Category Archives: Eliot (T.S.)

Lit As a Framework for Exploring Death

Paul Kalinithi turned to existential writers as he attempted to understand the fact that he was dying. He arrived at a more spiritual understanding than he anticipated.

Also posted in Beckett (Samuel), Greville (Baron Brook Fulke), Tolstoy (Leo) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Lit To Find the Meaning of Life

Paul Kalinithi moves between neuroscience and literature as he tries to understand the meaning of life and death, including his own terminal disease.

Also posted in Conrad (Joseph), Nabokov (Vladimir) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Am Lazarus Come Back from the Dead

I’ve just realized that the Lazarus mentioned in Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a different once than I’ve been assuming. This makes me appreciate the poem even more.

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Was T. S. Eliot a Key to Hillary’s Success?

As a college student at Wellesley in 1969, Hillary Clinton made multiple references to T. E. Eliot’s “East Coker.” Now as we watch her become the presumptive Democratic nominee, we can see how Eliot has helped her along the way.

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Christie as Prufrock & Other Lit Allusions

Political pundits have been turning to literature to talk about the GOP primaries. This past week saw citations of Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, and Richard Adams (“Watership Down”).

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ISIS Mastermind Like Mystery Cat Macavity

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind behind the Paris attacks, is like Eliot’s “Macavity: the Mystery Cat.” He has been connected with a string of terrorist incident but is never captured.

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The Complex Inner Life of Teachers

Lily King’s “The English Teacher” is filled with literary lllusions, most of them thematically important.

Also posted in Beowulf Poet, Faulkner (William), Hardy (Thomas), Homer, Joyce (James), King (Lily), Poe (Edgar Allan), Twain (Mark) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tracking Eliot’s Spiritual Journey for Lent

My Lenten discipline is to better understand T. S. Eliot’s religious poetry.

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Learning to Love the Desert

In “Ash Wednesday,” T. S. Eliot turns the despair of “Hollow Men” on its head, seeing it not as the end of hope but as the beginning of faith.

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Advent and Horror at the Void

Donald Hall’s “Advent” captures the darkness of the season, linking death with birth.

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Groucho’s Night with T. S. Eliot

Groucho Marx and T. S. Eliot were both reacting to modernism, but a dinner together did not bring about mutual understanding.

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Who Is the Third Always Beside You?

Eliot’s reference to the Road to Emmaus story in “The Wasteland” may be sign of hope rather than despair.

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Here Is No Water but Only Rock

Dry rocks have functioned as images of spiritual desolation throughout the history of Good Friday poetry.

Also posted in Herbert (George), Rossetti (Christina) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hope Out of a Dry Bones Wasteland

In “The Waste Land,” Eliot alludes to Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones multiple times.

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Sad Christie Knows Nothing

Chris Christie has resorting to plausible deniability such as that discussed in Shakespeare’s “Richard II” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Also posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Prufrock Illustrated?!

An illustrated “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”? What next?!

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Rand Paul’s Misadventures with Poetry

Senator Rand Paul’s often may misapply poetry, but the poems he chooses tell us a lot about Rand Paul.

Also posted in Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Neruda (Pablo) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poetic Excuses for Losing at Tennis

Between the motion and the act of my tennis game falls the shadow. Translation: too much thinking.

Also posted in Robinson (Edward Arlington), Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Langston Hughes, Profound Conversations

Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” opened up a profound conversation with our building’s housekeeping staff.

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Obama’s Love Affair with “Waste Land”

Obama’s youthful love letters see him moving seamlessly between great ideas and sexual desire.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Newt Gingrich, Shades of The Wasteland

Newt Gingrich reminds me of “the young man carbuncular” in “The Wasteland,” “one of the low on whom assurance sits as a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.”

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The Presidential Candidates in Wonderland

Should we dismiss all the rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential candidates as the gryphon in “Alice in Wonderland” dismisses the “off with their heads” commands of the Queen of Hearts?

Also posted in Carroll (Lewis) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

At 60, a Comfortable Old Scarecrow

Having just turned 60, I’ve been thinking of Teiresias. Wise though the blind seer may be, his advice doesn’t help others that much. Aging, in other words, appears to require humility.

Also posted in Euripides, Johnson (Samuel), Sophocles, Yeats (William Butler) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Nothing So Sensible as Sensual Inundation

Poetry, with its eye on what really matters, can help us taste food again. Mary Oliver’s “Plum Trees” reminds us to eat with full awareness.

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March Madness Ends with a Whimper

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” Eliot’s well-known conclusion to “The Hollow Men” (read the poem here) came to mind after watching the Butler Bulldogs lose to the Connecticut Huskies 53-41.The game was so bad that it takes a masterpiece of modernist despair to do it justice.

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Washing Away Michael Vick’s Sins

Spiritual Sunday In a follow-up to yesterday’s post on football quarterback Michael Vick, I want to elaborate further on Coleridge’s argument for penance. Penance is not only the right thing to do. It also can make you feel very, very good. Coleridge gives us images in Rime of the Ancient Mariner that drive this point […]

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George Steinbrenner, Not a Hollow Man

Sports Saturday Mistah Steinbrenner—he dead. So I imagine T. S. Eliot announcing the death of the legendary Yankee owner this past week. That’s because, if one goes by Eliot’s famous 1925 poem “The Hollow Men,” one could not say that “the Boss” was “Shape without form, shade without colour,/ Paralysed force, gesture without motion.” In fact, an […]

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