Eliot Drained all Romantic Elements in his Poetry

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      Eliot is considered to be a 'classicist' as he himself confessed he was one. This naturally leads one to assume immediately that he kept free of all romantic elements. However, it must be remembered that his classicism was of a different kind: it assimilated strong elements of romanticism. Eliot had contended in his theory of poetry that only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these. Thus Eliot's theory as well as the practice of poetry do not fall into any rigidly defined category.

T. S. Eliot

      Objective correlative in Eliot's poetry: Perhaps the most conspicuous 'anti romantic' aspect of Eliot's poetry is his effort to find an 'objective correlative' for emotion. He considered that a lasting poem could not be the result of a pouring out of that a lasting poem could not be the result of the pouring out of personal emotion. The only way to express emotion in art was to find a set of objects, Words, a situation, or a chain of events which, when given, would immediately evoke that emotion. We find this concept at work in Gerontion as well as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. In Sweeney, is the embodiment of the double feeling of a repulsion from vulgarity and an attraction to the coarse earthiness of common life. The Waste Land expresses dramatic lyric intensity through the externalized structure of parallel myths.

      Juxtaposition of opposites: In Eliot's poetry, we find parallels and contrasts drawn between past and present, the ugly and the beautiful the heroic and the sordid.

      Satirical wit is another striking 'classical' aspect of Eliot's poetry. He combines the manner of Augustan wit with the purpose of metaphysical wit. Eliot shows the ability of brevity, careful phrasing and clarity of thought in his wit.

      Classical style devoid of romantic vagueness: In Eliot's poetry, we may find difficulty in understanding the thought, but we notice a precision and careful choice of words so that words and thought become inseparable - such as in the opening passage of 'The Game of Chess' in The Waste Land.

      Conclusion: All said and done, it is futile to consider Eliot as either classicist or 'romantic'. It would not do to say that he "drained all romantic element" from his poetry, for in his poetry the classical and romantic strains meet. However, if we take romantic to mean 'subjectivity' and emotion devoid of thought. We may certainly assert that Eliot discarded romantic elements from his poetry.

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