Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888– 4 January 1965) was a British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets”. He moved from his native United States to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling, working, and marrying there. He was eventually naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39, renouncing his American citizenship. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), which was seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), “The Hollow Men” (1925), “Ash Wednesday” (1930), and Four Quartets (1943). He was also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”. Life Early life and education The Eliots were a Boston family with roots in Old and New England. Thomas Eliot’s paternal grandfather, William Greenleaf Eliot, had moved to St. Louis, Missouri to establish a Unitarian Christian church there. His father, Henry Ware Eliot (1843–1919), was a successful businessman, president and treasurer of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company in St. Louis; his mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843–1929), wrote poetry and was a social worker, a new profession in the early 20th century. Eliot was the last of six surviving children; his parents were both 44 years old when he was born. Eliot was born at 2635 Locust St., property owned by his grandfather, William Greenleaf Eliot. His four sisters were between 11 and 19 years older; his brother was eight years older. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of his maternal grandfather, Thomas Stearns. Eliot’s childhood infatuation with literature can be ascribed to several factors. Firstly, he had to overcome physical limitations as a child. Struggling from a congenital double inguinal hernia, he could not participate in many physical activities and thus was prevented from socialising with his peers. As he was often isolated, his love for literature developed. Once he learned to read, the young boy immediately became obsessed with books and was absorbed in tales depicting savages, the Wild West, or Mark Twain’s thrill-seeking Tom Sawyer. In his memoir of Eliot, his friend Robert Sencourt comments that the young Eliot “would often curl up in the window-seat behind an enormous book, setting the drug of dreams against the pain of living.” Secondly, Eliot credited his hometown with fuelling his literary vision: “It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one’s childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London.” From 1898 to 1905, Eliot attended Smith Academy, where his studies included Latin, Ancient Greek, French, and German. He began to write poetry when he was fourteen under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a translation of the poetry of Omar Khayyam. He said the results were gloomy and despairing and he destroyed them. His first published poem, “A Fable For Feasters”, was written as a school exercise and was published in the Smith Academy Record in February 1905. Also published there in April 1905 was his oldest surviving poem in manuscript, an untitled lyric, later revised and reprinted as “Song” in The Harvard Advocate, Harvard University’s student magazine. He also published three short stories in 1905, “Birds of Prey”, “A Tale of a Whale” and “The Man Who Was King”. The last mentioned story significantly reflects his exploration of Igorot Village while visiting the 1904 World’s Fair of St. Louis. Such a link with primitive people importantly antedates his anthropological studies at Harvard. Eliot lived in St. Louis, Missouri for the first sixteen years of his life at the house on Locust St. where he was born. After going away to school in 1905, he only returned to St. Louis for vacations and visits. Despite moving away from the city, Eliot wrote to a friend that the “Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any other part of the world.” Following graduation, Eliot attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts for a preparatory year, where he met Scofield Thayer who later published The Waste Land. He studied philosophy at Harvard College from 1906 to 1909, earning his bachelor’s degree after three years, instead of the usual four. While a student, Eliot was placed on academic probation and graduated with a pass degree (i.e. no honours).He recovered and persisted, attaining a B.A. in an elective program best described as comparative literature in three years, and an M.A. in English literature in the fourth. Frank Kermode writes that the most important moment of Eliot’s undergraduate career was in 1908 when he discovered Arthur Symons’s The Symbolist Movement in Literature. This introduced him to Jules Laforgue, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine. Without Verlaine, Eliot wrote, he might never have heard of Tristan Corbière and his book Les amours jaunes, a work that affected the course of Eliot’s life. The Harvard Advocate published some of his poems and he became lifelong friends with Conrad Aiken the American novelist. After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from 1909 to 1910, Eliot moved to Paris where, from 1910 to 1911, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. He attended lectures by Henri Bergson and read poetry with Henri Alban-Fournier. From 1911 to 1914, he was back at Harvard studying Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. Eliot was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, in 1914. He first visited Marburg, Germany, where he planned to take a summer programme, but when the First World War broke out he went to Oxford instead. At the time so many American students attended Merton that the Junior Common Room proposed a motion “that this society abhors the Americanization of Oxford”. It was defeated by two votes, after Eliot reminded the students how much they owed American culture. Eliot wrote to Conrad Aiken on New Year’s Eve 1914: “I hate university towns and university people, who are the same everywhere, with pregnant wives, sprawling children, many books and hideous pictures on the walls... Oxford is very pretty, but I don’t like to be dead.” Escaping Oxford, Eliot spent much of his time in London. This city had a monumental and life-altering effect on Eliot for multiple reasons, the most significant of which was his introduction to the influential American literary figure Ezra Pound. A connection through Aiken resulted in an arranged meeting and on 22 September 1914, Eliot paid a visit to Pound’s flat. Pound instantly deemed Eliot “worth watching” and was crucial to Eliot’s beginning career as a poet, as he is credited with promoting Eliot through social events and literary gatherings. Thus, according to biographer John Worthen, during his time in England Eliot “was seeing as little of Oxford as possible”. He was instead spending long periods of time in London, in the company of Ezra Pound and “some of the modern artists whom the war has so far spared... It was Pound who helped most, introducing him everywhere.” In the end, Eliot did not settle at Merton and left after a year. In 1915 he taught English at Birkbeck, University of London. By 1916, he had completed a doctoral dissertation for Harvard on “Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley”, but he failed to return for the viva voce exam. Marriage In a letter to Aiken late in December 1914, Eliot, aged 26, wrote, “I am very dependent upon women (I mean female society).” Less than four months later, Thayer introduced Eliot to Vivienne Haigh-Wood, a Cambridge governess. They were married at Hampstead Register Office on 26 June 1915. After a short visit alone to his family in the United States, Eliot returned to London and took several teaching jobs, such as lecturing at Birkbeck College, University of London. The philosopher Bertrand Russell took an interest in Vivienne while the newlyweds stayed in his flat. Some scholars have suggested that she and Russell had an affair, but the allegations were never confirmed. The marriage was markedly unhappy, in part because of Vivienne’s health issues. In a letter addressed to Ezra Pound, she covers an extensive list of her symptoms, which included a habitually high temperature, fatigue, insomnia, migraines, and colitis. This, coupled with apparent mental instability, meant that she was often sent away by Eliot and her doctors for extended periods of time in the hope of improving her health, and as time went on, he became increasingly detached from her. The couple formally separated in 1933 and in 1938 Vivienne’s brother, Maurice, had her committed to a lunatic asylum, against her will, where she remained until her death of heart disease in 1947. Their relationship became the subject of a 1984 play Tom & Viv, which in 1994 was adapted as a film. In a private paper written in his sixties, Eliot confessed: "I came to persuade myself that I was in love with Vivienne simply because I wanted to burn my boats and commit myself to staying in England. And she persuaded herself (also under the influence of [Ezra] Pound) that she would save the poet by keeping him in England. To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land.” Teaching, Lloyds, Faber and Faber After leaving Merton, Eliot worked as a schoolteacher, most notably at Highgate School, a private school in London, where he taught French and Latin—his students included the young John Betjeman. Later he taught at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, a state school in Buckinghamshire. To earn extra money, he wrote book reviews and lectured at evening extension courses. In 1917, he took a position at Lloyds Bank in London, working on foreign accounts. On a trip to Paris in August 1920 with the artist Wyndham Lewis, he met the writer James Joyce. Eliot said he found Joyce arrogant—Joyce doubted Eliot’s ability as a poet at the time—but the two soon became friends, with Eliot visiting Joyce whenever he was in Paris. