Dear David,
Which point? I don't read the early poetry that way either, but neither do many many "critics," whoever these unthinking masses may be.

>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>07/05/13 4:24 PM >>>
That's precisely the view I've attempted to repudiate in my book, Schlanger. 

Thanks, and Happy Fourth!


From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 2:23 PM
Subject: Re: TS Eliot - Poetry and Religion


I do not read the early poetry as a "desperate spiritual quest."  I hear a very controlled albeit less spiritually experienced poet defining the parameters of the modern quest.  Not desperation, not a "constant personal struggle of the poet with his inner demons."

Perhaps more attention should be paid to the public meaning of the words; despite Yeats' lyricism, critics seem incapable if separating the dancer from the dance.

Happy Fourth!

Eugene Schlanger

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 5, 2013, at 1:03 PM, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

"....his conversion to Catholicism."
I hope not too pedantic to observe that this is not so. It was High Church Anglicanism to which Eliot converted, and there's a fundamental difference, mainly relating to that fellow in the Vatican, to whom Eliot was polite but not exactly reverential.
Barry Spurr's recent book explains at length.
- who's off to Little Gidding Festival, Sunday: if anyone on here going too, please do holler.

On 5 July 2013 17:33, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Permit me, apropos the subject, to share a modified version of the preface I wrote for my book on Eliot's early poetry:

// The various attempts to find the fundamental axioms behind both good literature and good life, said Eliot, are among the most interesting experiments of criticism in our time.* And in 'Religion and Literature' (1935), he did not hold back to say that "literary criticism should be completed by criticism from a definite ethical and theological standpoint." The present book is a continuation of efforts in that direction. It unfolds layer after layer of Eliot's early poetry, specifically Prufrock 1917 and Poems 1920, to discover that it is here, for the first time perhaps, that the aesthetics of poetry has so subtly been wedded to the absolutes of a religious belief. 

The book is a concerted attempt to counter the widely prevalent but patently mistaken notion of Eliot's early poetry as something apart from his later poetry. For, despite the apparent differences between the two poetic modes, the leitmotif of Eliot's poetry, both early and later, remains the poet's desperate spiritual quest. In the early poetry what one envisages is that in the framework of symbolist aesthetics which commits the poet to the notion of impersonality, there is a constant personal struggle of the poet with his inner demons and, through this struggle, the poet works out a personal idiom, and a vision, with a spiritual orientation which finally culminates in his conversion to Catholicism. //  
(*I'm sorry I don't have the source at hand.)  

Well, so much has since been written on Eliot's early poetry that is in consonance with my views
(written in 2001).