Print

Print


Whether or not a contrast and/or conflict of spirituality and sexuality
is the or a motor powering Eliot's poetry I do not know; my close
reading of Eliot is nearly 50 years in the past, and while I have
periodically reread Gerontion and 4Q since then, I have read no
criticism later than Kenner's (1959?) book -- and now, recently, the
essays in the Laity & Gish collection. 

But I would say this with some certainty. _If_ the banality of such a
contrast/conflict is at the heart of Eliot's poems, that constitutes an
almost crippling limitation rather than a strength -- reducing his work
to nothing much more than a complicated repetition of the legendary
sexual advice to the Victorian Matron, Close your eyes and think of
England. Much ado about little.

But I hope the poetry to which I gave so much attention in the late '50s
is a bit more sturdy than that.

Carrol