connection is tenuous. There is no real reason for him to compare the evening to an etherized patient other than the fact that it suits the intellectual purpose of his poem. It would work better if it was an actual evocative, vivid description of what an evening is actually like that ALSO evoked a sense of helplessness, etc.
But they actually do. You must also remember that that stanza and the previous one are a poetic unity. There can be no combing of the waves without the mermaids and the wind. If you only consider a part of a metaphor as a whole unity, then you are missing the bigger picture.
But that is the great thing about that image: that in a couple of words (patient etherized) the poetic voice already evokes a number of feelings and images which describe the evening sky. It's not that the connections are tenuous, but that you are looking for something that isn't in the poem.
The only connection he makes between the evening sky and an etherized patient is the semantic coincidence that both can be said to be "stretched out". For me, that isn't evocative, it's just a dude wanting to make a connection between two unrelated things.
Poetry cannot be just sentiment and passion. It has to have intellect for it to be great. Or do you think that every great poem was left as in the first draft?
Eliot is deliberate, and intellectual, but that is not a negative aspect of his poetry, precisely because it depicts a deliberate and intellectual world that is now crumbled and in ruins.
the fact that you think 'studied' imagery necessarily precludes it from being visceral or emotionally potent when read is testament to how much of a fucking idiot you are. Do yourself a favor and never read Ulysses
When Shelley asks of the moon "art thou pale for weariness", he evokes both the actual appearance of the moon and a whole bunch of other feelings and sensations. There is truth and honesty in this metaphor.
When Eliot says "the evening was stretched out like a patient etherized upon a table", he's just exploiting the vagueness of the verb "stretched out" to introduce an image that he wants to introduce.
In my opinion, Eliot's comparison is weaker than Shelley's in this case.
You don't need to be an expert to give your opinions and discuss poetry. It's just like that other faggot who said that one cannot discuss a poet or a poem unless one has read the rest of his or her ouvre in its entirety. That's just childish, elitist, and idiotic.
He is sometimes accused of objectifying women in an aesthetic way similar to Conrad (i.e., by idealizing feminine charm and beauty) that earned him the ire of some feminist critics. He also has some portrayals of Jews that are less than flattering in his work. These elements in question typically serve to establish the sense of squalid, urban, spiritual and cultural bankruptcy communicated in The Waste Land, but the criticism is a valid one.
I love TS Eliot's poetry, particularly the spiritual aspect. Can anyone recommended me any poets who have similar spiritual concerns? Preferably modern era? I've read Trakl, Yeats, Neruda, Lorca, Heaney. But none can compare to ol' TS
Eliot's poetry is effeminate. It's poetry for c.uckolds (not meme'ing here). It's a kind of weak, lukewarm despair that runs throughout all his poetry. His entire poetry is a testament to the "decay of western culture", yet there is nothing that stinks more of decay than his poetry - coincidentally, this is precisely the reason that C. S. Lewis abhorred Eliot's poetry.
The reason I am disgusted by Eliot's poetry is that it has basically one theme, viz. "decline of western culture", and one approach to it, viz. tepid despair. His poetry is for pretentious bourgeois c.uckolds who drink tea from fancy cups. They read the poetry silently, in their heads, while sat in their study. They think they're really clever because they understand the signs of "cultural decay". Really, they are pretentious prigs, typical puritans.
I think that T. S. Eliot is in a way the worst of poets, the worst of the 20th century surely. This is not because he didn't have any talent. He was very intelligent, but "the corruption of the best is the worst". In an essay on Milton, Eliot says that while Milton was a great poet, it was a good thing that nobody tried to imitate him, because his language was too stilted and it would have been a bad influence on literature. EXACTLY this applies to Eliot himself. He was "great" in his own peculiar way, but he has had an AWFUL influence. Unlike Milton, he has countless imitators. There's a distinctly modern form of writing that is exemplified in Eliot, I call it "phrase fetishism", it's a fetish for slick phrases. In Eliot you have things like, "Do I dare, disturb the universe?", "I will show your fear in a handful of dust", "shantih shantih shantih", "O O O that Shakespearen rag", "this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper", and so on. The key to this is not that the phrases themselves are somehow illegitimate, it's the way they are shoved in without any introduction or resolution. They are shoved in like a random dissonant phrase in a modern music composition, or like a jazz improvisation. Theses phrases come across to the easily-impressed as "profound", but they are a hoax. Eliot's phrase, "a heap of broken images", describes his own poetry best. This phrase fetishism leads to modern writing like this (I'm just quoting the lyrics of modern musician Joanna Newsom):
>The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow
>set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport of the pharaoh.
