Eliot versus Capitalism

An occasion for me to draw the list's attention to a poem in POEMS 1920:

Le Directeur 

Translated into English, it reads:

The Director 
Woe to the hapless Thames
That flows hard by the Spectator.
The conservative
Of the Spectator
Fouls the air.
The reactionary
Of the conservative
Go round and round
In a gutter
A little girl
In tatters
Looks at
The director
Of the conservative
Starved of love.

This poem, however, is not the sole instance of Eliot's humanitarian concern for the poor and the oppressed. It reverberates in the Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night, and is reaffirmed in his poetic drama, Murder in the Cathedral:

CHORUS :         We have not been happy, my Lord, we have not been
        too happy.
         We are not ignorant women, we know what we must
                                expect and not expect.
We know of oppression and torture,
We know of extortion and violence,
Destitution, disease,
The old without fire in winter,
The child without milk in summer,
Our labour taken away from us,
Our sins made heavier upon us.

Significantly, in The Idea of a Christian Society, Eliot offered the ideal model of a Christian order: a society actively engaged in the spiritual and ethical advancement of its citizens. And, in a broadcast talk in 1941, Towards a Christian Britain, Eliot stressed the need for Christian prophets who would alter the social consciousness of the people. 


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 5:35 PM
Subject: Eliot versus Capitalism (was Re: universities and "business")

An article more so for the critics then.

Those interested in Eliot's dislike of capitalism may peruse 'Economics' 
by Adam Trexler in 'T. S. Eliot in Context' edited by Jason Harding 
(Cambridge University Press, 2011). 

Eliot "envisioned radical economic reform based on collective 
deliberation and social conscience rather than measures that 
enriched the capitalist few". 


From: Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: universities and "business"

I've always thought it interesting that //Eliot's deep dislike of capitalism//
gets so little play among his critics.