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis also maintained a close friendship, leading to Lewis’s later making his well-known portrait painting of Eliot in 1938. Charles Whibley recommended T.S. Eliot to Geoffrey Faber. In 1925 Eliot left Lloyds to join the publishing firm Faber and Gwyer, later Faber and Faber, where he remained for the rest of his career, eventually becoming a director. At Faber and Faber, he was responsible for publishing important English poets like W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Ted Hughes. Conversion to Anglicanism and British citizenship On 29 June 1927, Eliot converted to Anglicanism from Unitarianism, and in November that year he took British citizenship. He became a warden of his parish church, Saint Stephen’s, Gloucester Road, London, and a life member of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. He specifically identified as Anglo-Catholic, proclaiming himself "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic [sic] in religion". About thirty years later Eliot commented on his religious views that he combined “a Catholic cast of mind, a Calvinist heritage, and a Puritanical temperament”. He also had wider spiritual interests, commenting that “I see the path of progress for modern man in his occupation with his own self, with his inner being” and citing Goethe and Rudolf Steiner as exemplars of such a direction. One of Eliot’s biographers, Peter Ackroyd, commented that "the purposes of [Eliot’s conversion] were two-fold. One: the Church of England offered Eliot some hope for himself, and I think Eliot needed some resting place. But secondly, it attached Eliot to the English community and English culture.” Separation and remarriage By 1932, Eliot had been contemplating a separation from his wife for some time. When Harvard offered him the Charles Eliot Norton professorship for the 1932–1933 academic year, he accepted and left Vivienne in England. Upon his return, he arranged for a formal separation from her, avoiding all but one meeting with her between his leaving for America in 1932 and her death in 1947. Vivienne was committed to the Northumberland House mental hospital, Stoke Newington, in 1938, and remained there until she died. Although Eliot was still legally her husband, he never visited her. From 1938 to 1957 Eliot’s public companion was Mary Trevelyan of London University, who wanted to marry him and left a detailed memoir. From 1946 to 1957, Eliot shared a flat with his friend John Davy Hayward, who collected and managed Eliot’s papers, styling himself “Keeper of the Eliot Archive”. Hayward also collected Eliot’s pre-Prufrock verse, commercially published after Eliot’s death as Poems Written in Early Youth. When Eliot and Hayward separated their household in 1957, Hayward retained his collection of Eliot’s papers, which he bequeathed to King’s College, Cambridge, in 1965. On 10 January 1957, at the age of 68, Eliot married Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 30. In contrast to his first marriage, Eliot knew Fletcher well, as she had been his secretary at Faber and Faber since August 1949. They kept their wedding secret; the ceremony was held in a church at 6:15 am with virtually no one in attendance other than his wife’s parents. Eliot had no children with either of his wives. In the early 1960s, by then in failing health, Eliot worked as an editor for the Wesleyan University Press, seeking new poets in Europe for publication. After Eliot’s death, Valerie dedicated her time to preserving his legacy, by editing and annotating The Letters of T. S. Eliot and a facsimile of the draft of The Waste Land. Valerie Eliot died on 9 November 2012 at her home in London. Death and honours Eliot died of emphysema at his home in Kensington in London, on 4 January 1965, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were taken to St Michael and All Angels’ Church, East Coker, the village in Somerset from which his Eliot ancestors had emigrated to America. A wall plaque commemorates him with a quotation from his poem “East Coker”, “In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.” In 1967, on the second anniversary of his death, Eliot was commemorated by the placement of a large stone in the floor of Poets’ Corner in London’s Westminster Abbey. The stone, cut by designer Reynolds Stone, is inscribed with his life dates, his Order of Merit, and a quotation from his poem “Little Gidding”, "the communication / of the dead is tongued with fire beyond / the language of the living.” The apartment block where he died, No. 3 Kensington Court Gardens, has had a blue plaque on it since 1986. Poetry For a poet of his stature, Eliot produced a relatively small number of poems. He was aware of this even early in his career. He wrote to J.H. Woods, one of his former Harvard professors, “My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year. The only thing that matters is that these should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event.” Typically, Eliot first published his poems individually in periodicals or in small books or pamphlets, and then collected them in books. His first collection was Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). In 1920, he published more poems in Ara Vos Prec (London) and Poems: 1920 (New York). These had the same poems (in a different order) except that “Ode” in the British edition was replaced with “Hysteria” in the American edition. In 1925, he collected The Waste Land and the poems in Prufrock and Poems into one volume and added The Hollow Men to form Poems: 1909–1925. From then on, he updated this work as Collected Poems. Exceptions are Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), a collection of light verse; Poems Written in Early Youth, posthumously published in 1967 and consisting mainly of poems published between 1907 and 1910 in The Harvard Advocate, and Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909–1917, material Eliot never intended to have published, which appeared posthumously in 1997. During an interview in 1959, Eliot said of his nationality and its role in his work: “I’d say that my poetry has obviously more in common with my distinguished contemporaries in America than with anything written in my generation in England. That I’m sure of.... It wouldn’t be what it is, and I imagine it wouldn’t be so good; putting it as modestly as I can, it wouldn’t be what it is if I’d been born in England, and it wouldn’t be what it is if I’d stayed in America. It’s a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America.” Cleo McNelly Kearns notes in her biography that Eliot was deeply influenced by Indic traditions notable the Upanishads. From the Sanskrit ending of The Waste Land to the 'What Krishna meant’ section of Four Quartets shows how much Indic religions and more specifically Hinduism made up his philosophical basic for his thought process. It must also be acknowledged, as Chinmoy Guha showed in his book Where the Dreams Cross: T S Eliot and French Poetry (Macmillan, 2011), that he was deeply influenced by French poets from Baudelaire to Paul Valéry. He himself wrote in his 1940 essay on W.B. Yeats: “The kind of poetry that I needed to teach me the use of my own voice did not exist in English at all; it was only to be found in French.” (On Poetry and Poets, 1948) The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock In 1915, Ezra Pound, overseas editor of Poetry magazine, recommended to Harriet Monroe, the magazine’s founder, that she publish “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. Although the character Prufrock seems to be middle-aged, Eliot wrote most of the poem when he was only twenty-two. Its now-famous opening lines, comparing the evening sky to “a patient etherised upon a table”, were considered shocking and offensive, especially at a time when Georgian Poetry was hailed for its derivations of the nineteenth century Romantic Poets. The poem follows the conscious experience of a man, Prufrock (relayed in the “stream of consciousness” form characteristic of the Modernists), lamenting his physical and intellectual inertia with the recurrent theme of carnal love unattained. Critical opinion is divided as to whether the narrator leaves his residence during the course of the narration. The locations described can be interpreted either as actual physical experiences, mental recollections, or as symbolic images from the unconscious mind, as, for example, in the refrain “In the room the women come and go”. The poem’s structure was heavily influenced by Eliot’s extensive reading of Dante and refers to a number of literary works, including Hamlet and those of the French Symbolists. Its reception in London can be gauged from an unsigned review in The Times Literary Supplement on 21 June 1917. “The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr. Eliot is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry.” The Waste Land In October 1922, Eliot published The Waste Land in The Criterion. Eliot’s dedication to il miglior fabbro ("the better craftsman") refers to Ezra Pound’s significant hand in editing and reshaping the poem from a longer Eliot manuscript to the shortened version that appears in publication. It was composed during a period of personal difficulty for Eliot—his marriage was failing, and both he and Vivienne were suffering from nervous