T. S. Elliot: Tradition And The Individual Talent

Superior Essays
From the centre of modernity, dismayed by the world wars, with a sense of dislocation, and in a search for tradition, T.S Elliot, has remained a crucial figure in Literature and criticism. This essay aims to explore Elliot’s pursuit for tradition and order in response to the chaos of his society. The critical essay ‘tradition and the individual talent’ will be focalised on, to analyse Elliot’s scrutiny of tradition, and critics will be engaged to receive distinctive facets of the argument.

Elliot’s repeated emphasis on the necessity of tradition and culture may have been a response to modernity. Several critics argue that Elliot’s ideologies initially acquired influence from F.H Bradley’s theories of experience, and Maurrasian political
…show more content…
A true poet must adopt ‘depersonalisation’, and act as a ‘catalyst’ leaving no trace of his personal feelings within his art. Elliot contended with ideologies of Romantic poetry, disagreeing with depiction of personal feelings, and claims of individual genius, stating that ‘No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone’. (Elliot, 1997:41) This notion of holding ‘meaning’ as a whole, through embodying a ‘historical sense’ exemplifies Eliot’s image of a ‘simultaneous’ existing state of Literature. (Elliot, …show more content…
For instance, through stating that the ‘past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past’ reinterpretations and subjectivity were empowered. (Elliot.1997: 41) The distorted nature of poems such as ‘The wasteland’, asked the reader to discover their own interpretation amidst the scatter of verses. The reader was granted the ability of having an interpretation. Authority was no longer restricted to the poet; he no longer dictated meaning to the reader. These developments subsequently led to the formation of theories such as ‘The death of the Author’.

Arguably, Elliot also had an influence on Important figures in Literary criticism such as Leavis and Bloom. There are present mutual notions of perceiving tradition as continuously remade and rethought.

Furthermore, critical essays such as ‘Tradition and the individual talent’ and ‘Hamlet and his problems’ have had major influence on the school of New Criticism. These influences have made the study of literary theory what it is today.

In conclusion, Elliot’s theories may have been an amalgamation of the anxieties of his society nonetheless, one may still learn from his ideology of tradition. Elliot is now a ‘dead poet’ himself, therefore, to understand how literary theory or the metamorphosis of art has reached its point of existence today, one must study Elliot’s, poetry and theories

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Typically, cultural transmissions preserve central knowledge, principles, and beliefs across generations. However, rather than perpetuating culture verbatim, literature advances and re-evaluated pertinent values. The pervasiveness of terms such as Orwellian and Kafkaesque confirms this, as George Orwell and Franz Kafka’s central values have become normalised, remaining recognisable in contemporary literature and culture. Essentially, Orwellian or Kafkaesque works influence subsequent authors, who in turn highlight cultural values. Moreover, examining specific conceptions of literary influence challenges normative conceptions.…

    • 1250 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Eliot opens the essay by redefining the word “tradition” and arguing that criticism in his view “is as inevitable as breathing.” The first principle of criticism that he asserts is to focus not solely upon what is unique in a poet but upon what he shares with “the dead poets, his ancestors.” This sharing, when it is not the mere and unquestioning following of established poetic practice, involves the historical sense, a sense that the whole of literary Europe and of one’s own country “has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order.” A corresponding principle is that no poet or artist has his or her complete meaning in isolation but must be judged, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. As Eliot sees it, the order of art is complete…

    • 1137 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Addison conveys this idea by staying that “the judgment of a poet very much discovers itself in shunning the common roads of expression without falling into such ways of speech as may seem stiff and unnatural” (Addison 430). He also provides his readers with a way to achieve this type of writing by advising them to refer to the works of ancient authors of Greek and Roman origin. The language of these writers and their writing style are far removed…

    • 1783 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, this lover is not faithful and gives Shakespeare as much grief as he does pleasure. The poem I chose to analyze is Sonnet 71. The organization of the sonnet and the meaning behind Shakespeare’s thoughts of death and his proximity to it will be discussed as we dissect Sonnet 71. The Shakespearean poem, Sonnet 71, has the common format of three variants of a central idea and then a couplet to finish the sonnet. The three variants,…

    • 1115 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    T. S. Eliot Modernism

    • 1117 Words
    • 5 Pages

    He argues that personality of a poet is not important, but the poetry he or she produces is. Famously, he observes: “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality” (156). This is directly opposed to William Wordsworth’s viewpoint expressed in the ‘Preface’ to his Lyrical Ballads (1800) and the Romantic notion that “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. Chinitz notes in his article that “the rift between popular culture and high culture is indeed, for Eliot, nothing less than a further development in the general dissociation of…

    • 1117 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    TASK 1 : ESSAY Discuss the application of relevant theories of literary criticism in the selected text. Literary criticism from my point of view can be defined as the art or practice of judging and commenting on the qualities and characteristics of various literary works. Modern critics tend to pass down the concerns of earlier centuries, such as formal categories or the place of moral or aesthetic value. Some analyse texts as self-contained entities, in segregation from external factors, while others discuss them in terms of spheres such as biography, history, Marxism or even feminism. As the time passes by, the concepts of meaning and authorship have been explored and questioned through many aspects such as structuralism, post-structuralism,…

    • 2168 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    When Frost applies his ideas about form to the art of poetry, he shifts his concern with universal chaos to the “wildness” of the creative impulse (Harris 5). A poet should not attempt to place content in a chosen form, rather allow the ideas and thoughts come naturally, a technique Frost exercised…

    • 1469 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Author T.S. Eliot’s Influence on American Literary History Author T.S. Eliot, was an American-English poet, playwriter, literary critic, an editor and was a major contributor and leader of the Modernist movement in poetry. From his works like “The Waste Land” and then the what some call sequel “The Hollow Men,” Eliot’s style of writing not only had a huge influence on American literary history but also influenced many other writers such as Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite. After reading some of Eliot’s writings and then looking back and seeing what was going on during the time he wrote those pieces one could say T.S.…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Persian Poetry Analysis

    • 1447 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Each ideological paradigm has, in its own way, influenced the form, characterization, and figurative language of literary texts. It has set the criteria for indigenous literary criticism and has determined which issues related to politics, religion, or culture are to be the focus of literary journals (3). Talattof’s analysis of the characteristics of modern Persian literature is ultimately based on ideological and discursive changes. In contrary, some structuralist critics like Christophe Balay stresses on internal aspects of modern literary works. Using the ideas of Jolles, Tomachevski, Cheovski, and Eikhenbaum, Balay tries to study Dehkhoda’s Charand o Parand founded on a formalism and structuralism (78).…

    • 1447 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Stephen Fry

    • 1179 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Nostalgia has a dirty habit of making us lust for an unobtainable past; of clinging onto the romance of a tragedy that, at the time, would have destroyed us. Stephen Fry has launched his attack on modern verse for abandoning the wearisome…

    • 1179 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays