Eliot, Thomas Stearns. (1888 - 1965).
L i f e
- settled in England after the outbreak of WW I, became a British subject and member of the Church of England (1927)
W o r k
< influenced by the Metaphysical poets, Jacobean dramatists, French Symbolists, Italian Renaissance, Indian mystical philosophy, and the Bible
- uses unexplained juxtapositions, allusiveness, suggestive symbols, irony, wit, and colloquial element
- builds up his own body of imagery, symbolism, and references to supply the no more existing common cultural heritage
C r i t i c i s m :
“Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1917):
- defines and prescribes historical, religious, and literary traditions
- ‘no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone’ x but: only in relation to a larger tradition
“The Metaphysical Poets” (1921):
- justifies the contortions of John Donne’s poetry
- perceives a divine order beyond the physical evidence of disorder
P o e t r y :
Prufrock and Other Observations (1917):
> “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:
- a disconcerting and subtly evasive monologue, set in a symbolic landscape
- plays with politeness, failures of comprehension, and despair
The Waste Land (1922):
- edited by Ezra Pound into 5 interrelated sections with separate titles
- explores the corruption of a physical and figuratively urban desert
- plays with juxtaposition, inconsistency of perception, multiplicity of narration, and fluidity of time and place
- concludes with a series of quotations and his own line amid them: ‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins’
Ash Wednesday (1930):
- examines the aspects of religious doubt, discovery, and revelation
- celebrates the wonder at the epiphanies of a Christian God
Four Quartets (1943):
- relates each of the four poems to a specific place
- further examines religious moods and the heritage of human sinfulness
V e r s e D r a m a :
Sweeney Agonistes (1926):
- experiments with ritual, masks, dance, and music
Murder in the Cathedral (1935):
- the most successful x the least experimental of his plays
- concerned with the murder of Archbishop Becket
The Family Reunion (1939):
- concerned with guilt and redemption in a modern upper-class family
- combines the chorus from Greek tragedy and drawing-room conversation
(Photo: Geocities com).
AuthorThomas Stearns Eliot. (1888 - 1965). American. British citizen since 1927.
WorkPoet. Playwright. Critic. Author of The Waste Land (1922). Nobel Prize winner (1948).
GenresModernism. Poetry and drama.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
Poems of Distinction
"Portrait of a Lady" (1915)
"Sweeney Among the Nightingales" (1920)
"The Hippopotamus" (1920)
"The Hollow Men" (1925)
"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
From "The Hollow Men" (1925).