Well, one could certainly relate Eliot's classicism to his religious/spiritual quest, a quest to relate to a higher, timeless order. - CR

By Toni Pascual 
Universitat de Barcelona

an excerpt 

This essay does not undertake to give an account of Eliot's turning his attention to the literature of the past, or to sketch the different authors and periods that merit his predilection. Rather it is an attempt to describe a particular sensibility through which Eliot perceives the tradition. Moreover, this peculiar readiness to apprehend and revere an external order is what ultimately gives rise to the idea of tradition, and sets the tradition as a pattern of works and authors of the past that the poet must know. Derived from the notion of tradition is that of classicism; this can roughly be defined as the pursuit of order and external authority on the part of the individual artist, which makes him resign his illusion of originality in order to acknowledge his debt to dead authors. The masters of the past set up a pattern to imitate, a pattern that may already be found in the present to a greater or lesser extent but after which the artist must
 always strive, because only by its origin in the past can the occurrence of this pattern in the present be explained. This pattern stems from the common assumption that there is a bulk of human experience, timeless and universal, distilled from the life and circumstance of men in all ages, which can therefore be perceived and conveyed by different authors writing in different languages and at different periods of time. Thus the dead authors become classics, and their recovery is an essential condition to give full meaning to both the present and the past. Classicism can also be set, because of its [deprecation] of originality and its impersonal view of art, in opposition to Romanticism. 


 From: David Boyd <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Saturday, August 3, 2013 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: Classicism

//Apparent in the whole manner of his lifetime's (dialectical) reasoning, for example........ //

On 3 August 2013 22:06, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

On 8/3/2013 1:36 PM, P wrote:
>//Has anyone ever written on Eliot's Classicism vis-a-vis his religious/spiritual quest (which is the only meaningful dimension of his biography)?//
>     //LOL --  it's a bit like asking has anyone written seriously about T S Eliot's writing.  I think so.//
> Ken A