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T.S. Elliot

T.S. Elliot
…. (1915): one of his first poems, it was considered offensive and shocking, he was
influenced by Shakespeare in writing this poem, now it is considered as one of the most
influential poems; it is modernist, new and very interesting
Ash Wednesday (1930): first long poem, it is inspired by Christianity
Poetry and Poets (1934): the way talks about poetry differs from the way critics talk
about it
The Murder … (1935): the basis of the musical cabs, he talks about Samuel Becket
– he has been murdered (connected to religion)
- his masterpiece - there are four poems: The Dry Salvigage, The little kidding,
- besides poems he wrote plays also (mainly comedies)
- he worked as a literal critic – he has opinion about everything
- he argued that literature must be understood not in vacuum but in previous context
- his poems often incompressible or not connected
- he said that Jews were rats
- he is not an imagist -> he is modernist in different ways
- he was antisemitic – he was very conservative, he though that literature should be highly
educative (he thought that only people that have high education could do literature)
- he lived at the time were there was the revolution of the press, magazines, newspaper
etc., everything began more accessible and Elliot was completely against it, he though it
wasn’t worth it
- his modernity: he has really interesting view – he wanted to take all of the traditions and
make something new of it  his work is a remake of the past
- objective correlative: the only way of expressing emotions; Elliot used this phrase to
describe a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that
particular emotion
- Instead of saying Im sad I say it is raining, the sky is very grey, etc. = show, do not
The Love Song 1910/11:
at this time Elliot was very young, it was originally a longer poem but he got rid of a part
(5-10): the space is empty and incomplete, there are just shelf, there is expressed a
vulnerabity (a patient that just lays and cannot do anything etc.), it is better to be
overwhelmed and not to ask
(Lines 10-20): eroticism, it is about something connected to some bad experience, it is not
anything pleasant (the dirt of the city), the dust doesn’t touch the sky or anything – it keeps
down; animal image (it feels comfortable in a dirty city), it feels like a monster (it has all its
feature, for example it licks its tongue)
(25-30): there is always something upcoming, he is always very distant from the things he
needs to talk about, he is postponing the meeting of people and preparing for it but in the
end he doesn’t meet anyone, the reason he keeps saying that there will be time is a way
of criticizing society (he feels the society doesn’t want him to do whatever he wants to
do), he is making excuses because in reality, he is comfortable with doing nothing; he is a
man very aware of fashion (the clothing tells of what kind of person he is)
(lines 50-70): he is annoyed by the daily stereotypes, he is questioning what he should
change but never move further than that, he is being stuck in the moment, the expression
of loneliness (paradox: he is occupied by people who is lonely and he also feels lonely), in
the lines 73-74 he is questioning why he was born as human and not rather as claws – what
is the motivation to live?
(Lines 70-110): He is afraid to be rejected by woman, he says he misunderstood her feelings
or the way she may be acting around him, he keeps naming the things, he asks what else
he could do to get more out of life, he says there is no way to express himself
(lines 110 – 130): He is talking about not being Hamlet, he says he is full of high sentence –
it means sometimes other people think he is a fool and may not take him seriously, he
would like to participate in extra power, he is very concerned with what other people think,
he is kind of scared to be himself or how other people may see him if he was himself, he is
also scared of getting old; he talks about mermaids (they can be either good or bad and
drown him down), through them he is expressing the freedom he wants to have, it is the
women who are waking him up
The quote from Dante that opens the poem: “If I believe that my answer would be to
 from the play Divine Comedy, he is talking to a man (we don’t know the name),
these are the circles where the sinners are committing the …, the sinner gives advice to
someone in the churge to abuse his power and he is supposed to go to heaven but then
the devil comes and he needs to go to the hell because (the worse that you can do is to
try to change the order of circles in life); he is a fraud who change the way of events by
lying (he is lying to himself, to woman he likes, he doesn’t expose himself to the truth)
=> just be true to yourself and you will not go to hell
What is modernist in this poem?
= the dirt, the one-night cheap hotel, the city, he is influenced by cinema (the use of Jump
cut), a think of medical technology; the butt-ends – also innovation, we have modern
living conditions, modern characters, talking about low-class people; the fashion
The style: there is no certain pattern (it is free verse); a lot of musicality; his character is antihero (because he does nothing heroic) – it has already been in literature but it comes
more in the 20th century