>Little while later, the Pharisees dragged a comb through the meadow.
>Do you remember what they called up to you and me, in our window?
>The cause is Ozymandian.
>The map of Sapokanikan
>is sanded and beveled,
>the land lone and leveled
>by some unrecorded and powerful hand
>which plays along the monument,
>and drums, upon a plastic bag,
>The Brave Men and Women, So Dear to God
>and Famous To All of the Ages rag.
I find this same phrase fetishism in the writing of pretentious indie music review site pitchfork.com (taken from the two latest reviews, I'm sure you could find worse examples):
>Berninger, for all his magnetism, doesn't help matters. Absent his backing band's grandeur, his poet-laureate-of-the-upwardly-mobile-schtick cedes way to a clever misanthrope in need of an editor and an Advil.
>All of this seems at odds with the sound Pictureplane has cultivated thus far. There’s a tame, almost downtempo vibe to a lot of this record that keeps it from beginning to end in a sluggish, not very dance-friendly territory.
I'm sure there's at least one of you that can tell what's wrong with this kind of writing. It's brutal. It likes to think of itself as the height of culture and refinement but it's really brutality, barbarism, a total lack of sympathy/feeling. It's really scientism in literature, analyticism. Snobbery.
Eliot's poetry is snobbery. He said explicitly that he thought literature should be an elite club and that a writer should be intentionally obscure so as to keep the uninitiated out. This is why literature is no longer relevant. It's why it's become a hobby for academic eunuchs and lesbians. The truth is, that literature doesn't exist. Literature was invented in the 19th century along with "western civilisation", a secular humanist narrative running on evolutionary principles.
Let's quote from Eliot:
>The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity.
>No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism.
>What happens when a new work of art is created, is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new.
>Some one said: "The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did." Precisely, and they are that which we know.
This is Eliot's historicist view of "literature". It's the theory of evolution applied to literature, just as Hegel applied it to philosophy and Marx to economics.
This is the big lie, the great delusion. Look at that last quote:
> "The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did." Precisely, and they are that which we know.
Nope. We DON'T know the dead writers. The problem is that these 20th century academic scholars only know the dead writers in an academic scholarly way. Homer didn't write "literature" to be analysed in terms of "literary devices", he wrote songs to be sung by young and old men. Unless you've sang Homer you don't know shit about Homer. These academics read Homer silently in their studies and dissect it analytically. This isn't Homer.
Homer wrote to sing the praises of heroes.
Virgil wrote to glorify Rome.
Chaucer wrote tales to charm & entertain.
Shakespeare wrote to depict human passions on the stage.
None of them wrote "literature". Only recently have people begun to write purely so that they could be inserted into the mythical "literary canon". The older poets had more beautiful aims than to have their names on a bookshelf.
Eliot wrote about civilisation. Civilisation is not worth talking about. The old civilisations didn't talk about civilisation or culture, they talked about gods and heroes. Civilisation is abstract, it's a modern idea. Instead of talking seriously about the Christian faith Eliot wrote about the decline of "Christian civilisation". Christian civilisation has almost no importance compared to the Apostolic Creed, the Martyrology, the Mass. Civilisation is ephemeral, it's just the effervescence of a people's creed at best. Often what we call civilisation is just the luxury of nobles and merchants. The Renaissance is often depicted as the height of "western civilisation" but it was in fact a reversion and a sign of decadence compared to the Middle Ages. The rise of the arts is not a sign of a civilisation's health. The arts only become extremely important when tyrants need it to indoctrinate the people.
Rather than looking for the "historical sense" a poet should look for the "eternal sense". He should sing about what endures, not what passes away. A poet shouldn't view himself as a commentator on the history of "western literature". He should view himself as poets have always viewed themselves - singers of heaven & earth. Two lovers breaking up is a more interesting subject than "the decline of western civilisation", because lovers are something natural than have existed since the beginning of time, whereas civilisation is recent invention of relatively little importance (unless you're an evolutionist who thinks that man is going to deify himself through the sciences and arts lmao)
>Don’t trumpet complete systems, don’t line up conquests
>Of science (science, my God, science!) —
>Of the sciences, the arts, of modern civilization!
