Vertical Manuscript Files & Manuscript Collections
- Charlotte Chauncy Stearns Eliot CollectionBiographical notes on T.S. Eliot, written by his mother, along with one clipping about him.
- Eliot Conference CollectionConsists of correspondence concerning Washington University's commemoration of the 100th birthday of T.S. Eliot with a two day conference "T.S. Eliot: A Centennial Appraisal," September 30 - October 2, 1988.
- Herbert Howarth PapersConsists of material relating to Howarth's book, NOTES ON SOME FIGURES BEHIND T.S. ELIOT (1964), including his letters to and from Eliot. Several drafts of the book with marginal corrections by Eliot are housed in the collection, too. The collection offers a unique opportunity to view the response of the subject of a critical biography to the views of a biographer.
- Modern Literature Multimedia CollectionRecording 0132: poets read and discuss Eliot; recordings 0133-0136: lectures by scholars on Eliot. All from the "T.S. Eliot: A Centennial Appraisal" conference at Washington University in 1988.
- Thomas Stearns Eliot CollectionThe Correspondence series consists of: five letters from Eliot to Collin and Lillian Brooks, and five letters and one telegram from Eliot’s wife, Valerie Eliot, to Collin and Lillian. The letters in total track the genesis of Eliot’s relationship with Valerie, and his emotional state at the time, in uncharacteristically expressive and candid fashion.
The Manuscripts series includes a revised copy of T. S. ELIOT'S COLLECTED POEMS, 1909-1935, with corrections and annotations in the author's hand, undertaken in preparation for a new edition, along with typescripts of a section titled Occasional Verses, to be added to the original edition. These typescripts include the poems "Defense of the Islands," "A Note on War Poetry," "To the Indians Who Died in Africa," "To Walter De La Mare," and "A Dedication to My Wife." Also includes a typescript of author's notes to accompany the poems, and an autograph list of Eliot poems, possibly in preparation for a reading.
- ModernismOther manuscript collections of modernist poets and writers of the 20th Century.
- Smith Academy JournalVol. for 1904/1905 bears untitled typewritten poem by Thomas Stearns Eliot, Class of 1905, tipped in on p. .
- T.S. Eliot Collected PoemsThe 15th impression of the first edition of Collected poems, originally published in 1936. Ms. note on front free endpaper: "This copy to be used in preparing next edition. Return to T.S.E."; includes insertions, alterations, and editorial changes made by the author in preparation for a new edition, published in 1963
- Advanced Catalog SearchSearch results for "Eliot, Thomas Stearns" across all cataloged items in Special Collections.
T.S. Eliot Papers Outside Washington University
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... tic structure to mythical method. Eliot's perception of life as nothing more than a struggle is expressed in his literary works by his use of realistic themes such as depression, human isolation and through his religious imagery. For example, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a dramatic monologue about love. On the other hand, The Waste Land and Ash Wednesday is more mythical and explains deeper into religion and God.
Eliot created his writing style based on his own personal experiences; therefore his poems all show incredible skill. Eliot's writing technique differs from many other poets of his time such as William Butler Yeats whose mood was not expressed as often in his works. Eliot's writings aim to touch peoples lives and try to connect with them. His intentions were to demonstrate real life by bringing out true emotion. He did this by using real life scenarios that people could be more familiar with, rather than romance and adventure. He was part of the anti- romantic revolution; therefore his poems have a deeper meaning.
His poems are more of a combination of mythical, philosophical and Christian imagery in order to find a poetic way to poetically describe a modern dilemma. (Dishes 89) What stands out from the beginning in Eliot's poetry is his unique style and cunning. He uses his own form of language that appeals to the reader at the moment. He describes ideas and gives vivid images that seem almost realistic to the person reading it and he makes one feel as if part of the poem. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Portrait of a Lady are as striking today as they were in 1917.
The way he manipulates the phrases handles the pauses, and the counter pointing of informal and formal speech. These are all techniques that represent skill and have stayed with him steadily. A perfect example of this is the poem Four Quarters where Eliot uses mystical method. He relates himself to the poem and creates a wonderful sense of illusion.
On the contrary in the poem The Waste Land Eliot pulls away from human difficulty by showing his love for religion. However, it does not disregard his anger and rage against the corruption of society instead he states that politics are involved in religion. Furthermore, Eliot's poems meant to have an impact on the reader. They contain a deep meaning that can have a valid effect on someone. Especially in his later works were he was moving towards a religious sense of life. (Miller 186) He never confuses poetry for anything that might sound like poetry, or what casual readers might mistake for poetry. In other words, Eliot's verses were not created for simple minds because they do not contain simple meanings.
