T. S. Eliot

Comments & Themes

T. S. Eliot. Study Questions. You can reflect and write a paper on the following topics:

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

  • The poem as site of the processes of consciousness. Experiments with the use of voice. The influence of Robert Browning (1812-89) and the French poet Jules Laforgue (1860-87). Irony and the "d?doublement" of personality.

  • Psychic conflict and subject experience. Irony and the subversion of romantic sensibility. The tension between "romantic yearning and intellectual detachment" (Bush. Eliot. 1983, p. 10).

  • The gap between the actual and the ideal.

  • The subversion of the romantic lyric. The modern version of the "song".

  • The interior monologue, the processes of self-consciousness.

  • The fragmentary nature of self-hood. Role-playing and Prufrock's identity. The social self and the inner buried life.

  • The flow of time. Chronological time and the inner duration.

  • Mythic and historic echoes, realities that intersect the present.

  • Who is Prufrock???


The Waste Land

  • The question of form. WL a poem composed of fragments. Its structuring principle is the collage that brings together a plurality of voices, allusions to different literary texts, quotations, a variety of languages, styles, genres and cultural periods. Is there a unifying principle?

  • The narrating voices. The multiplicity of interior monologues.

  • The fragmentary identity of selfhood. Who are the I and the you of the poem. Is there a unifying speaking voice? New modes of characterizations. The poetic persona as a multiplicity of voices. Points of view and the unifying persona.

  • Intertextuality, collage and allusion.

  • The mythical method.

  • The cityscapes and interior landscapes.

  • The quest.

  • History, tradition and confession.

  • Fragmentation and nostalgia for unity. Tiresias.

  • Can the diverse points of view, personae, voices be merged into a single character?

  • Women as victims.

  • The tradition of love. Modern and legendary lovers and historic characters. From fertility rites to the literary tradition (Wagner, troubadours, romantic love) and and authorial confession.

  • WL and The Golden Bough

  • Action, plot, narrative threads.

  • The collage as informing structuring tecnique.

  • Illuminations and Epiphanies in WL

  • The mythical method and the archetypal imagination.

  • WL as social and cultural critique of the modern world.

  • Death and resurrection in WL

  • "The great refusal": WL and Prufrock

  • WL and the Grail legend

  • The metaphysical quest in WL

  • The prophetic voices

  • The revelation of the Thunder

  • Moments of illumination in WL