William Shakespeare 's The Waste Land And Richard Aldington 's Choricos
1169 Words Nov 6th, 2014 null Page
Modernism is a movement in literature that began in the first years of the 20th century. One of its main goals was to revitalise literature and free it from the boundaries of literary tradition. However, different modernists had contrasting ideas about how this goal should be achieved. T. S. Eliot thought that artists can never truly break free from literary canon and that they should use it as a stepping stone that can help them improve their works. He believed that any work of art, no matter how novel, can be traced back to an older one and that this is not a threat to modernism, but an opportunity for improvement. On the other hand, there were artists like Richard Aldington who thought that literary canon is obsolete and has no place in modernist literature.
T. S. Eliot’s argument that literary tradition is beneficial, rather than detrimental for the modernist writer can be most clearly seen in the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent: ‘if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, nut the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously” (Eliot/Rainey, 152). This does not mean that the artist should aim to imitate those who came before him, but that he should try to reiterate what he has learned from his ancestors…