>Two lovers breaking up is a more interesting subject than "the decline of western civilisation", because lovers are something natural than have existed since the beginning of time, whereas civilisation is recent invention of relatively little importance
this, though the trick is to use the decline of the western civilization as the backdrop for your eternal story, that way you hit two birds with one stone
just choose the backdrop with care so it and the main story can support each other. like for example julius caesar from shakespeare. ancient rome is the perfect backdrop for a story about ambition, ideals and charismatic men. it's like a musical composition where different instruments must support each other
anyway this wasn't supposed to be written as "how to make great story", it's an observation on what the greats did
>civilisation is recent invention of relatively little importance
Agreed. I only listen to oral narrators. The written word is for plebs. It's recent invention of relatively little importance.
Well while this is the only well written post in this thread, it is obviously written from someone who only has a very basic cursory knowledge of Elliot.
For one you assume that the only thing Elliot was trying to defend or present in his poetry is this cultural decadence in the West (loss of Christian culture) and elitism. But this is just ONE of the subject matters in the Wasteland and not even it's primary concern.
You comment that poets should talk about what is eternal and not about what is transient, and you decry Elliot's analyticity with regards literature, but this is wrong. The Wasteland was a testament to what is eternal, the quintessential historical experience after WWI and the spiritual destitution and moral chaos that followed after it.
The Wasteland is about loss and pain. Not only personal, but also collective or cultural. Elliot sees dead men walking in London not because he wants a literary allusion to be presented to the reader, but because the England or Europe everyone knew was gone, swallowed by a terrifying modernism that killed millions in the trenches.
The poem ends precisely with what is eternal (value and virtue) and not transitory (human life, culture, memory,pain):
“Datta, dayadhvam, damyata”
Give, sympathize, control
Why is 'civilisation' inherently less worth talking about than gods and heroes? They're all myths people live by.
>We DON'T know the dead writers... unless you've sang Homer you don't know shit about Homer.
Aside from the contradiction here (you seem pretty certain about how to know about Homer for someone that doesn't know Homer), why do you assume Eliot didn't sing Homer? His work often flows beautifully/musically. I'd be surprised if he wasn't into poetry as performance.
>Eliot wrote about civilisation
>Instead of talking seriously about the Christian faith Eliot wrote about the decline of "Christian civilisation"
This seems inaccurate to me. -Maybe- you could say that about The Wasteland, but there's a lot in that poem so I doubt 'it's about civilisation' exhausts it. Prufrock on the other hand captures a whole load of very personal human things (ageing, memory, doubt, regret...) which I'm sure have as good a claim to timelessness as anything else. IIRC Ash Wednesday was more about personal faith than 'Christian civilisation'. And in terms of literature as entertainment, Eliot also did a whole book about cats.
I dunno, you raise some interesting points but it doesn't seem to me Eliot's a good target for them. Maybe the Wasteland specifically, or more obviously something like Matthew Arnold's On Dover Beach.
JM Coetzee trying to answer this question:
>The other (and broadly unsympathetic) way of understanding Eliot is the sociocultural one I outlined a moment ago: of treating his efforts as the essentially magical enterprise of a man trying to redefine the world around himself—America, Europe—rather than confronting the reality of his not-so-grand position as a man whose narrowly academic, Eurocentric education had prepared him for little else but life as a mandarin in one of the New England ivory towers.
I think when a person claims "That's a TS Eliot-tier opinion", they are referring to a sense of cockiness or overstepping boundaries.
That would be all well and good, except Eliot was highly intentional with everything he wrote. It's well documented.
Disregarding an author just because its a popular theory at the moment is stupid. Some authors intend to be connected to their work and this is definitely one of them.
Assuming the positive responses to this aren't samefagging, this comment series is a prime example of meretricious writing on here. It's like that guy last year who would dump so many crackpot connections and theories into his comments that people thought it was Pynchon himself.
There is valid insight here. However, you are making several grave mistakes that undermine the message-
>This is why literature is no longer relevant. It's why it's become a hobby for academic eunuchs and lesbians.
