THE T. S. ELIOT MYTH by Russell Hope Robbins

THE T. S. ELIOT MYTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An excellent, thought provoking and condemning analysis of the western world's most talked of contemporary poet and thinker, by a well known professor and writer in the field of Middle English verse who was educated at Cambridge and now teaches in Brooklyn. Ultimately, Robbins interprets Eliot neither as true artist or poet but as a reactionary, fascistic, religiously dogmatic propagandist for anti-humanism. In four sections that discuss Eliot an legend, philosopher, writer and social problem, Robbins says first that he lacks faith in and obviously hates people. One has only to look at the frustrations and stupidly self-inflicted limitations of a Prufrock who is powerless to do more than measure out his life with coffee spoons. Robbins continues with Eliot's philosophy as it is couched in the hopelessness of the post-World War-I moral bankruptcy- the emergent theme of The Wasteland. Furthering his philosophy in the Four Quarterly. Eliot tries to shore up the ruined traditions of the past -- with this as his only and inherently vain hope for a good life. Too, Eliot's writing gains stature and popular meaning only when it departs from his theological views. As to Eliot's present and problematical prominence, it has been furthered by the world's social imbalance and his adoption as a kind of god by the school of the New Criticism which looks to form rather than content in its judgements. Eliot's whole being is in fine, a reflection of certain tendencies in modern society towards the shallows, the narrow and the decadent, and only as such is he worthy of notice. But whether or not Robbins' obsession with Eliot rises beyond the point of a mere wish to illustrate decadence, his book is worthy in its complete and quite fascinating coverage of all of Eliot's works. very lively addition to practically any shelf.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1951
Publisher: Schumann