The Kenyon Critics: Studies in Modern Literature from the Kenyon Review

By John Crowe Ransom | Go to book overview

William Barrett


ARISTOCRACY AND/OR CHRISTIANITY

One first and natural question might be: What has happened to Eliot's prose? The process, of course, has been going on for some time, and this book is no sudden lapse from its last predecessor; but one sees here what looks like the end of a process, if one compares this to a previous, very brief, but perhaps more important pronouncement on culture: the essay on Marie Lloyd ( 1923). The syntax of single sentences may be more precise, but the movement from sentence to sentence within the paragraph hardly exists: the concision, vigor, and crackle of the early essays is gone. There is now something cut up and pasted together about this style: it never flows. One imagines the book put together as a series of letters to the Church Times; and if one did not know the author, one might imagine him as some fastidious, very literate, and sorrowfully exacerbated vicar writing from the fastness of his parish study somewhere in rural England. A clergyman's stoop inhabits this prose. Alas, it also inhabits the thought. The loss of vigor in the prose reflects the loss of vigor in the mind.

The intelligence cannot be isolated from the rest of the personality; when the energy of the person declines, the intelligence can no longer push its questions far enough to lay hold of all that is implicit in its thoughts: it can, in short, no longer grasp a full

____________________
A review of Notes Towards the Definition of Culture by T. S. Eliot ( New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1949).

-324-

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The Kenyon Critics: Studies in Modern Literature from the Kenyon Review
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Essays 1
  • The Sorrows Of Thomas Wolfe 3
  • Pure And Impure Poetry 12
  • Myth And Dialectic in the Later Novels Of Henry James 17
  • Kafka's Distorted Mask 58
  • Joyce's Ulysses and the French Public 75
  • Robartes And Aherne: Two Sides of a Penny 88
  • The Stone And The Crucifixion: Faulkner's - Light in August 115
  • Emotions In Poems 127
  • Monsieur Verdoux As Theatre 138
  • The Good Ford 151
  • Parody And Critique: Notes on Thomas Mann's - Doctor Faustus 182
  • Novel into Film: - All the King's Men 225
  • Wordsworth And the Iron Time 233
  • Book Reviews 253
  • The Loud Hill Of Wales 255
  • Q's Revisions 259
  • The Whole Of Housman 263
  • Neither Historian nor Critic 267
  • The Humble Animal 277
  • Satan And Denis De Rougemont 281
  • The Everlasting Mr. Huxley 289
  • Dry Watershed 298
  • The Hellenism Of Robinson Jeffers 307
  • The Cost Of Distraction 312
  • Aristocracy And/Or Christianity 324
  • Bibliography 341
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