There is a fear that humanity has become as cold and empty as the concrete buildings that surround it. Being conscious of such an alienation, he, as an observer, is in turn depicted to be in a state of mourning.
Friday, March 25, T. Eliot on the Metra: Eliot on the train, from the windows of which I catch fleeting glimpses into other people's lives: Eliot was, after all, a great poet of urban alienation, of the strange mix of intimacy and distance created by life in the modern metropolis.
The interesting thing, for me, is how both Yeats and Eliot act out versions of Tennyson's old dilemma in radically different contexts. Tennyson really does have two distinct careers: He had the dilemma because he inherited a tradition of aesthetic autonomy from one of the main strands of Romantic poetics Keatsian negative capability, Coleridgean ideas of polysemous symbolism and organic form, etc.
By the s and s, though, the public that had sought moral guidance in poetry was finding it elsewhere, and publishers were less interested in poetry relative to other genres than they had been. The public was rejecting poetry, and poets were rejecting the public right back, turning, with a new intensity, to aestheticism, to art for art's sake, and to an attitude that rejected poor old Tennyson as a stooge for the middlebrows.
When Harold Nicholson tried to revive Tennyson's reputation in the s, he did it by disowning the "Charge of the Light Brigade" side of Tennyson's poetics, and embracing the Tennyson canon to which we still cling — the side of the work that shies away from overt moralism.
This was, of course, to truncate Tennyson in order to make him more amenable to our tastes, and in a way to kidnap him out of his own context and fit him to the Procrustean bed of our own time. For me, this is a real loss, since we miss the struggle in Tennyson between two incompatible urges, the battle between the aesthete and the moralist, which was the real dilemma of the poet in his time.
It's a dilemma that Yeats and Eliot inherited differently. Yeats is, of course, drawn to esoteric wisdom, arcane and polyvalent symbolism, and to ideals of transcendent beauty for which one of his most famous symbols is the rose. But he's also drawn to a very specific kind of politically and culturally engaged poetry, a poetry at the service of national liberation.
The gymnastics he goes through trying to square that circle can be excruciating. Here's the beginning of the poem "To Ireland in the Coming Times," where he tries to make the rose of esoteric, otherworldy beauty compatible with the politics of Irish liberation: Know, that I would accounted be True brother of a company That sang, to sweeten Ireland's wrong, Ballad and story, rann and song; Nor be I any less of them, Because of the red-rose-bordered hem Of her, whose history began Before God made the angelic clan You can feel the anxiety: He ends up claiming that esoteric beauty and Irish nationalism are compatible by making up a kind of bullshit history, where Ireland's past was devoted to this rose, and where that past endures now in the "Druid land" of Ireland.
Yeats wants to have it both ways, but only by pretending that Irish nationalism is also aestheticism because of an ancient-yet-enduring commitment to esoteric beauty can he do it. And that's just one stop on the long, strange trip he took trying to work out those incompatible urges.
Eliot faces a different situation, since the politics of national liberation aren't really an issue for him, and there isn't really a strong constituency urging him to write for the greater glory of his nation. The Irish eventually made Yeats a senator, such being the esteem attached to poets during periods of national liberation, but that sort of situation hasn't really been available for poets from powerful nations like 20th century America: And it was just as impossible for Pound's more respectable friend Eliot.
In fact, Eliot was so far from being an American nationalist that he became not only an ex-pat, but a nationalized British citizen. What I've been thinking about, as I read Eliot's early poetry between glimpses out the train window, is just how Eliot's need for a coherent, rooted, traditional society grew out of his experiences of alienation as a young man in London [correction: Consider the experience of urban space in the famous "Preludes" from Prufrock and Other Observations.
The dominant impression is of a strange combination of closeness and distance, of constantly seeing other people in their private moments without actually knowing those people.
If you've lived in a little apartment in a big city, you know what he's talking about. Here's the second section of the poem: The morning comes to consciousness Of faint stale smells of beer From the sawdust-trampeled street With all its muddy feet that press To early coffee-stands.In conclusion, the poem, The Preludes, portrays the futility of human existence by depicting motifs of alienation, isolation and desolation.
T.S Eliot critiques the superficiality and pretensions of the changing urban landscape. Preludes is a pretty name for the poem written by T.S. Eliot - it suggests music, and also the presage of an event, usually something exciting or something to look forward to. It's written in free.
T.S. Eliot's poem, Preludes, like his The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land, and works by other modernist authors does not shrink from the 19th century view that certain subjects.
Mar 25, · What I've been thinking about, as I read Eliot's early poetry between glimpses out the train window, is just how Eliot's need for a coherent, rooted, traditional society grew out of his experiences of alienation as a young man in London [correction: in greater Boston, given the dates of composition for "Preludes"].
Dec 18, · The individual’s alienation from one’s Self and from human fellowship are themes that T.S.
Eliot explores in “Preludes” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. In “Preludes”, the speaker presents the people of his (or her) city to be unaware of their alienation from their sense of humanity.
Jan 04, · Upon first reading of T.S Eliot’s collection of work, I did not understand Eliot’s intent or purpose. I was bewildered, yet puzzled, as if I was trying to .