Print

Print


LITR MA Jamie N. Berlin won the Dean's Award for Research Excellence for her thesis: "The Poet in Transformation: Dante’s Influence on the Aesthetics of T.S. Eliot in The Waste Land." Way to go Jamie!
 -- Christine Neufeld posted to The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) at Eastern Michigan University, December 2, 2012 near Ypsilanti

http://www.facebook.com/EgsaEmu

Best,
CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: Dantean Aesthetics in 'The Waste Land'

opening para of the introductory chapter 

---

Dantean themes are at work on a deeply significant and formative level in the aesthetics of The Waste Land.  Let me introduce a few of the ghostly allusions to Dante.  The opening reference to the cruelty of April “mixing / Memory and desire” (lines 2-3), for example, recalls the lament of Francesca, caught with her lover Paolo in Hell’s whirlwind of lust in Inferno, Canto V.  The allusion is relevant to Eliot’s aesthetic in the way that it suggests a relationship between the Hell of desire experienced by Dante’s lovers and the poet’s Hell of desire, which imprisons creativity. In Dante’s text, the pilgrim addresses Francesca, asking her to revisit the doloroso passo or “painful/sorrowful passage” (which is also the “fateful moment” of which their current predicament is the result) when the lovers succumbed to their desires, and a connection to the art of poetry is suggested in Francesca’s reference to Virgil.  Francesca begins: Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo felice ne la miseria; e ciò sa ‘l tuo dottore (Inferno 5:121-123), or “There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time in misery, and this your teacher knows” (my translation). While the doloroso passo also echoes the dangerous pass from Canto 1 which the poet has just nearly escaped, il suo dottore refers to Virgil, implicating the vocation of poet; and, because he is writer of the destroyed love between Dido and Aeneas, the passage also suggests the poet’s familiarity with the maggior dolor of memory and desire with which Aeneas leaves Carthage and the poet’s familiarity with the doloroso passo of love, in general, as a preliminary passage that encourages the transformation of the poet along the trajectory of the adventure narrative.

---

Great glory to you, critic, for bringing up this argument. I must ponder it awhile before I proceed. 

CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 11:47 AM
Subject: Dantean Aesthetics in 'The Waste Land'

The Poet in Transformation: Dantean Aesthetics in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (2012)
By Jamie Berlin

Abstract 

Dante was a seminal influence in T. S. Eliot’s poetry. Many scholars have acknowledged Eliot’s professed debt to Dante and have examined Eliot’s explicit imitations of Dante; however, few have pinpointed Dantean influences in non-explicit references to Dante, and few have credited the influence of a Dantean progress narrative across Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. This thesis broadly analyzes the principles of Dante’s aesthetic in the poem while analyzing the Sibyl, the Hanged Man, and the Prajapati parable for their relevance to Eliot’s aesthetic theory. When Dantean aesthetics and close readings of The Waste Land are compared with Eliot’s contemporary essays on art, a fuller view of the aspects of Dante’s fundamental influence emerges. In particular, the prominence of Dante in the sub-text of Eliot’s The Waste Land reveals the nature of their shared aesthetic—that art is a moral work by virtue of a spiritual transformation endured by the artist, which involves both a sacrifice of self and a substantiation of self. A deeper examination of Dante’s influence on T. S. Eliot yields a vaster understanding of Eliot’s aesthetics while helping to elucidate one of the central mysteries in Eliot’s theory of art, the role of “personality.”

http://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1794&context=theses

CR