The anecdote set in Kashgar is not so easily resolved.
It is also certain that he traveled widely during this period, and some of the many first-person stories in his works probably have a basis in biographical reality. But it is a mistake to identify the life of the author too closely with the literary persona. Casting himself as an actor in his tales contributes to their immediacy and is crucial to establishing his ethical authority and empathy. His didactic, artistic purposes far supersede the demands of historical or autobiographical fidelity. As Zarrinkub pp.
An extended period of travel around the Islamic world followed his course of studies. Despite efforts of scholars such as H. Boyle, the effort to re-create an exact itinerary of his travels from his works is misguided. After a careful sifting of the evidence, H.
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Under steadily increasing Mongol pressure, the fortunes of the dynasty quickly unraveled. Qazvini, pp. None of these works can be considered panegyrics in the usual sense of the word, since they consist mostly of counsel and warnings concerning the proper conduct of rulers. Early sources give death dates ranging from to This earlier date has the advantage of helping to account for variations in the chronograms q.
The expansion and consolidation of Mongol power was marked by the destruction of old centers of culture and civilization, the upheaval of established political institutions, and the mass migration of populations. Mere survival demanded luck, wit, determination, and practical savvy. In his early years, this motion was physical; as an itinerant scholar and increasingly respected poet, his mastery of language and literate culture allowed him to move from place to place and in and out of mosques, markets, and palaces.
He maintained a social mobility even after settling in Shiraz. These circumstances help account for the breadth and variety of the world depicted in his work from the mansions of the elite to street life among the poor. More importantly, the course of his life also seems to have contributed to the attitude of detached engagement that characterizes his work. The irony, humor, and charity of judgment that are often found in his writings result from an ability to maintain multiple perspectives and an awareness of his own fallibility.
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This detachment is nevertheless informed by a commitment to certain core values: concern for the suffering of others especially the less privileged , awareness of the fragility of life, and faith in a moral reckoning both in this life and the next. Similarly, the works acknowledge the need for religious authority, but also recognize the hypocrisy and self-righteousness that often accompany it. His works celebrate love in its manifold forms—social solidarity, friendship, amorous desire, and religious devotion—and they do so in a language that revels in the full capacities of the linguistic medium to range from dignified balance and aphoristic concision to playful punning and raucous excess.
Gramlich, Wiesbaden, , pp. Submitted tags will be reviewed by site administrator before it is posted online. If you enter several tags, separate with commas.
Not long after Vivien attempted suicide and was temporarily committed to a sanatorium in Paris, Eliot took the decisive steps of joining the Anglican Church and becoming a British citizen. His essays, which had always addressed matters of ethical and metaphysical import, grew increasingly concerned with theology and the history of the Church, and with the religious and moral signiicance of igures like Dante, Thomas Aquinas, and the Anglican Bishop Lancelot Andrewes.
And, as he related in letters from the time, the poem represents merely an intermediate stage in a journey begun in his earliest work. Ash-Wednesday comprises six parts, three of which were published independently before Eliot brought the whole together and published it in Like his earlier work, it omits transitions and narrative connections, relying instead upon echoes, allusions, and motifs; this time, however, the echo-principle seems intended to convey the thoughts and emotions of a single, irst-person speaker as he meditates upon sacriice and surrender, as well as upon the relationship between earthly and divine love.
Though characteristically oblique in its descriptions, the poem conveys a few things clearly: the speaker has made an irrevocable decision; he will undergo pain and suffering because of it; and the goal or end of his new direction involves a recalibration of desire and its objects. The tone of Ash-Wednesday, however, is subdued and meditative, replacing the frantic and despairing exclamations of The Waste Land with relective circularities and all-embracing tensions; it alludes to the measured sermons of Lancelot Andrewes, to the liturgy of the Anglican mass, and to paradoxes and lucid dream visions.
Rather than concluding with resounding afirmation, Ash-Wednesday ends on a familiar note of ambivalence. Eliot dramatizes the spiritual one, the unresolved and unresolvable tension between matter and spirit. For over a decade before, he had been writing about and promoting the resuscitation of verse drama, a form that was favored by nineteenth-century poets like Shelley and Swinburne but despised by modern proponents of realism and admirers of Ibsen and Shaw.
