It is partly this aspect of Eliot's early work, I suppose, that made it/him 'modern' and avant-garde.


Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote Monday, November 19, 2012 9:48 AM:


a footnote to Eliot  

My footnote is addressed to what David Fuller remarks as "Eliot permissive – poetry as verbal music or imagistic free play addressed to the unconscious". 

A most remarkable aspect of Eliot's poetry to me is the bold and uncompromising honesty with which the poet probes hidden layers of his unconscious mind -- especially its imaginings of a fallen state, its dim apprehensions of certain vague  imperfections and inadequacies -- and their imaginative enactment in the poems, at the risk of leaving himself open to misconstrual by critics. 

'Prufrock', 'Gerontion', 'The Hollow Men', and 'The Waste Land' prominently evidence this aspect of Eliot's work. 


Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:19 AM:

The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature
Edited by: Rebecca Lemon, Emma Mason, Jonathan Roberts and Christopher Rowland 
eISBN: 9781405131605
Print publication date: 2009

CHAPTER 48. T. S. Eliot
David Fuller


The chief use of the “meaning” of a poem, in the ordinary sense, may be … to satisfy one habit of the reader, to keep his mind diverted and quiet, while the poem does its work upon him: much as the imaginary burglar is always provided with a bit of nice meat for the house-dog. ( Eliot, 1933 , p. 151) I gave the references [to Dante] in my notes [to The Waste Land ], in order to make the reader who recognised the allusion know that I meant him to recognise it, and know that he would have missed the point if he did not recognise it. ( Eliot, 1965 , p. 128) Perhaps there is no conflict between these statements, but they at least represent //Eliot permissive – poetry as verbal music or imagistic free play addressed to the unconscious// – and Eliot prescriptive – poetry addressed to a reader whose ability to respond fully draws on traditions of knowledge, especially the literature of Greece, Rome, and Israel, on which (as Eliot put it) Western civilization depends. Polemical about the importance of educated elites as Eliot could be, he also expressed a desire for an audience that (like Shakespeare's) “could neither read nor write” ( Eliot, 1933 , p. 152) – though of course Shakespeare's audience knew the literature of Israel – the Bible – from hearing it read aloud in church. Recognizing allusion provides information about a poem, not knowledge of it as a poem – though it can all too ...