disorders. The poem is often read as a representation of the disillusionment of the post-war generation. Before the poem’s publication as a book in December 1922, Eliot distanced himself from its vision of despair. On 15 November 1922, he wrote to Richard Aldington, saying, “As for The Waste Land, that is a thing of the past so far as I am concerned and I am now feeling toward a new form and style.” The poem is known for its obscure nature—its slippage between satire and prophecy; its abrupt changes of speaker, location, and time. This structural complexity is one of the reasons that the poem has become a touchstone of modern literature, a poetic counterpart to a novel published in the same year, James Joyce’s Ulysses. Among its best-known phrases are “April is the cruellest month”, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust” and “Shantih shantih shantih”. The Sanskrit mantra ends the poem. The Hollow Men The Hollow Men appeared in 1925. For the critic Edmund Wilson, it marked “The nadir of the phase of despair and desolation given such effective expression in The Waste Land.” It is Eliot’s major poem of the late 1920s. Similar to Eliot’s other works, its themes are overlapping and fragmentary. Post-war Europe under the Treaty of Versailles (which Eliot despised), the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, Eliot’s failed marriage. Allen Tate perceived a shift in Eliot’s method, writing that, “The mythologies disappear altogether in The Hollow Men.” This is a striking claim for a poem as indebted to Dante as anything else in Eliot’s early work, to say little of the modern English mythology—the “Old Guy Fawkes” of the Gunpowder Plot—or the colonial and agrarian mythos of Joseph Conrad and James George Frazer, which, at least for reasons of textual history, echo in The Waste Land. The “continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity” that is so characteristic of his mythical method remained in fine form. The Hollow Men contains some of Eliot’s most famous lines, notably its conclusion: This is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper. Ash-Wednesday Ash-Wednesday is the first long poem written by Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism. Published in 1930, it deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith acquires it. Sometimes referred to as Eliot’s “conversion poem”, it is richly but ambiguously allusive, and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation. Eliot’s style of writing in Ash-Wednesday showed a marked shift from the poetry he had written prior to his 1927 conversion, and his post-conversion style continued in a similar vein. His style became less ironic, and the poems were no longer populated by multiple characters in dialogue. His subject matter also became more focused on Eliot’s spiritual concerns and his Christian faith. Many critics were particularly enthusiastic about Ash-Wednesday. Edwin Muir maintained that it is one of the most moving poems Eliot wrote, and perhaps the “most perfect”, though it was not well received by everyone. The poem’s groundwork of orthodox Christianity discomfited many of the more secular literati. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats In 1939, Eliot published a book of light verse, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats ("Old Possum" was Ezra Pound’s nickname for him). This first edition had an illustration of the author on the cover. In 1954, the composer Alan Rawsthorne set six of the poems for speaker and orchestra in a work entitled Practical Cats. After Eliot’s death, the book was adapted as the basis of the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, first produced in London’s West End in 1981 and opening on Broadway the following year. Four Quartets Eliot regarded Four Quartets as his masterpiece, and it is the work that led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. It consists of four long poems, each first published separately: Burnt Norton (1936), East Coker (1940), The Dry Salvages (1941) and Little Gidding (1942). Each has five sections. Although they resist easy characterisation, each poem includes meditations on the nature of time in some important respect—theological, historical, physical—and its relation to the human condition. Each poem is associated with one of the four classical elements, respectively: air, earth, water, and fire. Burnt Norton is a meditative poem that begins with the narrator trying to focus on the present moment while walking through a garden, focusing on images and sounds like the bird, the roses, clouds, and an empty pool. The narrator’s meditation leads him/her to reach “the still point” in which he doesn’t try to get anywhere or to experience place and/or time, instead experiencing “a grace of sense”. In the final section, the narrator contemplates the arts ("Words" and “music”) as they relate to time. The narrator focuses particularly on the poet’s art of manipulating "Words [which] strain, / Crack and sometimes break, under the burden [of time], under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, [and] will not stay in place, / Will not stay still." By comparison, the narrator concludes that "Love is itself unmoving, / Only the cause and end of movement, / Timeless, and undesiring.” East Coker continues the examination of time and meaning, focusing in a famous passage on the nature of language and poetry. Out of darkness, Eliot offers a solution: “I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope.” The Dry Salvages treats the element of water, via images of river and sea. It strives to contain opposites: "The past and future / Are conquered, and reconciled.” Little Gidding (the element of fire) is the most anthologised of the Quartets. Eliot’s experiences as an air raid warden in the Blitz power the poem, and he imagines meeting Dante during the German bombing. The beginning of the Quartets ("Houses / Are removed, destroyed") had become a violent everyday experience; this creates an animation, where for the first time he talks of Love as the driving force behind all experience. From this background, the Quartets end with an affirmation of Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well and / All manner of thing shall be well.” The Four Quartets cannot be understood without reference to Christian thought, traditions, and history. Eliot draws upon the theology, art, symbolism and language of such figures as Dante, and mystics St. John of the Cross and Julian of Norwich. The “deeper communion” sought in East Coker, the “hints and whispers of children, the sickness that must grow worse in order to find healing”, and the exploration which inevitably leads us home all point to the pilgrim’s path along the road of sanctification. Plays With the important exception of Four Quartets, Eliot directed much of his creative energies after Ash Wednesday to writing plays in verse, mostly comedies or plays with redemptive endings. He was long a critic and admirer of Elizabethan and Jacobean verse drama; witness his allusions to Webster, Thomas Middleton, William Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd in The Waste Land. In a 1933 lecture he said “Every poet would like, I fancy, to be able to think that he had some direct social utility . . . . He would like to be something of a popular entertainer, and be able to think his own thoughts behind a tragic or a comic mask. He would like to convey the pleasures of poetry, not only to a larger audience, but to larger groups of people collectively; and the theatre is the best place in which to do it.” After The Waste Land (1922), he wrote that he was “now feeling toward a new form and style”. One project he had in mind was writing a play in verse, using some of the rhythms of early jazz. The play featured “Sweeney”, a character who had appeared in a number of his poems. Although Eliot did not finish the play, he did publish two scenes from the piece. These scenes, titled Fragment of a Prologue (1926) and Fragment of an Agon (1927), were published together in 1932 as Sweeney Agonistes. Although Eliot noted that this was not intended to be a one-act play, it is sometimes performed as one. A pageant play by Eliot called The Rock was performed in 1934 for the benefit of churches in the Diocese of London. Much of it was a collaborative effort; Eliot accepted credit only for the authorship of one scene and the choruses. George Bell, the Bishop of Chichester, had been instrumental in connecting Eliot with producer E. Martin Browne for the production of The Rock, and later commissioned Eliot to write another play for the Canterbury Festival in 1935. This one, Murder in the Cathedral, concerning the death of the martyr, Thomas Becket, was more under Eliot’s control. Eliot biographer Peter Ackroyd comments that "for [Eliot], Murder in the Cathedral and succeeding verse plays offered a double advantage; it allowed him to practice poetry but it also offered a convenient home for his religious sensibility." After this, he worked on more “commercial” plays for more general audiences: The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk, (1953) and The Elder Statesman (1958) (the latter three were produced by Henry Sherek and directed by E. Martin Browne). The Broadway production in New York of The Cocktail Party received the 1950 Tony Award for Best Play. Eliot wrote The Cocktail Party while he was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study. Regarding his method of playwriting, Eliot explained, “If I set out to write a play, I start by an act of choice. I settle upon a particular emotional situation, out of which characters and a plot will