Eliot; 'Tradition and the Individual Talent'.

Eliot's“Tradition and the Individual Talent”T.

The keyword "medium" is itself an example of this fungibility, deployed several times in the essay in both its 1“Tradition and Individual Talent” Summary Points T.S Eliot as a critic One of the most seminal critics of his Summary points of T S Eliot's essay.

Elliot, illustrates for us the many reasons poets should detach themselves from their writings and extract any personal elements they may want to be added.Tradition and the Individual Talent: An Essay by T.S.

Like Tzara, and unlike Marinetti, Eliot "Tradition" and "Individual Talent" are synonyms for Eliot, the moments of a reciprocal constitution, two aspects of the same substance.

Eliot's Tradition and the Individual Talent.

Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously (Eliot, 1919, p.

T.S Eliot Tradition and Individual Talent and The Love Song of J.

'Tradition and the Individual Talent".
Key Ideas
Presented in this Essay
How do these ideas relate to Eliot's Career, the Development of Modernism and wider Modernist Literature and Culture?
How Eliot's ideas are presented in
The Waste Land
"We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet’s difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed.

Eliot: Tradition and the Individual Talent.

eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Tradition and the Individual Talent.

G. Douglas Atkins here offers an original consideration of T. S. Eliot’s essay as a form of embodied thinking. A combination of literature and philosophy, the genre of the essay holds within itself a great tension—that between truth and creative prose. And, as Atkins explains, these conflicting forces of truth and creativity exist not only within the literary format itself but also within the writers and their relationships with the genre, making essay writing a wonderfully enriching “impure art.”


Poet Thomas Stearns Eliot—or T.S., as we like to call him—was a man of contradictions. His greatest works—, and the poems that make up the Four Quartets—reflected the despair and desolation of the world after the . Eliot eschewed the London bars and cafes that attracted his fellow writers in favor of his prim and solitary office. Even his physical appearance was so gray and severe-looking that an interviewer once described him as "forbidding and austere, [like] the abbot of an ascetic order."

Yet, the same visitor also pronounced, "There is probably no kinder man in London today than T.S. Eliot." The poet graciously entertained students over tea and offered his name to charitable causes. Eliot enjoyed bourbon and a game of gin rummy. And, in perhaps the greatest contradiction, the man whose smashed poetic conventions believed staunchly that a poet's first obligation was to tradition. Eliot tapped into the wisdom of the ages to produce poems that perfectly captured the emotions of the Western world.

In 1888, Eliot was born in all-American St. Louis, Missouri, but became a British subject in 1927 and spent most of his life in England. Eliot is considered the bard of modernism, the early twentieth-century era during which bold thinkers took the existing forms of art and literature and smashed them with a hammer. "It is very likely that when the literary history of our time comes to be written, it will be characterized as the Age of Eliot, just as we speak now of the Age of Pope or Tennyson," his obituary said. "If we judge a man by the vacancy that his absence from his time would have caused, T.S. Eliot was a giant."

Tradition and the Individual Talent

A selective list of literary criticism for the poet, playwright, and essayist T.S. Eliot, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

Tradition and the Individual Talent : I

Exploring the similarities between Eliot’s prose and poetry with the art of essay writing, Atkins discovers remarkably similar patterns of Incarnational thinking that emerge in each. In so doing, he establishes for the first time the essayistic nature of the great poem Four Quartets and provides an eloquent reflection on how the essay in all its impurity functions as Incarnational art, an embodiment of truth.

Tradition and the Individual Talent - Wikipedia

In 1917, the literary journal (where Eliot served as an assistant editor) published an essay of his entitled Eliot's manifesto railed against the modern tendency to praise a poet's attempts to be different for the sake of being different. Only by recognizing the poetic traditions he drew upon and suppressing his personal desires, Eliot argued, could a poet truly achieve greatness. (And, yes, Eliot assumed that any great poet would be male.) He elaborated:

Eliot's essay was interesting for two reasons in particular. First, Eliot was coming into his own as a poet at the same time that an Austrian psychiatrist named introduced the idea that there was something to be gained by plunging deep into the inner sanctums of the self. Eliot's essay disputed Freud's argument, valuing the collective unconscious over the individual subconscious. Though the two men held completely separate viewpoints, both of their ideas came to dominate their age. "In [Freud's] opinion there must be sought a collective and individual balance, which should constantly take into account man's primitive instincts," a member of the Swedish Academy said when Eliot received the for literature in 1948. "You, Mr. Eliot, are of the opposite opinion. For you the salvation of man lies in the preservation of the cultural tradition, which, in our more mature years, lives with greater vigour within us than does primitiveness, and which we must preserve if chaos is to be avoided."

The second reason we find Eliot's emphasis on tradition interesting is that he was about to write one of the most unique, unprecedented poems in the history of the English language.

By 1921, stuck in a boring bank job and an unhappy marriage, Eliot had a bit of a mental breakdown. As he took leave from to recover, he began to reflect on the desolation of post-war European culture. He saw it as a spiritually empty society that had veered too far away from its traditions. It was a level of despair without precedent, and to address it Eliot had to write a poem unlike any other that came before it. In 1922, Eliot founded a literary journal called , and in its first issue he published the result of his efforts—.

was a five-part epic that journeyed through a ruined and desolate world. With its starkly beautiful language, the poem was—and still is—an overwhelming experience to read. " is easier on the ear than on the mind," wrote in 1950. That was putting it mildly. In its 434 lines, the poem wandered into different languages, obscure references, and a cascading riot of images. Some people tossed it aside as too obscure, accusing Eliot of being intentionally confusing ("How better to identify yourself as a serious poet than to be incomprehensible?" writer said of Eliot many years later).

Once again, though, a generation of poets who understood the alienation and horror that Eliot was talking about embraced the epic poem as a masterpiece. Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Anders Osterling, of the poem's indelible impact at Eliot's Nobel ceremony: " now lies a quarter of a century back in time, but unfortunately it has proved that its catastrophic visions still have undiminished actuality in the shadow of the atomic age. The of modern man in a secularized world, without order, meaning, or beauty, here stands out with poignant sincerity."