105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry

By Whit Burnett | Go to book overview

T. S. ELIOT

Burnt Nortonis the initial section of Mr. T. S. Eliot's long poem,
Four Quartets. But in spite of its intimate integration in the com-
plete poem with the three later sections, its publication apart from
them is in a way justified by its original conception. In 1935 when
Eliot's publishers proposed a volume of his collected poems, he felt,
as he has said, that it would be good to have an unpublished poem
in it. With this in view and with no conscious intention of develop-
ing the themes and imagery contained in it into a longer poem, he
wrote
Burnt Norton. It was only through the writing of his play
Family Reunion, published in 1939, that the idea of a further de-
velopment of the approach of
Burnt Nortonwas suggested to him.
The second Quartet,
East Coker, did not make its appearance until
April 1940, more than four years after
Burnt Norton.

Again, it is true that Eliot's poems, as Miss Marianne Moore has
phrased it, "are so consistently intricated that one rests on another
and is involved with what is earlier." There are no breaks in Eliot's
work--no unnecessary repetitions. Each of his poems in a sense may
be said to be an integral part of a long poem which he is still
writing. Nevertheless we can distinguish certain changes of emphasis,
particularly in his mode of expression, marking certain broad periods
of Eliot's work. For example, in Eliot's poetry, antecedent to and
culminating in
The Waste Land of 1922, we find a cryptic, oracular
avoidance of direct statement: an emphasis on allusion, abrupt con-
trasts. With the
Hollow Men in 1925 came a more intensified in-
terest in the ecclesiastical side of religion: allusion became more
narrowly focused towards this interest but the cryptic, oracular char-
acter of the expression persevered while a litanic repetition began
to dominate the concise, condensed earlier expression; finally, with
the second of the Quartets,
East Coker, in spite of the frankly philo-
sophical emphases of the longer poem of which it makes a part,
Eliot's style has grown relatively diffuse, repetitive and inclining
towards the familiar. In the meanwhile he has been to school to an
audience in his efforts, in Family Reunion, to write verse drama,
and has been seeking that clarity of surface meaning essential to
drama, which must be taken in by ear no matter what the depth
may be.

-393-

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105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Foreword in the Form of a Report xi
  • I The Americas 1
  • Eugene O'Neill 3
  • Ernest Hemingway 16
  • Sinclair Lewis 38
  • Robert Frost 52
  • John Steinbeck 61
  • Carl Sandburg 77
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay 98
  • Thornton Wilder 104
  • John Dewey 111
  • John Dos Passos 124
  • Pearl Buck 131
  • Van Wyck Brooks 141
  • H. L. Mencken 148
  • William Faulkner 155
  • Maxwell Anderson 173
  • Edgar Lee Masters 184
  • Archibald Macleish 188
  • Upton Sinclair 196
  • Robert Sherwood 204
  • John Gunther 221
  • William Rose Benét 225
  • Carl Van Doren 228
  • Erskine Caldwell 237
  • Robinson Jeffers 248
  • James Thurber 250
  • James Branch Cabell 268
  • John P. Marquand 279
  • Vincent Sheean 309
  • William L. Shirer 314
  • Mazo De La Roche 323
  • Mariano Azuela 339
  • Gabriela Mistral 349
  • Pablo Neruda 355
  • Eduardo Mallea 368
  • II The British Isles 391
  • T. S. Eliot 393
  • Aldous Huxley 400
  • W. Somerset Maugham 420
  • John Masefield 431
  • E. M. Forster 435
  • Bertrand Russell 447
  • Walter De La Mare 457
  • V. Sackville-West 466
  • Hilaire Belloc 472
  • W. H. Auden 479
  • Julian Huxley 490
  • Noel Coward 510
  • Siegfried Sassoon 529
  • J. B. Priestley 536
  • Winston Churchill 541
  • C. E. M. Joad 556
  • Graham Greene 566
  • Arnold J. Toynbee 577
  • A. J. Cronin 587
  • Lord Dunsany 592
  • Sean O'Casey 599
  • Padraic Colum 618
  • Elizabeth Bowen 623
  • Liam O'Flaherty 634
  • III Europe 643
  • André Gide 645
  • Jules Romains 655
  • André Maurois 670
  • André Malraux 677
  • Jacques Maritain 685
  • François Mauriac 696
  • Jean Cocteau 714
  • Paul Claudel 720
  • Jean-Paul Sartre 726
  • St. John Perse 731
  • Albert Camus 736
  • Colette 747
  • Louis Aragon 750
  • Thomas Mann 757
  • Erich Remarque 797
  • Albert Schweitzer 809
  • Albert Einstein 824
  • Hermann Hesse 830
  • Sigrid Undset 841
  • Knut Hamsun 852
  • Isak Dinesen 862
  • Johannes V. Jensen 876
  • Frans Eemil Sillanpää 889
  • Halldór Laxness 898
  • Benedetto Croce 912
  • Ignazio Silone 919
  • Geroge Santayana 936
  • José Ortega Y Gasset 945
  • Salvador De Madariaga 951
  • Pio Baroja 959
  • Pierre Van Paassen 965
  • Angelos Sikelianos 971
  • Arthur Koestler 977
  • Ferenc Molnár 993
  • Ivan Bunin 1008
  • Mikhail Sholokhov 1029
  • Ilya Ehrenburg 1044
  • IV Asia China • 1059 India • 1078 1057
  • Lin Yutang 1059
  • Hu Shih 1066
  • Jawaharlal Nehru 1078
  • Sri Aurobindo 1093
  • Biographies and Bibliographies 1109
  • Acknowledgments 1160
  • Index of Authors 1181
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