> Since Eliot refers to those crossing London Bridge with the Dante quote
> about death having undone so many, do you think the implication is that
> London is a contemporaneous version of hell? The speaker's subject
> position is the same as Dante's after he and Virgil pass under the gateway
> to hell, as you note.
Here is the ending of T.S. Eliot's "London Letter" dated May, 1921
and published in The Dial magazine June, 1921. Note how he uses Dante
to comment on his work in the city.
As the prosperity of London has increased, the City Churches have fallen
into desuetude; for their destruction the lack of congregation is the
ecclesiastical excuse and the need of money the ecclesiastical reason.
The fact that the erection of these churches was apparently paid for out
of a public coal tax and their decoration probably by the parishioners,
does not seem to invalidate the right of the True Church to bring them
to the ground. To one who, like the present writer, passes his days in
this City of London (quand'io sentii chiavar l'uscio di sotto) the loss
of these towers, to meet the eye down a grimy lane, and of these empty
naves, to receive the solitary visitor at noon from the dust and tumult
of Lombard Street, will be irreparable and unforgotten. A small pamphlet
issued for the London County Council (Proposed Demolition of Nineteen
City Churches: P. S. King & Son, Ltd., 2-4 Gt. Smith Street,
Westminster, S.W.1, 3s.6d. net) should be enough to persuade of what I