11 Beautiful T.S. Eliot Quotes | HuffPost
It is a poem of profound fragmentation and unease, of fear and breakdown. It is a potent mixture of the everyday, the normal and the simple as well as the abstruse, the alien and the seemingly unconnected.
The language is, for the most part, straightforward and even conversational, and so are the images, but the overwhelming sense of fragmentation makes meaning hard to register. April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
But at another, the reader is aware that the image of the emerging lilacs is serving duty as an image of something much more. Perhaps most striking of all is the elegiac tone, the emotional sensibility: The second stanza begins: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish?[PCS] P.S. Eliot - We'd Never Agree
Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Where the first stanza was naturalistic, with overheard conversation in a foreign language, with snatches of memory and emotion, this seems rhetorical, an ancient wisdom speaking.
We ask, too, where there might be a root system in this desert, where water may be found in a world of reiterated negatives: Three lines further on the verse carries a sense of the portentous and the oracular: And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust. The poem is enacting what it is talking about.
The Waste Land is a poem about consciousness an awareness of what existence feels like and self-consciousness an uncomfortable awareness of being someone with these feelings.
Poetry is not simply the expression of a personal emotion by the poet. It is the fashioning, the changing, the alchemising of a personal emotion into something altogether more universal, even objective.
Eliot was scathing about poetry solely as personal emotional expression. In two highly influential concepts, Eliot sought to find form for this universalizing process. Poetry and drama is actually looking for something external to an inner, personal emotion on which to hang and to transmute that feeling into something much more than an individual emotion.
The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. Eliot is marrying contemporary life with a whole tradition of European literary civilization. The allusions to Dante, to Baudelaire, to Dryden, Chaucer, Shakespeare and many, many more, are what objectify the desperately personal agonies of the individual voices within the poem.
They also give a framework, a received way of understanding life, and of providing significance and meaning. He is using the collapsed debris of European civilization broken to pieces by the Great War, brought into question by psychoanalysis, rendered intensely personal by his own pain and suffering and nervous collapse in a desperate effort to stop the whole project disintegrating utterly and irrevocably. Fast forward to Four Quartets, published between and The world is once again at war.
Eliot is separated from Vivien. He is a devout Christian. He is one of the great and good, although struggling still to articulate his vision and to find his voice. East Coker was the Somerset village from which his ancestors originated before travelling to America in the seventeenth century; The Dry Salvages a constellation of rocks which served as a navigation point off Gloucester harbour, from which he used to sail as a boy on summer holidays in New England; Little Gidding, a religious community in East Anglia.
The end is where we start from. Some other concerns return. The techniques are strikingly similar to those of The Waste Land — the employment of a constantly allusive second tier of references to images and echoes outside the surface of the poem, which give it both depth and meaning. Yet, here, the allusive world is so much more positive than that of The Waste Land — it is the imagery of the rose garden, of exploration, of Eden, of ancient buildings and previous generations that have left legacies.
And the diction itself is balanced, less panicky. It is much less personal than The Waste Land — there are no conversations overheard, fewer personal pronouns and personal stories, very few personal names. There is still pain in life, but it can be seen in a different light, the perspective of the love of God.
In an article written inEliot wrote: It is through the science of theology only that we can hope to bring to our own consciousness, and so dispose of, the unconscious assumptions, bias and prejudice which impair social thinking.
Some final reflections and questions 1. The nature of art and reality Eliot presents us with a world that, at root, is ordered, even if, on the surface, reality presents as profoundly chaotic. In using myth, in manipulating a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, Mr. Joyce is pursuing a method which others must pursue after him. It reveals a view of the world that is both extremely negative and highly redemptive. Eliot saw the world about him as defined by chaos, by futility, by anarchy.
For him there were affinities between the careful construction of a poem and the delicate but ultimately robust sense of coherence in creation: This presents the journey to faith as more akin to the discovery of a hidden world, rather than the creation of a personal world of virtue. This discovery is a hard road — it is the unflinching examination of life, the refusal to be turned aside by the disappointments of personal experience or to be turned cynical by disillusionment.
It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank, and listen to its low, placid voice. Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son's education, than leave it him in your will. These bitter sorrows of childhood! We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it If a man means to be hard, let him keep in his saddle and speak from that height, above the level of pleading eyes, and with the command of a distant horizon.
Ugly and deformed people have great need of unusual virtues, because they are likely to be extremely uncomfortable without them. There was no gleam, no shadow, for the heavens, too, were one still, pale cloud; no sound or motion in anything but the dark river that flowed and moaned like an unresting sorrow.
High achievements demand some other unusual qualification besides an unusual desire for high prizes. It is doubtful whether our soldiers would be maintained if there were not pacific people at home who like to fancy themselves soldiers.
War, like other dramatic spectacles, might possibly cease for want of a "public. If I got places, sir, it was because I made myself fit for 'em. If you want to slip into a round hole, you must make a ball of yourself; that's where it is. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.
George Eliot - Wikiquote
How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings are deadened? She and Stephen were in that stage of courtship which makes the most exquisite moment of youth, the freshest blossom-time of passion, — when each is sure of the other's love, but no formal declaration has been made, and all is mutual divination, exalting the most trivial word, the lightest gesture, into thrills delicate and delicious as wafted jasmine scent. One gets a bad habit of being unhappy.
There is something strangely winning to most women in that offer of the firm arm; the help is not wanted physically at that moment, but the sense of help, the presence of strength that is outside them and yet theirs, meets a continual want of the imagination.
Jealousy is never satisfied with anything short of an omniscience that would detect the subtlest fold of the heart. More helpful than all wisdom is one draught of simple human pity that will not forsake us.
Nature repairs her ravages, — repairs them with her sunshine, and with human labor. The desolation wrought by that flood had left little visible trace on the face of the earth, five years after. The fifth autumn was rich in golden cornstacks, rising in thick clusters among the distant hedgerows; the wharves and warehouses on the Floss were busy again, with echoes of eager voices, with hopeful lading and unlading.
And every man and woman mentioned in this history was still living, except those whose end we know. Nature repairs her ravages, but not all.
11 Beautiful T.S. Eliot Quotes
The uptorn trees are not rooted again; the parted hills are left scarred; if there is a new growththe trees are not the same as the old, and the hills underneath their green vesture bear the marks of the past rending. To the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair. Renunciation remains sorrowthough a sorrow borne willingly. Full text online In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction.
We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: He seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection. Every man's work, pursued steadily, tends in this way to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life. Chapter 2 at page 16 — Page numbers as per the Penguin Classics Edition He hated the thought of the past; there was nothing that called out his love and fellowship toward the strangers he had come amongst; and the future was all dark.
Chapter 2 at page 17 Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit? Chapter 2 at page 19 the rich ate and drank freely, accepting gout and apoplexy as things that ran mysteriously in respectable families. Chapter 3 at page 23 So soon as Squire Cass's standing dishes diminished in plenty and freshness, his guests had nothing to do but to walk a little higher up the village to Mr.
Osgood's, at the Orchards, and they found hams and chines uncut, pork-pies with the scent of the fire in them, spun butter in all its freshness — everything, in fact, that appetites at leisure could desire, in perhaps greater perfection, though not in greater abundance, than at Squire Cass's.