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But he holds more insistently than ever to his main idea, that ‘for Eliot, the failure to live, the failure of emotion to find its proper expression, is an obsessive theme of his work.’ This emphasis is so repetitive that it amounts to a compulsion.
In the new book, as in these essays, Raine assumes that his readers are likely to be ‘somewhat impure and apt to confuse issues’.
It is my impression that he remained patient with readers of Eliot till 1996.
I miss Raine’s early assessment that ‘as an erotic poet, Eliot’s economy of means is equalled only by Wyatt.’ I hope he has not abandoned the far-reaching perception that travesty ‘is ’s preferred modus operandi’.
He seems to have allowed his early emphasis on Eliot’s graduate studies in Indian philosophy to recede.
Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic.
Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent.
It would not matter, if the world were divided between those persons who are capable of taking poetry simply for what it is and those who cannot take it at all; if so, there would be no need to talk about this question to the former and no use in talking about it to the latter.
But most of us are somewhat impure and apt to confuse issues: hence the justification of writing books about books, in the hope of straightening things out.
But it is not clear from Raine’s account whether my failure to reach my buried life is, according to Eliot’s poems and prose, a constitutional defect, a deficiency of character or a sin: is it always my fault?
And what would a fully achieved life be, if I could have it?