emerge. And then lines of poetry may come into being: not from the original impulse but from a secondary stimulation of the unconscious mind.” Literary criticism Eliot also made significant contributions to the field of literary criticism, strongly influencing the school of New Criticism. He was somewhat self-deprecating and minimising of his work and once said his criticism was merely a “by-product” of his “private poetry-workshop” But the critic William Empson once said, "I do not know for certain how much of my own mind [Eliot] invented, let alone how much of it is a reaction against him or indeed a consequence of misreading him. He is a very penetrating influence, perhaps not unlike the east wind.” In his critical essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent”, Eliot argues that art must be understood not in a vacuum, but in the context of previous pieces of art. "In a peculiar sense [an artist or poet]... must inevitably be judged by the standards of the past." This essay was an important influence over the New Criticism by introducing the idea that the value of a work of art must be viewed in the context of the artist’s previous works, a “simultaneous order” of works (i.e., “tradition”). Eliot himself employed this concept on many of his works, especially on his long-poem The Waste Land. Also important to New Criticism was the idea—as articulated in Eliot’s essay “Hamlet and His Problems”—of an “objective correlative”, which posits a connection among the words of the text and events, states of mind, and experiences. This notion concedes that a poem means what it says, but suggests that there can be a non-subjective judgment based on different readers’ different—but perhaps corollary—interpretations of a work. More generally, New Critics took a cue from Eliot in regard to his “'classical’ ideals and his religious thought; his attention to the poetry and drama of the early seventeenth century; his deprecation of the Romantics, especially Shelley; his proposition that good poems constitute 'not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion’; and his insistence that 'poets... at present must be difficult’.” Eliot’s essays were a major factor in the revival of interest in the metaphysical poets. Eliot particularly praised the metaphysical poets’ ability to show experience as both psychological and sensual, while at the same time infusing this portrayal with—in Eliot’s view—wit and uniqueness. Eliot’s essay “The Metaphysical Poets”, along with giving new significance and attention to metaphysical poetry, introduced his now well-known definition of “unified sensibility”, which is considered by some to mean the same thing as the term “metaphysical”. His 1922 poem The Waste Land also can be better understood in light of his work as a critic. He had argued that a poet must write “programmatic criticism”, that is, a poet should write to advance his own interests rather than to advance “historical scholarship”. Viewed from Eliot’s critical lens, The Waste Land likely shows his personal despair about World War I rather than an objective historical understanding of it. Late in his career, Eliot focused much of his creative energy on writing for the theatre, and some of his critical writing, in essays like “Poetry and Drama,” “Hamlet and his Problems,” and “The Possibility of a Poetic Drama,” focused on the aesthetics of writing drama in verse. Critical reception Responses to his poetry The writer Ronald Bush notes that Eliot’s early poems like “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “Portrait of a Lady”, “La Figlia Che Piange”, “Preludes”, and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” had "[an] effect [that] was both unique and compelling, and their assurance staggered [Eliot’s] contemporaries who were privileged to read them in manuscript. [Conrad] Aiken, for example, marveled at ‘how sharp and complete and sui generis the whole thing was, from the outset. The wholeness is there, from the very beginning.’” The initial critical response to Eliot’s “The Waste Land” was mixed. Ronald Bush notes that the piece was at first correctly perceived as a work of jazz-like syncopation—and, like 1920s jazz, essentially iconoclastic." Some critics, like Edmund Wilson, Conrad Aiken, and Gilbert Seldes thought it was the best poetry being written in the English language while others thought it was esoteric and wilfully difficult. Edmund Wilson, being one of the critics who praised Eliot, called him “one of our only authentic poets”. Wilson also pointed out some of Eliot’s weaknesses as a poet. In regard to “The Waste Land”, Wilson admits its flaws ("its lack of structural unity"), but concluded, “I doubt whether there is a single other poem of equal length by a contemporary American which displays so high and so varied a mastery of English verse.” Charles Powell was negative in his criticism of Eliot, calling his poems incomprehensible. And the writers of Time magazine were similarly baffled by a challenging poem like “The Waste Land”. John Crowe Ransom wrote negative criticisms of Eliot’s work but also had positive things to say. For instance, though Ransom negatively criticised “The Waste Land” for its “extreme disconnection”, Ransom was not completely condemnatory of Eliot’s work and admitted that Eliot was a talented poet. Addressing some of the common criticisms directed against “The Waste Land” at the time, Gilbert Seldes stated, "It seems at first sight remarkably disconnected and confused... [however] a closer view of the poem does more than illuminate the difficulties; it reveals the hidden form of the work, [and] indicates how each thing falls into place.” Eliot’s reputation as a poet, as well as his influence in the academy, peaked following the publication of The Four Quartets. In an essay on Eliot published in 1989, the writer Cynthia Ozick refers to this peak of influence (from the 1940s through the early 1960s) as “the Age of Eliot” when Eliot “seemed pure zenith, a colossus, nothing less than a permanent luminary, fixed in the firmament like the sun and the moon”. But during this post-war period, others, like Ronald Bush, observed that this time also marked the beginning of the decline in Eliot’s literary influence: As Eliot’s conservative religious and political convictions began to seem less congenial in the postwar world, other readers reacted with suspicion to his assertions of authority, obvious in Four Quartets and implicit in the earlier poetry. The result, fueled by intermittent rediscovery of Eliot’s occasional anti-Semitic rhetoric, has been a progressive downward revision of his once towering reputation. Bush also notes that Eliot’s reputation “slipped” significantly further after his death. He writes, "Sometimes regarded as too academic (William Carlos Williams’s view), Eliot was also frequently criticized for a deadening neoclassicism (as he himself—perhaps just as unfairly—had criticized Milton). However, the multifarious tributes from practicing poets of many schools published during his centenary in 1988 was a strong indication of the intimidating continued presence of his poetic voice.” Although Eliot’s poetry is not as influential as it once was, notable literary scholars, like Harold Bloom and Stephen Greenblatt, still acknowledge that Eliot’s poetry is central to the literary English canon. For instance, the editors of The Norton Anthology of English Literature write, "There is no disagreement on [Eliot’s] importance as one of the great renovators of the English poetry dialect, whose influence on a whole generation of poets, critics, and intellectuals generally was enormous. [However] his range as a poet [was] limited, and his interest in the great middle ground of human experience (as distinct from the extremes of saint and sinner) [was] deficient." Despite this criticism, these scholars also acknowledge "[Eliot’s] poetic cunning, his fine craftsmanship, his original accent, his historical and representative importance as the poet of the modern symbolist-Metaphysical tradition". Allegations of anti-Semitism The depiction of Jews in some of Eliot’s poems has led several critics to accuse him of anti-Semitism. This case has been presented most forcefully in a study by Anthony Julius: T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form (1996). In “Gerontion”, Eliot writes, in the voice of the poem’s elderly narrator, "And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner [of my building] / Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp." Another well-known example appears in the poem, “Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar”. In this poem, Eliot wrote, "The rats are underneath the piles. / The jew is underneath the lot. / Money in furs." Interpreting the line as an indirect comparison of Jews to rats, Julius writes, “The anti-Semitism is unmistakable. It reaches out like a clear signal to the reader.” Julius’s viewpoint has been supported by literary critics such as Harold Bloom, Christopher Ricks, George Steiner, Tom Paulin and James Fenton. In a series of lectures delivered at the University of Virginia in 1933, published under the title After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy (1934), Eliot wrote of societal tradition and coherence, "What is still more important [than cultural homogeneity] is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable." Eliot never re-published this book/lecture. In his 1934 pageant play The Rock, Eliot distances himself from Fascist movements of the thirties by caricaturing Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, who 'firmly refuse/ To descend to palaver with anthropoid Jews’. The 