T. S. ELIOT: The Longer Poems by Derek Traversi

T. S. ELIOT: The Longer Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With a score of books, thousands of monographs and essays devoted to the explication of Eliot's high poetic mode, what need can there be for still another scholarly catechism? The publishers of this volume, in their blurb, answer ""comprehensiveness""; the author, thinking of Eliot's recent disesteem, cites his criticism of ""poetry qua poetry"" and his avoidance of previous, impeding ""religious prejudice."" Unhappily, these slight responses cover about all that's new here: this is a synthetic treatment of the formal elements in The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets, with an emphasis on the continuity of theme and poetic technique, but without the rich, clear perspective of say, Hugh Kenner's work or the heady, unpredictable incisiveness of Northrop Frye. Professor Traversi's prose is lively and he makes good use of the canon of Eliot criticism on the shelves; the book is careful, meticulous, patient with slow learners, but it is suited to undergraduate students and makes no startling arguments.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1976
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich