Thomas Stearns Eliot(1888-1965)Thomas Stearns Eliot.
• 1888: he was born in St. Louis,Missouri.• 1910: he studied in Paris at theSorbonne.• 1915: he married the British balletdancer Vivienne Haigh-Wood.• 1917: he established himself as animportant avant-garde poet.1. LifeT. S. EliotOnly Connect ... New DirectionsThomas Stearns Eliot.
1. LifeT. S. Eliot• 1922: he edited The Criterion, anintellectual magazine. Hisprofessions included being apoet, a critic and an editor.• 1925: he became director for thepublishers “Faber & Faber”.• 1927: he acquired Britishcitizenship and converted toAnglicanism.Only Connect ... New DirectionsThomas Stearns Eliot.
1. LifeT. S. Eliot• 1930: for the next thirty years hewas considered as “the mostdominant figure in poetry andliterary criticism in the English-speaking world”.• 1948: he received the Nobel Prizefor literature.• 1965: he died in London.Only Connect ... New DirectionsThomas Stearns Eliot.
Before the conversion1917: Prufrock and other Observations.1922: The Waste Land. It is said to be“the single most influential poetic workof the twentieth century”.1925: The Hollow Men.T. S. Eliot2. WorksCover for the first edition of Prufrock andother ObservationsOnly Connect ... New Directions
T. S. Eliot2. WorksAfter the conversion1927: Ariel Poems.1930: Ash-Wednesday.1935-1942: Four Quartets.1935: Murder in the Cathedral.1939: Family Reunion.Only Connect ... New DirectionsA contemporary edition of Murder in the Cathedral
Modern/T. S. Eliot’s world 19th- century worldChaotic OrderedFutile MeaningfulPessimistic OptimisticUnstable StableLoss of faith FaithCollapse of moral values Morality/ValuesConfused sense of identity Clear sense of identityT. S. Eliot3. T. S. Eliot’s world and the 19th-century worldOnly Connect ... New Directions
Poetic form: a dramatic monologue.Content: the protagonist’s realization of death within life, the lostopportunities in his life and the lack of any spiritual progress.The speaker: a middle-aged passive, aimless man.He is linked to:1. physical and intellectual inertia.2. inability to communicate with his fellow-beings.Style: juxtaposition of poetic images with everyday phrases and images;objective correlative instead of direct statements.T. S. Eliot4. The Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockOnly Connect ... New Directions
• It is an autobiography written in amoment of crisis in the life of the poet.• It consists of five sections; it reflectsthe fragmented experience of the 20th-century sensibility of the great moderncities of the West.T. S. Eliot5. The Waste Land: contentOnly Connect ... New DirectionsA contemporary edition of The Waste Land.
T. S. Eliot5. The Waste Land: content• It is an anthology of indeterminatestates of the mind, hallucinations,impressions, personalities blendedand superimposed beyond theboundaries of time and place.• The speaking voice is related tovarious personalities: Tiresias, aknight from the Grail legend, theFisher King.Only Connect ... New DirectionsA contemporary edition of The Waste Land.
• The disillusionment and disgust of the period after World War I.• Contrast between past fertility and present sterility.• The mythical past linked to a new concept of History repetitionof the same events.• Spring Symbols: different from Chaucer absence of rebirth.April is the cruelest month, breedingLilacs out of the dead land, mixingMemory and desire, stirringDull roots with spring rain.(I section)T. S. Eliot6. The Waste Land: themesOnly Connect ... New Directions
• Association of ideas past andpresent are simultaneous.• Mythical method to givesignificance to present futility.• Subjective experiences madeuniversal.• Use of Juxtaposition.T. S. Eliot7. The Waste Land: styleOnly Connect ... New DirectionsFirst draft of The Waste Land, third section.
T. S. Eliot7. The Waste Land: style• Quotations from different languagesand literary works.• Fragmentation.• Technique of implication: the activeparticipation of the reader is required.• Objective correlative.• Repetition of words, images andphrases.Only Connect ... New DirectionsFirst draft of The Waste Land, third section.
For Eliot, the “objective correlative” is apattern of objects, events, actions, or asituation that can serve effectively to awaken inthe reader an emotional response withoutbeing a direct statement of that subjectiveemotion.T. S. Eliot8. The objective correlative: T. S. Eliot and MontaleOnly Connect ... New Directions
Both Eliot and Montale depict a desolate landscape. They both refer to a waste land of the spirit. This landscape is cosmopolitan in Eliot. It is a domestic landscape in Montale.What The Thunder said Meriggiare pallido e assorto(“Ossi di Seppia”)Here is no water but only rockRock and no water and the sandy roadThe road winding above among themountainsWhich are mountains of rock withoutwater.Meriggiare pallido e assortopresso un rovente muro d’orto,ascoltare tra i pruni e gli sterpischiocchi di merli, frusci di serpi.8. The objective correlative: T. S. Eliot and MontaleOnly Connect ... New DirectionsT. S. Eliot
• Linked to The Waste Land.• Main themes: despair and desolation.• No redemption is possible because of the lack of faith.• Parallel between past and present.T. S. Eliot9. The Hollow MenOnly Connect ... New Directions
• No celebration: the journey ispainful and meaningless.• At first there is the regret ofthe previous life characterisedby alienation.Written after his conversion to Christianity.Content: the journey to the birthplace of Christ told by one of the Magi.T. S. Eliot10. Journey of the Magi (Ariel Poems)Only Connect ... New DirectionsThe Journey of the Magi fragment of a picture with theAdoration of the Magi, Sassetta, Metropolitan Museum of Art,New York.
Written after his conversion to Christianity.Content: the journey to the birthplace of Christ told by one of the Magi.T. S. Eliot10. Journey of the Magi (Ariel Poems)• End of paganism in the last lines.• The Magus cannot feel at homeamong “an alien people clutchingtheir gods” (line 42). This capturesthe awkwardness felt by thefaithful among nonbelievers andvice-versa.Only Connect ... New DirectionsThe Journey of the Magi fragment of a picture with theAdoration of the Magi, Sassetta, Metropolitan Museum of Art,New York.