R> In "T.S. Eliot: The Modernist in History" (edited by Ronald Bush)
R> A. Walton Litz writes about Eliot and Latini in "The Allusive Poet:
R> Eliot and his Sources." The essay quotes correspondence between TSE
R> and John Hayward and has some of the drafts of 4Q (the "What!
R> Are you here?" originally named Latini.) It makes much of Yeats
R> as the Master. The essay starts on p. 137 but Google has a page
R> view limit so start on page 146. I hope this link will work.
Here's the opening page from your link:
When he came to writing _Little Gidding_ Eliot was faced with the formidable challenge of not only closing the sequence but of repeating a set pattern for a third time. He feared "signs of flagging" and told Hayward that the "defect of the whole poem, I feel, is the lack of some acute personal reminiscence (never to be explicated, of course, but to give power from well below the surface) and I can perhaps supply this in Part II."
. . .
In the first draft the poet's strange meeting at dawn is specifically Dante's with Brunetto in Inferno XV, and Dante's appalled cry is directly repeated:
And I, becoming other and many, cried
And heard my voice: 'Are you here, Ser Brunetto?'
But Brunetto was soon replaced by a more ambiguous figure.
So I assumed another part, and cried
Hearing another's voice cry: 'What? are you here?'
When Hayward questioned the disappearance of Ser Brunetto, Eliot replied that he "wished the effect of the whole to be Purgatorial" rather than Infenal. But he had another reason for enlarging the alter ego: the insistent presence of the ghost of William Butler Yeats. Eliot told Hayward that "the visionary figure has now become somewhat more definite and will no doubt be identified by some readers with Yeats though I do not mean anything so precise as that. . . . I do not wish to take the responsibility of putting Yeats or anybody else into Hell and I do not want to impugn to him the particular vice which took Brunetto there."
Memories of Yeats are intimately bound up with the making of the last three quartets. Two early versions of Little Gidding IV were drafted on the versos of pages that contain notes for the memorial lecture Eliot delivered in Dublin in June 1940, and the attitude toward the "dead master" expressed in that lecture is reflected in the moving first part of East Coker V. Eliot had come late to an appreciation of Yeats's achievement, but by the time Four Quartets was well underway he had recognized Yeats as "the greatest poet of our time," a master who spoke to all of Europe precisely because his poetry was grounded in the local and the personal. In the 1940 memorial lecture Eliot speaks of the process by which Yeats made himself "universal," returning once more to his old theme of "impersonality" in a way that clarifies many of the earlier comments:
"There are two forms of impersonality: that which is natural to the mere skilful craftsman, and that which is more and more achieved by the maturing artist. . . . The second impersonality is that of the poet who, out of intense and personal experience, is able to express a general truth: retaining all the particularity of his experience, to make of it a general symbol."
It is exactly this process of turning "intense and personal experience" into a "general symbol" that Eliot followed in the recasting of Little Gidding.
-- Tom --