COMMON ELEMENTS·Desire to make a clean break with the traditions which camebefore them through·experimentation in form and style·attempt to directly represent the workings of the mind andthe unconscious·modernist works are: fragmentary, relative, favour asubjective perception of reality.
MODERNIST POETRY·Fragmented in different movements·Absorbed influences from other countries·Poets began to see themselves in more international terms.·FRENCH SYMBOLISM : Paul Verlaine, Stephane Mallarmè·CHINESE/JAPANESE POETRY: W.B. Yeats Ezra Pound
THE WAR POETSWILFRED OWEN (1893-1918)SIEGFRIED SASSOON(1886-1967)Gave a realistic account of trench warfare, were critical ofthe patriotic appeals marked a break in the lyrical tradition
KEY FIGURES OF MODERNIST POETRY:Ezra PoundT.S. Eliot were not English!W.B.Yeats Poetry was no longer something to enjoy or to confort (Victorian Age) but something necessary to confront the moral emptiness of the age.
IMAGISMpoetic movement started by Ezra PoundManifesto 1914·CONCISE USE OF LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY·FREE RHYTHM (free verse)·FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SUBJECT MATTER·REVOLT AGAINST ROMANTICISM
T.S. ELIOT·Completely rejected the Romantic idea of the poet as anindividual genius who communicated a deeply felt emotionthrough his works.·For Eliot a work of poetry is made impersonal by the tradition inwhich the poet is writing.·The originality of the poet lays not in his own voice but in theway he combines and manipulates elements of the old to makesomething new and add to the tradition.·He saw himself working in the broad European tradition
A CULTURAL ELITIST:·The poets role is that of preserving the cultural tradition froma barbaric civilization.·Poetry had to be difficult to render the complexity of modernlife.·THE WASTE LAND is full of references and quotations froma wide range of cultures and languages which are oftenjuxtaposed with scenes from every day life.·The connections between these are obscure.
MODERNISTSconsidered the experience of ordinary people as a poor,fragmented form of experience and often representedordinary peoples lives in a patronising or condescendingmanner.
T.S. ELIOT (1888-1965)·born in Saint Louis, Missouri from a New England family·studied at Harvard, philosophy at the Sorbonne, Oxford·settled in England at the outbreak of WWI·worked as a schoolmaster, bank clerk, literary editor forFaber and Faber publishing house.·in 1914 he met Ezra Pound·1915 he married Vivien Haigh-Wood·1927 became a British citizen. Entered the Anglican Church·1948 Nobel Prize for literature·1957 married his second wife, Valerie Fletcher·1965 died in London
WORKS:1915 The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufruck1922 founded the literary journal The Criterion1922 The Waste LandAFTER HIS CONVERSION TO THE ANGLICAN CHURCH search for religious certainties:The Hollow Men 1925Journey of the Magi 1927Ash Wednesday 1930Four Quartets 1935-42
VERSE DRAMAS: 1935 Murder in the Cathedral 1939 The family Reunion express Eliots christian faith CHILDRENS POEMS:1939 Old Possums Book of Practical Catsfrom which the musical Cats 1981 by Antdrew Lloyd Webber CRITICAL WORKS: 1920 The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism 1933 The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism 1948 Notes Towards the Definition of Culture 1957 On Poetry and Poets
THE WASTE LAND
A MODERNIST WORK:·It expresses the depression and cinicism of the post warperiod.·SYMBOLS: drought=death; flood=rebirth·A heap of broken images:no beginning, no end; thoughts appear unfinished;abrupt shifts; past merges with present; the characters are not clearly defined. CINEMATECHNIQUE .
THEMES:· inability to communicate·sterility·lack of love·corruption·the quest (search for the holy Grail= search for truth)
STRUCTURE·It breaks away from the canons of traditional poetry·Reminds of Joyces experimentation in novelwriting(stream of consciousness technique)·Picasso s painting·Strawinskys music
THE MYTHICAL METHOD WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL EMPTINESS OF SPIRITUALITY THE PRESENT OF THE PASTModern life can be more deeply interpreted if it is presentedparallel to equivalent models of behaviour from the mythical past.
OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVEIt is a phrase coined by Eliot himself whomaintained that poetry must be impersonaland objectiveIMAGES are the objective correlative of the emotions theyaim to suggest.So Eliot didnt describe the emotions but presented theobjects or the actions in a way that produced an emotionin the reader..for example squalid objects convey the idea of lack of love, apathy,spiritual death
SOURCESJESSIE WESTON "From Ritual to Romance" 1920:The Medieval legend of the quest for the Holy Grail tells about a land which is barren becauseits king "the fisher king" was wounded and sexually maimed. A Young Knight goes in questfor the HG and reaches a chapel where the Grail is kept.The land will be restored to fertilityonly if the knight asks the meaning of the Grail and of the lance that he sees during aprocession.JAMES FRAZER " The Golden Bough" 1890-1915A collection of ancient customs, primitive vegetation myths and fertility rites. In pre-christiancivilizations young men and gods were slain or drowned and then symbolically revived tofertilize the soil and make the arvest successful (with their blood and strength).
STRUCTUREFive sections:1) THE BURIAL OF THE DEADdeals with the coming of Spring in a sterile land2) A GAME OF CHESSjuxtaposes present squalor and past ambiguous splendour3) THE FIRE SERMONreinforces the theme of squalor, introduces Tiresias, a greek blind prophet, bothman and woman.4) DEATH BY WATERfocusing on Phlebas, a drowned phoenician sailor and on the idea of purification.5) WHAT THE THUNDER SAIDconveying the image of disintegration of Western civilization and suggesting itspossible salvation.Rain will come if man has learned to GIVE, BE MERCIFUL, toCONTROL himself (in Sanskrit)
SYMBOLISM:Eliot presents the emptiness and sterility of modern life at various levels:·NATURAL: the land is dry, rocky, polluted and unfruitful.·SOCIAL:people find it difficult to communicate with each-other (alsosymbolized by the quotations from different languages) and are unable tolove.·SPIRITUAL: people no longuer believe in religious values and in Christ asthe spiritual saviour.So only through rain, love and faith will our waste landbe saved and restored to fertitlity