Both by percentages and absolute numbers, more people are exposed to 'literature' today than at the dawn of the 20th century and certainly in the centuries prior to it. You can cherrypick a writer like Shakespeare with a pastoral background, but you ignore the plethora of "academic eunuchs" writing alongside him and having just as detatched and meta-literary discussions as they have today. You can use sleight of hand to make people focus on Homer, but five seconds of critical thinking would remind people that the Greeks had an incredibility dense body of philosophical work on the nature of art/poetry/literature/civilization. It is as simplistic to say 'Vergil wrote [x]' or 'Chaucer wrote [x]' as it is for the scholars to say 'Vergil wrote [y]' or 'Chaucer wrote [y]'.
>Eliot wrote about civilisation. Civilisation is not worth talking about. The old civilisations didn't talk about civilisation or culture, they talked about gods and heroes. Civilisation is abstract, it's a modern idea. Instead of talking seriously about the Christian faith Eliot wrote about the decline of "Christian civilisation". Christian civilisation has almost no importance compared to the Apostolic Creed, the Martyrology, the Mass. Civilisation is ephemeral, it's just the effervescence of a people's creed at best. Often what we call civilisation is just the luxury of nobles and merchants.
You wax into the same strings of Ice-Cream Koan fetishism that you are indicting Eliot for.
>The arts only become extremely important when tyrants need it to indoctrinate the people.
>Rather than looking for the "historical sense" a poet should look for the "eternal sense". He should sing about what endures, not what passes away. A poet shouldn't view himself as a commentator on the history of "western literature". He should view himself as poets have always viewed themselves - singers of heaven & earth. Two lovers breaking up is a more interesting subject than "the decline of western civilisation",
>should should should ought ought ought
I'm not even sure this section was written by the same person, because it entirely belays the laissez-faire de-adacemicized attitude taken towards poetry in the previous comment. Who are you to say what a man who has been dead for 50 years (or any contemporary poet) 'ought' to write?
thank you. i was going to make a similar post on different parts of the post, but i 100% agree with
>There is valid insight here. However, you are making several grave mistakes that undermine the message
It's very much a surface reading and interpretation of Eliot, and the fact that it had such a good response here is pretty saddening. It confirms long-held suspicions that the majority of this board is composed of frauds and dilettantes posturing at each other, devoid of any real content
>It's like that guy last year who would dump so many crackpot connections and theories into his comments that people thought it was Pynchon himself.
>mfw Pynchon could be reading this thread right now.
Borges put it best when he said he's simply trying too hard to impress certain academics, I mean The Waste Land is a very elaborate Works Cited he's keen to show off.
Also, Elizabeth Bishop said he didn't have any pictures of his wife in his house, just needlepoint portraits of his own verse. So there's your ad hominem attack. There's also this >>7312265.
With Pound, it's all about the work a la >>7312144, whereas you get the feeling that Eliot is more into the cocktail schmoozing. Again, I'm talking about the man, but Pound wrote the Pisan Cantos after being held in an exposed cage. That did something to him, and it was more than Eliot ever experienced in his life. The editor of Eliot's letters has reached the latter years of his life where it's basically all thank-you letters and what not and has said he's just the most boring guy.
Works have an existence independent of their authors. The principle is, if I made a bed, and said, here's a great dinner table for you, you'd get mad. It's the same with words: if I say "I'll be home soon" and I'm back in six hours, I have violated all conventions for "soon." I can't really say "I understood soon as relative to the full span of my life" or some shit.
His name doesn't sound authory enough. It has a weak sound. An author's name must sound strong. Faulkner, Nabakov. Dostoyevsky now there's a fucking name. Eliot sounds like something groomed to be an airport novelist. Should have picked a proper nom de plume.
The Waste Land is one of those poems you really should read aloud. It loses something if you only read it. But I prefer Prufrock personally.
Though Gerontion and Morning at the Window are my favorites.
Is this statement of mine accurate?
Eliot is a Cultural-Christian poet who tries to evangelise to the modern lettered class not by showing them the light of Christian faith or the fire of Christian charity, but through appealing to their aesthetic sensibilities and showing them the decadence of a modern post-Christian culture.
Are you seriously claiming Virgil didn't write literature qua literature? What the fuck? Every single line of the Aeneid can be dissected and showed to be referencing multiple episodes of Greek epic and Roman history. If you think that Virgil didn't write consciously as part of a literary canon you are utterly delusional about the whole point of his greatest work. As for Eliot "only talking about civilisation" and not the eternal...well what the fuck was Virgil talking about? Fucking Roman civilisation for God's sake, how is that any more fucking eternal than Eliot's civilisation?