'new evangels’ of totalitarianism are presented as antithetic to the spirit of Christianity. Craig Raine, in his books In Defence of T. S. Eliot (2001) and T. S. Eliot (2006), sought to defend Eliot from the charge of anti-Semitism. Reviewing the 2006 book, Paul Dean stated that he was not convinced by Raine’s argument. Nevertheless, he concluded, “Ultimately, as both Raine and, to do him justice, Julius insist, however much Eliot may have been compromised as a person, as we all are in our several ways, his greatness as a poet remains.” In another review of Raine’s 2006 book, the literary critic Terry Eagleton also questioned the validity of Raine’s defence of Eliot’s character flaws as well as the entire basis for Raine’s book, writing, "Why do critics feel a need to defend the authors they write on, like doting parents deaf to all criticism of their obnoxious children? Eliot’s well-earned reputation [as a poet] is established beyond all doubt, and making him out to be as unflawed as the Archangel Gabriel does him no favours.” Influence Eliot’s influence extends beyond the English language. His work, in particular The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, and Ash Wednesday strongly influenced the poetry of two of the most significant post-War Irish language poets, Seán Ó Ríordáin and Máirtín Ó Díreáin, as well as The Weekend of Dermot and Grace (1964) by Eoghan O Tuairisc. Eliot additionally influenced, among many others, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, William Gaddis, Allen Tate, Ted Hughes, Geoffrey Hill, Seamus Heaney, Kamau Brathwaite, Russell Kirk, George Seferis (who in 1936 published a modern Greek translation of The Waste Land,) and James Joyce . Honors and Awards Below are a partial list of local, regional, and national honors and awards received by T.S. Eliot or else later bestowed or created in his honor. Note the National or State Honors are displayed in order of precedence based on Eliot’s nationality and rules of protocol not awarding date. Academic Awards * Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (1935) * Nobel Prize in Literature “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry” (1948) * Hanseatic Goethe Prize (of Hamburg) (1955) * Dante Medal (of Florence) (1959) * Thirteen Honorary Doctorates (Including ones from Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and Harvard) Artistic Awards * Tony Award for Best Play: The Broadway production of The Cocktail Party (1950) * 2 Tony Awards for his poems used in the musical Cats (1983) Other Honors * Eliot College of the University of Kent, England, named in his honor * Celebrated on U.S.commemorative postage stamps * Star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame Works Critical editions * Collected Poems, 1909–1962 (1963) excerpt and text search * Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Illustrated Edition (1982) excerpt and text search * Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot edited by Frank Kermode (1975) excerpt and text search * The Waste Land (Norton Critical Editions) edited by Michael North (2000) excerpt and text search * Selected essays (1932); enlarged (1960) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, Volume 1: 1898–1922 (1988) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, Volume 2: 1923–1925 (2009) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, Volume 3: 1926–1927 (2012) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, Volume 4: 1928–1929 (2013) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, Volume 5: 1930–1931 (2014) * The letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, Volume 6: 1932–1933 (2016) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Eliot
Against all the odds, Dr. Shenita Etwaroo has risen up from traumatic abuse, and unspeakable loss to speak for the voiceless through the glory of God. Shenita is a writer, teacher, film producer, a vegan and an activist and an advocate for animals. She has long been active in animal protection, and human rights issues. Following her doctorate in counseling, she set out to deepen her knowledge, striving to promote the values she believes in: love and and compassion for every living creature, regardless of the species.Her work as a fiction writer and as a non-fiction columnist aligns her world views with hope and passion, striving to offer a voice to those who are innocent, oppressed and vulnerable and can't speak for themselves. Disclaimer: Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material or content without expressed or written permission from the author and/or owner is categorized as plagiarism and thus, is strictly prohibited.However, excerpts and links can be used with accurate referencing that give proper and full credit to Shenita Etwaroo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1, public lectures across the United States. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. Following this ground-breaking work, he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence". Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first, then revised them for print. His first two collections of essays – Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series, published respectively in 1841 and 1844 – represent the core of his thinking, and include such well-known essays as Self-Reliance, The Over-Soul, Circles, The Poet and Experience. Together with Nature, these essays made the decade from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s Emerson's most fertile period. Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for humankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Emerson's "nature" was more philosophical than naturalistic; "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul." While his writing style can be seen as somewhat impenetrable, and was thought so even in his own time, Emerson's essays remain among the linchpins of American thinking, and Emerson's work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers and poets that have followed him. When asked to sum up his work, he said his central doctrine was "the infinitude of the private man.” Early life, family, and education Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803, son of Ruth Haskins and the Rev. William Emerson, a Unitarian minister. He was named after his mother's brother Ralph and the father's great-grandmother Rebecca Waldo. Ralph Waldo was the second of five sons who survived into adulthood; the others were William, Edward, Robert Bulkeley, and Charles. Three other children—Phebe, John Clarke, and Mary Caroline–died in childhood. The young Ralph Waldo Emerson's father died from stomach cancer on May 12, 1811, less than two weeks before Emerson's eighth birthday. Emerson was raised by his mother, with the help of the other women in the family; his aunt Mary Moody Emerson in particular had a profound effect on Emerson. She lived with the family off and on, and maintained a constant correspondence with Emerson until her death in 1863. Emerson's formal schooling began at the Boston Latin School in 1812 when he was nine. In October 1817, at 14, Emerson went to Harvard College and was appointed freshman messenger for the president, requiring Emerson to fetch delinquent students and send messages to faculty. Midway through his junior year, Emerson began keeping a list of books he had read and started a journal in a series of notebooks that would be called "Wide World". He took outside jobs to cover his school expenses, including as a waiter for the Junior Commons and as an occasional teacher working with his uncle Samuel in Waltham, Massachusetts. By his senior year, Emerson decided to go by his middle name, Waldo. Emerson served as Class Poet; as was custom, he presented an original poem on Harvard's Class Day, a month before his official graduation on August 29, 1821, when he was 18. He did not stand out as a student and graduated in the exact middle of his class of 59 people. In 1826, faced with poor health, Emerson went to seek out warmer climates. He first went to Charleston, South Carolina, but found the weather was still too cold. He then went further south, to St. Augustine, Florida, where he took long walks on the beach, and began writing poetry. While in St. Augustine, he made the acquaintance of Prince Achille Murat. Murat, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was only two years his senior; they became extremely good friends and enjoyed one another's company. The two engaged in enlightening discussions on religion, society, philosophy, and government, and Emerson considered Murat an important figure in his intellectual education. While in St. Augustine, Emerson had his first experience of slavery. At one point, he attended a meeting of the Bible Society while there was a slave auction taking place in the yard outside. He wrote, "One ear therefore heard the glad tidings of great joy, whilst the other was regaled with 'Going, gentlemen, going’!” Early career After Harvard, Emerson assisted his brother William in a school for young women established in their mother's house, after he had established his own school in Chelmsford, Massachusetts; when his brother William went to Göttingen to study divinity, Emerson took charge of the school. Over the next several years, Emerson made his living as a schoolmaster, then went to Harvard Divinity School. Emerson's brother Edward, two years younger than he, entered the office of lawyer Daniel Webster, after graduating Harvard first in his class. Edward's physical health began to deteriorate and he soon suffered a mental collapse as well; he was taken to McLean Asylum in June 1828 