T. S. Eliot Research Paper

1335 Words 6 Pages
According to T.S. Eliot, a perfect critic detaches himself from the biography, political and socioeconomic commentary that a literary text may be about. The perfect critic distances himself emotionally from the work he is critiquing and does not let his emotions disturb his thought process. In this way, the perfect critic illuminates the work he is critiquing rather than associating it with his emotions. The first issue I have with Eliot’s argument is that it relies too heavily on the idea that that all critics should subscribe to the notion of “New Criticism” and that those who are not willing to abide by the laws are bad critics to begin with. In Arthur Symons critique of Antony and Cleopatra, he relies heavily on his emotional impressions of this play to critique the work itself (qtd. 8). Eliot disregards Symons critique calling it “impressionistic criticism” and refers to Symons critique as “[he is] living through the play as one might live it through in the theatre; recounting, commenting…” (8). Symons would not be one of Eliot’s ideal critics, because he failed to …show more content…
We criticize works to contribute to the overall knowledge gained within a shared community. We do not criticize works without wanting to engage in an active discourse. To assume that as critics, in order to be perfect is to also be emotionless, makes the mistake in assuming that we as humans are capable of disconnecting our emotions. It is not possible to turn off such an intrinsic part of the human experience, and to expect that we do so while critiquing, misses the point of being a critic. What we must reach is a happy medium. We must define criticism as the abstract art it is, rather than trying to tie it down in concrete words. For literary criticism itself will always remain subjective in definition to the person who is asked to define it. A critic should not have to turn off his emotions to be a ‘perfect critic,’ nor should we expect him

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