T. S. Eliot and Modern Sensibility

By Fatemeh Azizmohammdi, Department of English Literature, Arak Branch, Islamic Azad University, Arak, Iran
TS_Eliot_and_Modern copyThe Four Quartets, as a spiritual autobiography like Wordsworth’s The Prelude, makes, in a sense, the completion of the chastening process, and shows and ‘apparent’ because ‘what might have been’ is admittedly ‘a perpetual possibility’ – though ‘only in a world of speculation’ – and, as such, and eternal allurement to the humankind who in any case, cannot bear too much reality’. At the end of his major work, the poet says, “All shall be well …… when …….. the fire and the rose are one”. In this desire for the fire becoming rose and vice versa, do we not see here the same adolescent boy wishing for ‘brighter, tropic flowers’? All shall be well when the white flowers and the tropic flowers are one. In my end is my beginning.
Thus it is possible to view Eliot’s entire poetic output as one integrated whole shot through and through with the romantic discontent with the present and the desire for the unattainable. Further it is interesting to find that Eliot, like the Romantics displays to awareness of the need to change the idiom of poetry consonant with the changes in sensibility and our perception of reality. By now, it is critical common place to suggest that Modernism, like Romanticism, was an ‘experiment’ directed at effecting a radical reorientation in the poetic practice of the time. In Four Quartets, the ‘familiar compound ghost’ says.

         “…last year’s words belong to last year’s language

         And New Year’s words await another voice.” [7]
Read the complete essay: T. S. Eliot and Modern Sensibility
Another reminder that we’ll be reading and discussing more of  T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in our March session. On March 23 we will focus on “The Dry Salvages” and “Little Gidding.” Please bring your own favourite excerpts, interpretations and comments for discussion about these challenging poems.


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