at age 23. Although he recovered his mental equilibrium, he died in 1834 from apparently longstanding tuberculosis. Another of Emerson's bright and promising younger brothers, Charles, born in 1808, died in 1836, also of tuberculosis, making him the third young person in Emerson's innermost circle to die in a period of a few years. Emerson met his first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker, in Concord, New Hampshire on Christmas Day, 1827, and married her when she was 18. The couple moved to Boston, with Emerson's mother Ruth moving with them to help take care of Ellen, who was already sick with tuberculosis. Less than two years later, Ellen died at the age of 20 on February 8, 1831, after uttering her last words: "I have not forgot the peace and joy." Emerson was heavily affected by her death and visited her grave in Roxbury daily. In a journal entry dated March 29, 1832, Emerson wrote, "I visited Ellen's tomb & opened the coffin." Boston's Second Church invited Emerson to serve as its junior pastor and he was ordained on January 11, 1829. His initial salary was $1, a year, increasing to $1, in July, but with his church role he took on other responsibilities: he was chaplain to the Massachusetts legislature, and a member of the Boston school committee. His church activities kept him busy, though during this period, facing the imminent death of his wife, he began to doubt his own beliefs. After his wife's death, he began to disagree with the church's methods, writing in his journal in June 1832: "I have sometimes thought that, in order to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the ministry. The profession is antiquated. In an altered age, we worship in the dead forms of our forefathers." His disagreements with church officials over the administration of the Communion service and misgivings about public prayer eventually led to his resignation in 1832. As he wrote, "This mode of commemorating Christ is not suitable to me. That is reason enough why I should abandon it." As one Emerson scholar has pointed out, "Doffing the decent black of the pastor, he was free to choose the gown of the lecturer and teacher, of the thinker not confined within the limits of an institution or a tradition." Emerson toured Europe in 1833 and later wrote of his travels in English Traits (1857). He left aboard the brig Jasper on Christmas Day, 1832, sailing first to Malta. During his European trip, he spent several months in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Venice, among other cities. When in Rome, he met with John Stuart Mill, who gave him a letter of recommendation to meet Thomas Carlyle. He went to Switzerland, and had to be dragged by fellow passengers to visit Voltaire's home in Ferney, "protesting all the way upon the unworthiness of his memory." He then went on to Paris, a "loud modern New York of a place,", where he visited the Jardin des Plantes. He was greatly moved by the organization of plants according to Jussieu's system of classification, and the way all such objects were related and connected. As Richardson says, "Emerson's moment of insight into the interconnectedness of things in the Jardin des Plantes was a moment of almost visionary intensity that pointed him away from theology and toward science." Moving north to England, Emerson met William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle in particular was a strong influence on Emerson; Emerson would later serve as an unofficial literary agent in the United States for Carlyle, and in March 1835, he tried to convince Carlyle to come to America to lecture. The two would maintain correspondence until Carlyle's death in 1881. Emerson returned to the United States on October 9, 1833, and lived with his mother in Newton, Massachusetts, until October, 1834, when he moved to Concord, Massachusetts, to live with his step-grandfather Dr. Ezra Ripley at what was later named The Old Manse. Seeing the budding Lyceum movement, which provided lectures on all sorts of topics, Emerson saw a possible career as a lecturer. On November 5, 1833, he made the first of what would eventually be some 1, lectures, discussing The Uses of Natural History in Boston. This was an expanded account of his experience in Paris. In this lecture, he set out some of his important beliefs and the ideas he would later develop in his first published essay Nature: Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language, not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book that is written in that tongue. On January 24, 1835, Emerson wrote a letter to Lydia Jackson proposing marriage. Her acceptance reached him by mail on the 28th. In July 1835, he bought a house on the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike in Concord, Massachusetts which he named "Bush"; it is now open to the public as the Ralph Waldo Emerson House. Emerson quickly became one of the leading citizens in the town. He gave a lecture to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town of Concord on September 12, 1835. Two days later, he married Lydia Jackson in her home town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and moved to the new home in Concord together with Emerson's mother on September 15. Emerson quickly changed his wife's name to Lidian, and would call her Queenie, and sometimes Asia, and she called him Mr. Emerson. Their children were Waldo, Ellen, Edith, and Edward Waldo Emerson. Ellen was named for his first wife, at Lidian's suggestion. Emerson was poor when he was at Harvard, and later supported his family for much of his life. He inherited a fair amount of money after his first wife's death, though he had to file a lawsuit against the Tucker family in 1836 to get it. He received $11, in May 1834, and a further $11,. in July 1837. In 1834, he considered that he had an income of $1, a year from the initial payment of the estate, equivalent to what he had earned as a pastor. Literary career and Transcendentalism On September 8, 1836, the day before the publication of Nature, Emerson met with Henry Hedge, George Putnam and George Ripley to plan periodic gatherings of other like-minded intellectuals. This was the beginning of the Transcendental Club, which served as a center for the movement. Its first official meeting was held on September 19, 1836. On September 1, 1837, women attended a meeting of the Transcendental Club for the first time. Emerson invited Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Hoar and Sarah Ripley for dinner at his home before the meeting to ensure that they would be present for the evening get-together. Fuller would prove to be an important figure in Transcendentalism. Emerson anonymously published his first essay, Nature, on September 9, 1836. A year later, on August 31, 1837, Emerson delivered his now-famous Phi Beta Kappa address, "The American Scholar", then known as "An Oration, Delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Cambridge"; it was renamed for a collection of essays (which included the first general publication of "Nature") in 1849. Friends urged him to publish the talk, and he did so, at his own expense, in an edition of 500 copies, which sold out in a month. In the speech, Emerson declared literary independence in the United States and urged Americans to create a writing style all their own and free from Europe. James Russell Lowell, who was a student at Harvard at the time, called it "an event without former parallel on our literary annals". Another member of the audience, Reverend John Pierce, called it "an apparently incoherent and unintelligible address". In 1837, Emerson befriended Henry David Thoreau. Though they had likely met as early as 1835, in the fall of 1837, Emerson asked Thoreau, "Do you keep a journal?" The question went on to have a lifelong inspiration for Thoreau. Emerson's own journal comes to 16 large volumes, in the definitive Harvard University Press edition published between 1960 and 1982. Some scholars consider the journal to be Emerson's key literary work. In March 1837, Emerson gave a series of lectures on The Philosophy of History at Boston's Masonic Temple. This was the first time he managed a lecture series on his own, and was the beginning of his serious career as a lecturer. The profits from this series of lectures were much larger than when he was paid by an organization to talk, and Emerson continued to manage his own lectures often throughout his lifetime. He would eventually give as many as 80 lectures a year, traveling across the northern part of the United States. He traveled as far as St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and California. On July 15, 1838, Emerson was invited to Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School for the school's graduation address, which came to be known as his "Divinity School Address". Emerson discounted Biblical miracles and proclaimed that, while Jesus was a great man, he was not God: historical Christianity, he said, had turned Jesus into a "demigod, as the Orientals or the Greeks would describe Osiris or Apollo". His comments outraged the establishment and the general Protestant community. For this, he was denounced as an atheist, and a poisoner of young men's minds. Despite the roar of critics, he made no reply, leaving others to put forward a defense. He was not invited back to speak at Harvard for another thirty years. The Transcendental group began to publish its flagship journal, The Dial, in July 1840. They planned the journal as early as October 1839, but work did not begin until the first week of 1840. George Ripley was its managing editor and Margaret Fuller was its first editor, having