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Obama on Eliot (quote courtesy of Bill Chace):

Quotation below from a letter Pres. Obama wrote when a graduate student
(cited in a new book about him by David Maranniss):

"Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats.
However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time.
Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless
mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity
and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read
his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets,
when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense
of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism
which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of
course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep
fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising
from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this
fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I
touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with
the western tradition at times."