Eliot had experimented with poetic drama earlier in the decade with a fragmentary, incomplete play called Sweeney Agonistes, which was begun in but not produced until in America. The darkly satirical play features a strange cast of nearly interchangeable characters — including, for instance, two ladies of questionable repute, Doris and Dusty, and two boorish American businessmen, Klipstein and Krumpacker — whose seemingly inane banter Eliot conveys in quick, rhythmic lines that are meant to lend their language the weight of a semiconscious ritual or ceremony.
In the years following Ash-Wednesday and Sweeney Agonistes, however, Eliot devoted much time and energy to assembling viable and successful stage productions, immers- ing himself enthusiastically in the practicalities of what W. Rather than distracting him from poetry, Eliot discovered, composing these plays had an invigorating and generative effect on his imagination, and he soon set to work on his most ambitious verse project yet, the sequence of philosophical poems that became Four Quartets Its parts are intricately connected, and they build slowly in a tonal and thematic crescendo, as if through a widening series of concentric spheres.
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This ambitious and ordered project, however, began almost accidentally, with a few cancelled lines from Murder in the Cathedral that Eliot elaborated into a meditative poem titled Burnt Norton, printed at the end of his Collected Poems, — The irst narrates a visionary moment on the grounds of the manor house, when the speaker and his companion peer into a dry concrete pool only to ind it momentarily looded with water: And the pool was illed with water out of sunlight, And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly, The surface glittered out of heart of light, And they were behind us, relected in the pool.
The poem concludes by afirming the power and value of the extraordinary vision but decrying, in effect, everything else: Quick now, here, now, always — Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after. Eliot integrate it into a life that, ultimately, must also contain mundane realities and unful- illed desires. His visionary freedom remains painfully separate and distinct, a token of his divided world. It was in , when Eliot sat down to compose East Coker, that he irst began to envision the sequence of Four Quartets as a whole: a series of poems with corresponding sections, running motifs and themes, elemental symbolism, and a consistently philo- sophical, meditative undertone.
But there, the declaration aimed to inoculate the speaker against the intensity of the experience he envisioned. The echoes of these lines in East Coker, on the contrary, attempt to bring that intensity into the realm of daily living, a realm that Eliot now characterizes in this way: Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight The evening with the photograph album. Despite these moments, however, Four Quartets never breaks through into a visionary clearing, leaving behind the agonies of doubt and regret. In the years that followed, Eliot wrote a number of minor poems but devoted his attention almost entirely to writing for the stage. With his irst real attempt at popular theater, The Family Reunion, he had discovered a multitude of creative, practical, and intellectual challenges that would sustain him for the rest of his creative life.
As his fame as a poet and man of letters grew, Eliot worked steadily at the practice of stagecraft to produce theater that would be both artistically valuable and commercially successful. Though he virtually stopped writing poetry after , the public accolades and celebrity only continued to increase. In , he was awarded the highest civilian honor in England, the Order of Merit, and in the same year, he won the Nobel Prize for literature.
As sure as that place is, we have much to learn still about Eliot. References and Further Reading Ackroyd, Peter. Eliot: A Life. New York: Ellmann, Maud. The Poetics of Impersonality: T. Simon, Eliot and Ezra Pound.
Sadi: Selected Poems by Saadi
Chapel Frenz, Horst, ed. Nobel Lectures: Literature, vol. Amsterdam: Elsevier, Bush, Ronald. The Composition of Four Quartets. Oxford: Oxford UP, London: Faber, Chinitz, David E. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. Gordon, Lyndall. Eliot: An Imperfect Life. New Chicago: U of Chicago P, York: Norton, Dickey, Frances.
The Invisible Poet: T. Charlottes- York: Harcourt, Leavis, F. The Complete Poems and Plays, — Poetry.
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London: Chatto, New York: Harcourt, Pound, Ezra. Letters of Ezra Pound: — Eliot, T.
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