"[T]he poet is occupied with frontiers of consciousness beyond which words fail,
 though meanings still exist."
'The Music of Poetry' (1942)
In 'The Social Function of Poetry' (1945)...
 Eliot revisits the site of this second 'psychological' objective correlative.
 Listing various functions of poetry, Eliot mentions
'the expression of something we have experienced but have no words for,
which enlarges our consciousness or refines our sensibility'.
This is the core of his argument in this essay --
 that, without expression, our emotions will atrophy.
The poet's role is to find objective expression for the purely subjective.
The poet articulates the inexpressible -- and makes the culture more articulate
 and, therefore, more sensible to subtle feeling.
This is quite different from the idea of the objective correlative as restricted to drama.
     Put like this,
 the objective correlative looks more intelligible
-- a refinement of the idea of impersonality in art.
 Every artist starts with his emotions and his autobiography
-- and addresses the task of transcending mere subjectivity.
Self-expression isn't the sole aim. The aim is to create an intelligible work of art.
The two functions of the objective correlative
-- to make emotion manifest for a theatre audience;
 to articulate one's inexplicable feelings --
are conjoined a little uncomfortably, like unidentical Siamese twins.
Craig Raine, T.S. ELIOT, pp. 134-135
quite a lucid exposition

--- On Mon, 12/29/08, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The patterns in TSE's carpet
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:26 PM

objective correlative
"But it is easy to see why this particular coinage is successful.
Its scientism -- with its misleading scientific connotation of
"formula" -- is a rebuke to belle lettrism. Yet, the idea is obvious."
"The objective correlative...is an account of the artist straining
to objectify and embody his subjective inner murk -- his buried life."
It's worthwhile perusing pp.133-136 of T.S. ELIOT by Craig Raine
(p.133 para beginning "As for repetition...") online at

--- On Sun, 12/28/08, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The patterns in TSE's carpet
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Sunday, December 28, 2008, 9:08 PM

Tom Colket quotes: "...apart from a few notorious phrases which have had
a truly embarrassing success in the world"

Indeed Eliot had every reason to be embarassed about almost all of those
phrses. I imagine the damage they did is slowly dying out (having for
the most part been confined to my 'generation" and the preceding ones,
with only a scattering of younger critics poisoned. Probably the worst
(and perhaps most notorious) was the objective correlative, the bizarre
idea that any delection of objects or events could mechanically evoke a
specific emotion. At some point in his early life Eliot must have been
tainted without being quite conscious of the fact with the vulgarities
of late 19th-century positivism! Just the facts, Maam! Just the formula
for the emotion.