I was hoping to get to the title later but now seems
to be a good time as long as we are talking "old man."
In a recent job some Latinas nicknamed me Viejito, a
diminutive of viejo (old man). In another context it
could be translated, as Gerontion is, "little old man."
I'm hoping that, regarding me, it was more of an
affectionate term, much as Abuelito is Grandpa to
I'm not sure how Greek works but most commentaries on
Gerontion seem to indicate that it is much the same.
I don't consider Gerontion the man as little and I don't
see much affection in the name but I do see Eliot using
the familiar form because he sees something familar in
the character he created.
All that is disregarding the possibility of an allusion
to Cardinal Newman's "The Dream of Gerontius'" which
Southam says was reprinted in 1919.