T.S. ELIOT: MOMENTS AND PATTERNS by Leonard Unger

T.S. ELIOT: MOMENTS AND PATTERNS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Eliot, the poet par excellence whose theme is the isolated consciousness, the private, locked vision--how odd that his work should be, year after year, irresistibly attractive to the scholarly ants of the quarterlies. Can he stand any more probing? Evidently yes. Professor Unger, a long-time devotee, has collected his various pieces, covering almost thirty years of meditation, and proves that a no-nonsense, judicial critic can refreshen an oeuvre one would have thought had long since been exhausted by textual commentary. The essay on Ash Wednesday is the book's triumph, but it is the general explication of Eliot's poetry and criticism, the development of image and idea, the underlying pattern which ""is new in every moment,"" which Unger traces so soundly and with so many right and rewarding insights. The influence of Conrad, for instance, is remarkably well documented, as is the cataloguing of obsessive motifs, and always one is impressed by the stressing of unsuspected relevancies, such as the difference between Yeats' imagination and Eliot's sensibility, or Eliot's genius for making his poetic voice seem the reader's voice.

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota Press