been hand-chosen by Emerson after several others had declined the role. Fuller stayed on for about two years and Emerson took over, utilizing the journal to promote talented young writers including Ellery Channing and Thoreau. It was in 1841 that Emerson published Essays, his second book, which included the famous essay, "Self-Reliance". His aunt called it a "strange medley of atheism and false independence", but it gained favorable reviews in London and Paris. This book, and its popular reception, more than any of Emerson's contributions to date laid the groundwork for his international fame. In January 1842 Emerson's first son Waldo died from scarlet fever. Emerson wrote of his grief in the poem "Threnody" ("For this losing is true dying"), and the essay "Experience". That same month, William James was born, and Emerson agreed to be his godfather. Bronson Alcott announced his plans in November 1842 to find "a farm of a hundred acres in excellent condition with good buildings, a good orchard and grounds". Charles Lane purchased a 90-acre (360, m2) farm in Harvard, Massachusetts, in May 1843 for what would become Fruitlands, a community based on Utopian ideals inspired in part by Transcendentalism. The farm would run based on a communal effort, using no animals for labor; its participants would eat no meat and use no wool or leather. Emerson said he felt "sad at heart" for not engaging in the experiment himself. Even so, he did not feel Fruitlands would be a success. "Their whole doctrine is spiritual", he wrote, "but they always end with saying, Give us much land and money". Even Alcott admitted he was not prepared for the difficulty in operating Fruitlands. "None of us were prepared to actualize practically the ideal life of which we dreamed. So we fell apart", he wrote. After its failure, Emerson helped buy a farm for Alcott's family in Concord which Alcott named "Hillside". The Dial ceased publication in April 1844; Horace Greeley reported it as an end to the "most original and thoughtful periodical ever published in this country". (An unrelated magazine of the same name would be published in several periods through 1929.) In 1844, Emerson published his second collection of essays, entitled "Essays: Second Series." This collection included "The Poet," "Experience," "Gifts," and an essay entitled "Nature," a different work from the 1836 essay of the same name. Emerson made a living as a popular lecturer in New England and much of the rest of the country. He had begun lecturing in 1833; by the 1850s he was giving as many as 80 per year. He addressed the Boston Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and the Gloucester Lyceum, among others. Emerson spoke on a wide variety of subjects and many of his essays grew out of his lectures. He charged between $10 and $50 for each appearance, bringing him as much as $2, in a typical winter "season". This was more than his earnings from other sources. In some years, he earned as much as $900 for a series of six lectures, and in another, for a winter series of talks in Boston, he netted $1,. He eventually gave some 1, lectures in his lifetime. His earnings allowed him to expand his property, buying 11 acres (45, m2) of land by Walden Pond and a few more acres in a neighboring pine grove. He wrote that he was "landlord and waterlord of 14 acres, more or less". Emerson was introduced to Indian philosophy when reading the works of French philosopher Victor Cousin. In 1845, Emerson's journals show he was reading the Bhagavad Gita and Henry Thomas Colebrooke's Essays on the Vedas. Emerson was strongly influenced by the Vedas, and much of his writing has strong shades of nondualism. One of the clearest examples of this can be found in his essay "The Over-soul”: We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul. From 1847 to 1848, he toured England, Scotland, and Ireland. He also visited Paris between the February Revolution and the bloody June Days. When he arrived, he saw the stumps where trees had been cut down to form barricades in the February riots. On May 21 he stood on the Champ de Mars in the midst of mass celebrations for concord, peace and labor. He wrote in his journal: "At the end of the year we shall take account, & see if the Revolution was worth the trees." In February 1852 Emerson and James Freeman Clarke and William Henry Channing edited an edition of the works and letters of Margaret Fuller, who had died in 1850. Within a week of her death, her New York editor Horace Greeley suggested to Emerson that a biography of Fuller, to be called Margaret and Her Friends, be prepared quickly "before the interest excited by her sad decease has passed away". Published with the title The Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Fuller's words were heavily censored or rewritten. The three editors were not concerned about accuracy; they believed public interest in Fuller was temporary and that she would not survive as a historical figure. Even so, for a time, it was the best-selling biography of the decade and went through thirteen editions before the end of the century. Walt Whitman published the innovative poetry collection Leaves of Grass in 1855 and sent a copy to Emerson for his opinion. Emerson responded positively, sending a flattering five-page letter as a response. Emerson's approval helped the first edition of Leaves of Grass stir up significant interest and convinced Whitman to issue a second edition shortly thereafter. This edition quoted a phrase from Emerson's letter, printed in gold leaf on the cover: "I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career". Emerson took offense that this letter was made public and later became more critical of the work. Civil War years Emerson was staunchly anti-slavery, but he did not appreciate being in the public limelight and was hesitant about lecturing on the subject. He did, however, give a number of lectures during the pre-Civil War years, beginning as early as November, 1837. A number of his friends and family members were more active abolitionists than he, at first, but from 1844 on, he took a more active role in opposing slavery. He gave a number of speeches and lectures, and notably welcomed John Brown to his home during Brown's visits to Concord. He voted for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, but Emerson was disappointed that Lincoln was more concerned about preserving the Union than eliminating slavery outright. Once the American Civil War broke out, Emerson made it clear that he believed in immediate emancipation of the slaves. Around this time, in 1860, Emerson published The Conduct of Life, his final original collection of essays. In this book, Emerson "grappled with some of the thorniest issues of the moment," and "his experience in the abolition ranks is a telling influence in his conclusions. In the book's opening essay, Fate, Emerson wrote, "The question of the times resolved itself into a practical question of the conduct of life. How shall I live?" Emerson visited Washington, D.C, at the end of January, 1862. He gave a public lecture at the Smithsonian on January 31, 1862, and declared: "The South calls slavery an institution... I call it destitution... Emancipation is the demand of civilization". The next day, February 1, his friend Charles Sumner took him to meet Lincoln at the White House. Lincoln was familiar with Emerson's work, having previously seen him lecture. Emerson's misgivings about Lincoln began to soften after this meeting. In 1865, he spoke at a memorial service held for Lincoln in Concord: "Old as history is, and manifold as are its tragedies, I doubt if any death has caused so much pain as this has caused, or will have caused, on its announcement." Emerson also met a number of high-ranking government officials, including Salmon P. Chase, the secretary of the treasury, Edward Bates, the attorney general, Edwin M. Stanton, the secretary of war, Gideon Welles, the secretary of the navy, and William Seward, the secretary of state. On May 6, 1862, Emerson's protégé Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis at the age of 44 and Emerson delivered his eulogy. Emerson would continuously refer to Thoreau as his best friend, despite a falling out that began in 1849 after Thoreau published A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Another friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne, died two years after Thoreau in 1864. Emerson served as one of the pallbearers as Hawthorne was buried in Concord, as Emerson wrote, "in a pomp of sunshine and verdure". He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1864. Final years and death Starting in 1867, Emerson's health began declining; he wrote much less in his journals. Beginning as early as the summer of 1871 or in the spring of 1872, Emerson started having memory problems and suffered from aphasia. By the end of the decade, he forgot his own name at times and, when anyone asked how he felt, he responded, "Quite well; I have lost my mental faculties, but am perfectly well". Emerson's Concord home caught fire on July 24, 1872; Emerson called for help from neighbors and, giving up on putting out the flames, all attempted to save as many objects as possible. The fire was put out by Ephraim Bull, Jr., the one-armed son of Ephraim Wales Bull. Donations were collected by friends to help the Emersons rebuild, including $5, gathered by Francis Cabot Lowell, another $10, collected by LeBaron Russell Briggs, and a personal donation of $1, from George Bancroft. Support for shelter was offered as well; though the Emersons ended up staying with family at the Old Manse, invitations came from Anne