Classicism of Eliot’s poetry is, in fact, a consummation of Romanticism, not its negation. It’s a triumph of imagination.
“Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)”
The personal here acquires a more universal character without ceasing to be personal:
“I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?”
And the images soar as much on wings of Romantic poesy:
“The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.”
A transformation of Romanticism, if you like. Its spirit vibrant and alive.
In point of fact the point I’m making is nothing new. It was raised as earlier as that. It was made by Grover Smith too (TS Eliot’s Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning). Eliot, he wrote, was admittedly a classicist only ‘in tendency.’ Temperamentally a romantic, he abhorred the gap between the actual and the ideal. All the same Eliot paved the way for a new idiom of poetry.
The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot (Classic Criticism) C.K. Stead: Continuum
This alleged "new poetic" is over a century old; in other words, critics who treat Pound, Eliot, Yeats etc as "new" are duplicating the critics of 1920 who regarded Wordsworth and Shelley as the cutting edge of poetic practice.
Is there anyone on the list deeply familiar with the criticism & scholarship of the last 20 hears who can give real information on what 'now' is regard as "new"?
At the time when LBJ" rape of democracy in the Dominican Republic abruptly shifted my focus of energy, I was reading Merwin, Snodgrass, et al as "new," though my personal preferences were Pound & Pope. And even by 1965 the "New" critics were looking a bit moldy alongside Frye, Kenner, Davie, & others.