Journey To The Genius Of T S Eliot

2643 words, 11 pages

Intro Sample...


It is impossible to say just what I mean!” – these might just be the exact words popping into one’s mind when faced with the overwhelming task of tackling, interpreting or simply reacting to T. S. Eliot’s poetry: especially if one is blessed (or cursed) with decidedly more emotion and sensitivity than most; ready to be swept off her feet at any given moment – by poetry or anything else. For such a reader, reading Eliot is nothing short of a religious experience: magic, agony, ecstasy. Anyone who has spent long hours, late at night, reading Eliot aloud to herself and experiencing that unbearable rush of extreme emotions can attest the truth of this. Anyone who dares to claim Eliot is “pretentious”, “highbrow” or “snobbish”, on the other... View More »

Body Sample...


Then, as we keep going back for more, we might choose to dig deeper and intensify our indulgence by unveiling some of the more mysterious images. If we choose to.

If we choose not to – being of the type who would rather rely on their own interpretations (or, not even that: their own emotional reactions) – we are still left with an abundance of intricate layers of meaning and feeling. If still nothing happens: well, then Eliot’s world is simply too distant from ours, and we should move on, and look for more familiar worlds. There is nothing at all elitist about that.

After all, art is – and has always been – distinct from, say, science, on the basis of the range of interpretation it allows. It is not exact and pinned-down like science is: this is only too obvious. Neither is it its direct role to instruct or clarify or give orders about how to live (just what really is the role of art is of course a more complex issue, not to be dealt with here). It is exactly for this reason that commentary such as that below from George Watson is plainly inexcusable:

The grumbles of J. Alfred Prufrock in early Eliot are endurable if they are meant to be ridiculous, but only then; and sitting around on Margate sands, or anywhere else, trying to connect nothing with nothing may be all right for Harvard men abroad, but (as Eliot must already have discovered when he wrote The Waste Land) it has nothing to do with the daily life of the Londoner.

Or with living anywhere. In a review of John Betjeman’s verse-autobiography Summoned by Bells (1960), Philip Larkin remarked ...

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