T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
born in St. Louis, Missouri
educated at Harvard
took British citizenship in 1927
converted to the Anglican religion in 1927
earned a living as a bank clerk
with Four Quartets, he showed his conversion
to fundamental Christian belief--showing
a need for faith in a fragmented world.
with Murder in the Cathedral, he further
established his doctrine. This is a
drama about Thomas a Beckett's death.
was a friend of Ezra Pound, who took scissors
to The Wasteland
Elements of Modernism reflected in Eliot
lack of faith
concern about man's inhumanity to man
no "true" love
destroying the past, refusal to see the value of the past
a need to create something to believe in.
Literary techniques to reflect Modernistic despair
abrupt changes in focus
not a clear linear organization
stream of consciousness
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
--composed in 1910
--published in 1915 in Poetry
--a dramatic interior monologue
--reflects an inability to act,like Hamlet
--images are not of nature, negative
--closure does not affirm a promise.
For Eliot, form is the largest difficulty facing the modern poet, who must find "a way of controlling, of ordering,
of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history" (Eliot,
"Ulysses, Order and Myth").