University of Tasmania
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Towards \the river and the sea\" and beyond : revelations in T.S. Eliot's landscape imagery 1927-1942"

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:54 authored by Bowes, Patrick Harold
Of major literary interest because he attained almost pontifical status in English poetry, drama and criticism for an extended period in the twentieth century, T.S. Eliot appears today to have been a writer of apparently baffling complexity. An important aspect of this phenomenon is that his poetry (which generally shows every evidence of great deliberation in its composition) appears often to subvert his critical dicta. However, Eliot's landscape imagery, which derives very largely from his own experience and beliefs, particularly in his childhood and youth, faithfully reflects a variety of aspects of his personality. This exploitation of imagery of landscape, extending far beyond conventional topography to figurative and psychological landscapes in many forms, is an inheritance from, and a development of, major elements of the 'Romantic' sensibility of the early nineteenth century. Landscape plays an important part, too, in much of the 'Modernist'-influenced poetry of the Thirties in England, not least as a peculiarly individual source of material which nonetheless offers common interfaces. Thus, analysis of the manner in which both individual and common elements of their experience of landscape are treated by Eliot vis-a-vis his contemporaries, particularly Yeats and Auden, reveals some of the real premises and syllogisms underlying his work.


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