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One of his early influences was Browning's dramatic monologues, but I imagine that they appealed to him for just that reason. He has some lyric passages, but Elizabeth Drew called "Rannoch by Glencoe" his only great lyric. I think that is accurate. It is, by the way, a great poem and seldom discussed. Almost all commentary on those landscape poems treats them as if all are New England or as if only those ones count. Nancy Hargrove discussed it in her first book, and a few other critics have mentioned it, but it is not usually addressed.  But the lyric is the voice of the poet; drama needs at least two and usually more voices in some level of conflict. In Eliot it is generally internal. So it allows poetry that is both personal and publicly distanced.
 
My point is that it is difficult to say what that means for his work except that he chose it and was very good at creating many voices. Oddly, the characters in his plays are often not very human; I think he really caught voices in the early poems and in "Sweeney Agonistes." And often they are real voices. Ellen Kellond, his and Viv's maid, repeated to him the pub dialogue in "A Game of Chess," and he included it.
 
One possible view is that he used voices as masks or characters to remain supposedly "impersonal." But I think they are many parts of himself. There is a great deal of evidence for that. But for the poetry it creates a fascinating kind of representation of the self.
Nancy

>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>05/13/13 11:20 AM >>>
The voice of Eliot's poetry is essentially dramatic.

Could the list elaborate on its implications for his poetry? 

Not a new subject, though. So you'll kindly excuse me.

Thanks,
  CR