Modernism : T.S.Eliot (An Analysis)

Modernism : T.S.Eliot (An Analysis)

T.S. Eliot – Life

T.S . Eliot – Works and as a poet
As a classicist , his style and diction, his metrical Art .
And his followers .
Let’s know his life
T.S. Eliot is considered one of the greatest poet of twentieth century . He immensely influenced English poetry. Born in America in 1888 and came to England in 1914 . He became British citizen in 1927 .
He was influenced by French writers like Bergson who was his contemporary.
He studied philosophy in Harvard and read Indian and Sanskrit literature . Do you remember “ shantih , shantih , shantih “ somewhere he wrote . we will be discussing later.
He wrote in “ After Strange Gods” – ‘ a year in the mazes of Patanjali’s metaphysics left me in a state of Enlightened Mystification.”
If you study transcendentalism you will find it was influenced by Indian mythologies.
Lets talk a little about his profession .
He was a teacher for some time later he edited The Egoist(1917-1919) and later The Criterion.
He was awarded Nobel Prize for literature and Order of Merit in 1948
Prufrock and Other Observations :
This work got published in 1917 and he portrays boredom , emptiness and pessimism of the modern age . He used Bitter , Ironical and satirical verse to express his feelings in this work
Because of this work he emerged as an original and skilled poetic craftsman.
Poems (1920) – it was of the same mood.
The Waste Land (1922)
This is his master piece and this is considered one of the most important poetic documents of the age. It influenced the post war generation. What Milton and Virgil did for their ages , T.S. Eliot did for his age.

What is important about The Waste Land
It attempts to portray the state of civilization out of which it grows, combining essentially the history of that civilization, its present condition, and it’s understanding of life, especially understanding of God.
It was time after W.W. I
So. The waste Land shows
A desperate sense of the poet
Age’s lack of positive spiritual faith
It is not about showing the devastation of the war but it is the post-war disruption of European civilization ,
The emotional and spiritual sterility of modern man .
The Hollow Man (1925)
Eliot shows a terrifying exposure of the meaninglessness of life without belief .
Ash Wednesday(1930)
Marks a new phase in his own development and he finds hope in the discipline of Christian religion .

Four Quarters (1944)
This work expresses intense zeal for religious truth, which leads finally to a new hope in the Christian ideas of rebirth and renewal.
T.S. Eliot as a Poet
T.S Eliot is a classicist which is in sharp contrast to romanticism. The main impulse behind his poetry is to give a new and perfect expression to truths and commonplaces of man and his world. In The Waste Land and The Hollow Man he describes the spiritual degeneration of modern man.
Diction and Style
He is one of the highest rank holder in modernist poets not only because of his selection of subject and his theory of impersonality but also for his invention of a new poetic style. It comprehends paradox , irony and contrast.
An example from The Hollow Man
Shape without form , shade without colour
Paralysed force, gesture without motion.
It is an excellent use of paradox .
Eliot was a profound scholar , thinker and a product of diverse influences – literary, anthroplogical, philosophical impinging .
Who influenced him ?
Elizabethan dramatists
English metaphysicals
French symbolists

Eliot’s Metrical Art
He was a great experimenter with verse and meters. He used more than forty metres. He forged new measure to express the complexity and intricacy of modern life.

See the in Four Quarters the calm abstract statement :
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps in
Time future .
And time future contained in
Time past
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

His Importance
He gave a new direction to poetry , as Dryden had done after the Restoration and Wordsworth at the end of the eighteenth century .
His follower’s
Edith Sitwell’s the wooden pegasus(1920) and Bucolic Comedies has impact of Eliot’s style. She exposes the futility and artificiality of modern life .
Rabert Graves’s famous poem Certain Mercies exposes the spiritlessness of moden man in terse and clear language.

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