THE INVISIBLE POET: T.S. Eliot by Hugh Kenner


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T.S. Eliot remains an enigma despite the numerous attempts to explain him- and his writings. As poet and dramatist, bank official,publisher, Nobel Prize winner, Eliot has been heralded conversely as the voice of 20th century renegade despair and the epitome of British respectability. Here Hugh Kenner, Chairman of the English Department of the University of California, brings to Eliot the same uncompromising scrutiny which distinguished his works on Pound and Lewis and Joyce. He does not attempt an exposition of Eliot's writings; he explores, instead, the influences on his philosophy and his techniques, and by recalling successive poems and plays, his literary achievement takes form, and the world of Eliot achieves visibility. Kenner does not superimpose his own interpretations. Rather he focusses directly on Eliot's own words and references, expanding, paraphrasing, with the sympathetic approach to the climate of Eliot's achievement. The end result for the reader is a key to Eliot's vast, timeless universe of emotional reality, the inviolate domain of the poet. An essential book for students of modern poetry, and for all who have been magnetized and baffled by Eliot's ambiguity.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1959
Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky