T.S. Eliot and the Poetics of Evolution: Sub/Versions of Classicism, Culture, and Progress

Synopsis

"Cuddy examines how the nineteenth-century union of evolution, history, and myth became Eliot's definition of the Western Tradition from Homer to the present. Homer's Odyssey and the tradition it inspired became one of Eliot's most successful paradigms for historical re/vision of women, father/son relationships, cultural evolution, time, and poet's struggle with words. Guided by Eliot's own allusions and references to specific authors and historical moments, Cuddy adds a feminist, cultural, and intertextual perspective to the familiar critical interpretations of Eliot's work in order to reread poems and plays through nineteenth-century ideologies and knowledge set against our own time. By considering the implications and consequences of Eliot's culturally approved assumptions, this study further reveals how Eliot was trapped between the idea of Evolution as a unifying project and the reality of his own and his culture's hierarchical (and fragmenting) beliefs about class, gender, religion, and race. Cuddy concludes by exploring how this conflict undermined Eliot's mission of unity and influenced his (and Modernism's) place in history." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved