T. S. Eliot and the Dynamic Imagination

By Sarah Kennedy

Cambridge University Press

March 2018

Book description:

How is a poem made? From what constellation of inner and outer worlds does
it issue forth? Sarah Kennedy's study of Eliot's poetics seeks out those
images most striking in their resonance and recurrence: the 'sea-change',
the 'light invisible' and the 'dark ghost'. She makes the case for these
sustained metaphors as constitutive of the poet's imagination and art.
Eliot was haunted by recurrence. His work is full of moments of luminous
recognitions, moments in which a writer discovers both subject and
appropriate image. This book examines such moments of recognition and
invocation by reference to three clusters of imagery, drawing on the
contemporary languages of literary criticism, psychology, physics and
anthropology. Eliot's transposition of these registers, at turns wary and
beguiled, interweaves modern understandings of originary processes in the
human and natural world with a poet's preoccupation with language. The
metaphors arising from these intersections generate the imaginative logic
of Eliot's poetry.