Eliot relates to his readers by creating themes that one may be able to pertain to from our own experiences and emotions. One may conclude from his readings that he was a pessimistic and dark man because his literary style often sets a melancholy and mystical mood. For instance, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is considered to be one of his best works because of its high dramatic unit. Yet, in Ash Wednesday and The Waste Land Eliot uses a unique ritual method that he developed independently and in which he strives to build a gap between earthly objects and the word of God.
Another example is in the theme of failure of communication, of positive relationship between a man and a woman (Unger 90) and it is found in his early poems, Hysteria and La Figlia ate Page. Most of Eliot's works deal with the fact that men and women come from two different worlds; therefore, being unable to communicate openly. These are all events that happen in ones everyday life and by reading these poems one might be able to cope with these situation. Eliot also portrays the theme of human isolation. While he uses the theme of estrangement between man and woman it may also signify the larger theme of the individuals isolation, his estrangement from other people and the world.
Eliot speaks of man on a quest to become one with himself and find himself at peace. It is Eliot method which marks him inescapably as of this age. (March 25) He wants to communicate the predicament of modern man in the midst of lost meaning. The theme of isolation and alienation from the world and society is fore most seen in The Waste Land. This one of Eliot's most popular poems describing the disgust and depressing personalities of society. The Waste Land is intensely personal, and the basis of its technique and progression lies in an individualized conscience. The necessity to transcend ones self is a basic theme of the poem.
Further, social responsibility is at the core of the mythic and traditional elements combined in it. While isolation and alienation from the world is the theme of the poem The Waste Land; the same position, but speaking of God, is the theme in Ash Wednesday. On the other hand, Four Quarters is different from Eliot's other poems. It does not use mythic or ritual method; instead he uses repetition and symbolism.
Repetition is used to permit the emergence of a pattern. (Tate 24) Symbolism is used for the reader to have a better understanding of the poem. This makes the poem more interesting and the reader can relate to the writing. Eliot is very dramatic in some ways but he also knows his limitations; making it a unique form a drama. Even though Eliot is the most famous poet of his time, his writing style is often criticized. He gives vivid images that seem realistic and describes unusual ideas. He uses his own form of language that appeals to the reader at the moment.
One might say that it is really difficult to distinguish the poet and the critic. Eliot's drama is so intense that often people criticize it and call it exaggerated. Eliot often ridiculed the critics that made mockery of his writings. Its doubtful whether many people are capable of understanding his works now but it is known that people in this era feel great sympathy towards him Eliot is difficult to understand, not because he knows so much or the age he lived in was so complex, but because he was a special type of poet, a philosophical poet in an age of no belief. Burnt Norton shows how Eliot's intellectual poetry may confuse the reader. He uses things such as names of places one has never heard of, Greek words that he does not explain and verses filled with time events no one has ever experienced.
This may cause the reader to fell ignorant and not to be able to enjoy the poem until one discovers what each thing signifies. Ones difficulty to comprehend the poem may be due to his use of imagination. Eliot used lot of religious representation in many of his writings, however, that didnt omit his point of view towards the corruption of society. Instead, he always insisted that politics had a lot to do with religion. However, Eliot did look towards Christian hope.
Towards his later years, he early set himself to the deliberate cultivation of a religious idealism and tradition, and to the pureness as its most convenient institutionalization. Therefore, his writings made it clear that he had become the foremost Christian poet of his day and in his ordinary language, one of the leading Christian apologists. His later work dealt with Christian morality, Eliot's writing have a spiritual influence upon it readers. His philosophical style of writing is portrayed through most of his poems, as well. Eliot is above education, being closer to philosophy that to history. Moreover, the unifying element in Eliot is theology and it is not inaccurate to describe Eliot as a theologian gone astray.
In better terms, Eliot is well in tuned with his theological side, not only in being a talented writer but also in comprehending the deep meaning of ethics and religion. In conclusion, Eliot expresses his emotions and himself through his writings. His entire career as a writer is a history of his failures and greatest achievements. His mythical and dramatic form attracts the reader to his poems. His earlier works were full of depression and remorse and his later works were more of a religious reformation. His writing style matured as he matured with age and time, but each of them different in their own way.
Bibliography: Works Cited Bradbrook, M. C. Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. CLC 2. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1974. 125 - 130 March, Richard.
T. S. Eliot Symposium. New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1968 Riley, Carolyn. Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. CCL 1.
Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1973. 89 - 92 Tate, Allen. T. S. Eliot The Man and His Works.
New York, New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc. , 1966 Schneider, Elizabeth. Contemporary Modern Criticism. Vol. CLC 3 Detroit, Michigan Gale Research Company 1975. 135 - 141
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