The Poetry of T. S. Eliot

By D. E. S. Maxwell | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter Two
The New Classicism

ANY interpretation of poetic theory must be incomplete if it does not indicate the effect of the doctrine on the practice of poetry. It is not proposed to examine at this juncture the full scope of the relations between Eliot's special traditionalism, and his poetry. The relation between his practice and this element of his theory will be clarified in the examination of his early poems. At the moment we are concerned with those qualities of Eliot's poetry which are basically qualities of Augustan poetry too, although the forms in which they appear may differ. That is, to show that his poetry is classical as the term is usually interpreted, before showing that it possesses characteristics resulting from his theory that add to the scheme of Augustan classicism.

A characteristic of classicism that is relevant to this enquiry is its acceptance of an already existing poetic background, whose function is to provide the poem's incidental symbolism. "The Rape of the Lock" is conceived within the framework of the classical epic, using its accepted symbols. Pope saw no reason for the creation of symbols peculiar to himself -- as Shelley did in Prometheus Unbound -- symbols whose full meaning could be appreciated only by their creator, although their necessary vagueness could produce a pleasing suggestion of profound significance and final order. Of the same nature is Eliot's acceptance of traditional literature as his poetic world. This can be seen most clearly in The Waste Land, where a blending of traditional European and


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Poetry of T. S. Eliot


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 223

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?