ACKNOWLEDGE that Francis Thompson wrote the greatest Christian poem in modernist verse.
The Hound Of Heaven
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasme d hears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest me.
I pleaded, outlaw--wise by many a hearted casement,
curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities,
For though I knew His love who followe d,
Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him,
I should have nought beside.
But if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of his approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clange d bars,
Fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter
The pale ports of the moon.
I said to Dawn --- be sudden, to Eve --- be soon,
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover.
Float thy vague veil about me lest He see.
I tempted all His servitors but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him, their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue,
Or whether, thunder-driven,
They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet,
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat:
Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.
I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of Man or Maid.
But still within the little childrens' eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me.
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair,
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature's
Share with me, said I, your delicate fellowship.
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
Wantoning with our Lady Mother's vagrant tresses,
Banqueting with her in her wind walled palace,
Underneath her azured dai:s,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice, lucent weeping out of the dayspring.
So it was done.
I in their delicate fellowship was one.
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies,
I knew all the swift importings on the wilful face of skies,
I knew how the clouds arise,
Spume d of the wild sea-snortings.
All that's born or dies,
Rose and drooped with,
Made them shapers of mine own moods, or wailful, or Divine.
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the Even,
when she lit her glimmering tapers round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
and its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine.
Against the red throb of its sunset heart,
I laid my own to beat
And share commingling heat.
But not by that, by that was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know what each other says,
these things and I; In sound I speak,
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor step-dame, cannot slake my drouth.
Let her, if she would owe me
Drop yon blue-bosomed veil of sky
And show me the breasts o' her tenderness.
Never did any milk of hers once bless my thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase, with unperturbe d pace
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
And past those noise d feet, a Voice comes yet more fleet:
Lo, nought contentst thee who content'st nought Me.
Naked, I wait thy Love's uplifted stroke. My harness, piece by piece,
thou'st hewn from me
And smitten me to my knee,
I am defenceless, utterly.
I slept methinks, and awoke.
And slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours,
and pulled my life upon me.
Grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o' the mounded years--
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst like sunstarts on a stream.
Yeah, faileth now even dream the dreamer
and the lute, the lutanist.
Even the linked fantasies in whose blossomy twist,
I swung the Earth, a trinket at my wrist,
Have yielded, cords of all too weak account,
For Earth, with heavy grief so overplussed.
Ah! is thy Love indeed a weed,
albeit an Amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must, Designer Infinite,
Ah! must thou char the wood 'ere thou canst limn with it ?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust.
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches of my
Such is. What is to be ?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind ?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds,
Yet ever and anon, a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity.
Those shaken mists a space unsettle,
Then round the half-glimpse d turrets, slowly wash again.
But not 'ere Him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal; Cypress crowned.
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether Man's Heart or Life it be that yield thee harvest,
Must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten death ?
Now of that long pursuit,
Comes at hand the bruit.
That Voice is round me like a bursting Sea:
And is thy Earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me.
Strange, piteous, futile thing;
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of Naught (He said).
And human love needs human meriting ---
How hast thou merited,
Of all Man's clotted clay, the dingiest clot.
Alack! Thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art.
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save me, save only me?
All which I took from thee, I did'st but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in my arms.
All which thy childs mistake fancies as lost,
I have stored for thee at Home.
Rise, clasp my hand, and come.
Halts by me that Footfall.
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
Ah, Fondest, Blindest, Weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest.
Thou dravest Love from thee who dravest Me.
IDK. The poem reads quite sincere to me. It's about Eliot grappling with his faith and his conversion to Anglicanism, and just jotting down his thoughts. Lines like "I do not wish to turn again" and "Why should the aged eagle spread his wings" seem quite honest to me among others. If you don't get any sense of sincerity from Ash Wednesday then maybe Eliot simply isn't for you.
L I T T E R A L L Y P R O J E C T I N G
I T T E R A L L Y P R O J E C T I N G
T T E R A L L Y P R O J E C T I N G
your disdain for some nuances specifically remind you painfully of demonified and shunned weaker mind modes of your own (personal psychology).
Eliot converted to Anglicanism and took British citizenship when he was around 40. Religion and faith, particularly as relates to Anglicanism and Catholicism, started featuring much more prominently in his poetry. Ash Wednesday is explicitly about his conversion.