This title includes in-depth critical discussions of his life and works. This is a collection of fourteen essays by leading scholars examining the poetry, plays, criticism, and life of the Nobel laureate T.S. Eliot. Representing the best of a broad range of critical perspectives from the psychoanalytic to the poststructural, the volume serves as an excellent introduction to Eliot's works and the critical conversation surrounding them. Each piece is introduced by John Paul Riquelme, Professor of English at Boston University and author of "Harmony of Dissonances: T.S. Eliot, Romanticism, and Imagination" (1991). In his introductions, Riquelme distills each author's key insights and relates them to the wider conversation of Eliot's work. Original essays illuminate the influences that shaped Eliot, contextualize his work, and assess his enduring impact on American and British poetry, drama, and literary theory.
A biography of Eliot's early life sketches the familial, intellectual, social and cultural forces that formed his aesthetic and character; a reception history engages Eliot's initial success with "The Waste Land" in light of the critical controversies that followed in his later years and after his death; a comparison of Eliot's and Robert Browning's works finds that Eliot may have been more strongly influenced by the Victorian poet than he ever publicly acknowledged; and, a reading of "The Waste Land" draws out how the poem's use of juxtaposition, polyphony, and allusion prefigures Eliot's later work in Four Quartets. Further, a selection of the most outstanding contemporary Eliot criticism offers detailed analyses of Eliot's most important works like "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "The Waste Land", "Ash Wednesday", "Four Quartets", "Tradition and the Individual Talent", "Murder in the Cathedral", and "The Cocktail Party".
These essays examine Eliot's poetry and critical writings through the lens of his relations to romanticism and modernism; analyze the psychic dramas contained in his early and unpublished poems; investigate the biographical details informing Eliot's work; assess the Eliot cannon and his contributions to poststructuralism; elucidate the spiritual vision of the later poems; and, explore the gothic elements pervading the writer's plays. Uniquely, the collection also contains an original essay by Paris Review contributor Gemma Sieff. Celebrating the beauty and endless complexity of Eliot's poetry while pondering his enigmatic character, Sieff offers a writer's perspective on one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century. Finally, a wealth of reference material, including a complete list of Eliot's publications and a full bibliography, rounds out the volume by giving readers ample sources for continuing their studies.show more