Lynch Botta, James Elliot Cabot, James Thomas Fields and Annie Adams Fields. The fire marked an end to Emerson's serious lecturing career; from then on, he would lecture only on special occasions and only in front of familiar audiences. While the house was being rebuilt, Emerson took a trip to England, continental Europe, and Egypt. He left on October 23, 1872, along with his daughter Ellen while his wife Lidian spent time at the Old Manse and with friends. Emerson and his daughter Ellen returned to the United States on the ship Olympus along with friend Charles Eliot Norton on April 15, 1873. Emerson's return to Concord was celebrated by the town and school was canceled that day. In late 1874 Emerson published an anthology of poetry called Parnassus, which included poems by Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Julia Caroline Dorr, Jean Ingelow, Lucy Larcom, Jones Very, as well as Thoreau and several others. The anthology was originally prepared as early as the fall of 1871 but was delayed when the publishers asked for revisions. The problems with his memory had become embarrassing to Emerson and he ceased his public appearances by 1879. As Holmes wrote, "Emerson is afraid to trust himself in society much, on account of the failure of his memory and the great difficulty he finds in getting the words he wants. It is painful to witness his embarrassment at times". On April 21, 1882, Emerson was diagnosed with pneumonia. He died on April 27, 1882. Emerson is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts. He was placed in his coffin wearing a white robe given by American sculptor Daniel Chester French. Lifestyle and beliefs Emerson's religious views were often considered radical at the time. He believed that all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine. Critics believed that Emerson was removing the central God figure; as Henry Ware, Jr. said, Emerson was in danger of taking away "the Father of the Universe" and leaving "but a company of children in an orphan asylum". Emerson was partly influenced by German philosophy and Biblical criticism. His views, the basis of Transcendentalism, suggested that God does not have to reveal the truth but that the truth could be intuitively experienced directly from nature. Emerson did not become an ardent abolitionist until 1844, though his journals show he was concerned with slavery beginning in his youth, even dreaming about helping to free slaves. In June 1856, shortly after Charles Sumner, a United States Senator, was beaten for his staunch abolitionist views, Emerson lamented that he himself was not as committed to the cause. He wrote, "There are men who as soon as they are born take a bee-line to the axe of the inquisitor... Wonderful the way in which we are saved by this unfailing supply of the moral element". After Sumner's attack, Emerson began to speak out about slavery. "I think we must get rid of slavery, or we must get rid of freedom", he said at a meeting at Concord that summer. Emerson used slavery as an example of a human injustice, especially in his role as a minister. In early 1838, provoked by the murder of an abolitionist publisher from Alton, Illinois named Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Emerson gave his first public antislavery address. As he said, "It is but the other day that the brave Lovejoy gave his breast to the bullets of a mob, for the rights of free speech and opinion, and died when it was better not to live". John Quincy Adams said the mob-murder of Lovejoy "sent a shock as of any earthquake throughout this continent". However, Emerson maintained that reform would be achieved through moral agreement rather than by militant action. By August 1, 1844, at a lecture in Concord, he stated more clearly his support for the abolitionist movement. He stated, "We are indebted mainly to this movement, and to the continuers of it, for the popular discussion of every point of practical ethics". Emerson may have had erotic thoughts about at least one man. During his early years at Harvard, he found himself attracted to a young freshman named Martin Gay about whom he wrote sexually charged poetry. He also had a number of crushes on various women throughout his life, such as Anna Barker and Caroline Sturgis. Legacy As a lecturer and orator, Emerson—nicknamed the Concord Sage—became the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States. Herman Melville, who had met Emerson in 1849, originally thought he had "a defect in the region of the heart" and a "self-conceit so intensely intellectual that at first one hesitates to call it by its right name", though he later admitted Emerson was "a great man". Theodore Parker, a minister and Transcendentalist, noted Emerson's ability to influence and inspire others: "the brilliant genius of Emerson rose in the winter nights, and hung over Boston, drawing the eyes of ingenuous young people to look up to that great new start, a beauty and a mystery, which charmed for the moment, while it gave also perennial inspiration, as it led them forward along new paths, and towards new hopes". Emerson's work not only influenced his contemporaries, such as Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau, but would continue to influence thinkers and writers in the United States and around the world down to the present. Notable thinkers who recognize Emerson's influence include Nietzsche and William James, Emerson's godson. "There is little disagreement that Emerson was the most influential writer of 19th-century America, though these days he is largely the concern of scholars. Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and William James were all positive Emersonians, while Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James were Emersonians in denial — while they set themselves in opposition to the sage, there was no escaping his influence. To T. S. Eliot, Emerson’s essays were an “encumbrance.” Waldo the Sage was eclipsed from 1914 until 1965, when he returned to shine, after surviving in the work of major American poets like Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and Hart Crane." In his book The American Religion, Harold Bloom repeatedly refers to Emerson as "The prophet of the American Religion," which in the context of the book refers to indigenously American religions such as Mormonism and Christian Science, which arose largely in Emerson's lifetime, but also to Mainline Protestant churches that Bloom says have become in the United States more gnostic than their European counterparts. In The Western Canon, Harold Bloom compares Emerson to Michel de Montaigne: "The only equivalent reading experience that I know is to reread endlessly in the notebooks and journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American version of Montaigne." Several of Emerson's poems were included in Bloom's The Best Poems of the English Language, although he wrote that none of the poems are as outstanding as the best of Emerson's essays, which Bloom listed as Self-Reliance, Circles, Experience, and "nearly all of Conduct of Life”. Namesakes * In May 2006, 168 years after Emerson delivered his "Divinity School Address," Harvard Divinity School announced the establishment of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Professorship. Harvard has also named a building, Emerson Hall (1900), after him. * Emerson Hill, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Staten Island, is named for his eldest brother, Judge William Emerson, who resided there from 1837 to 1864. * The Emerson String Quartet, formed in 1976, took their name from Ralph Waldo Emerson. * The Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize is awarded annually to high school students for essays on historical subjects. * Author Ralph Waldo Ellison (March 1, 1914 – April 16, 1994) was named after Emerson. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Waldo_Emerson
Poems by Richard Eggenberger (Narad) Richard Eggenberger is a highly regarded poet and author of numerous works on spiritual themes. Horticulturist, opera singer, musician, and tropical plant specialist, his Handbook on Plumeria Culture is a classic. He received his spiritual name, Narad, “The Heavenly Singer” from the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Even as a child, around the age of two or three, I was in love with the earth and recall the delight I felt as I touched her heart. Innocent and gleeful, I smelled the richness of the grass, the pure air and the sonorities of the singing brook. One might ask how it is possible that young child could remember such things but I would answer, “Was this my first visit to earth?” I have presentiments of births in ages past and lives in foreign lands, no less real than today in India and the U.S.
Claudia Emerson (born January 13, 1957) is an American poet. She has won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection Late Wife, and received several other awards. She has also written several poetry books. Early Life Emerson was born on January 13, 1957 in Chatham, Virginia. She attended Chatham Hall, the University of Virginia (English, 1979) and completed a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1991. Virginia Poets Laureate at University of Mary Washington Reunion Day, June 3, 2011. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda (2006-2008), Claudia Emerson (2008-2010), and Kelly Cherry (2010-2012) Emerson lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her husband, Kent Ippolito, a musician who plays with various types of bands, including bluegrass, rock, folk, jazz, blues and ragtime. The couple were married in 2000 and together write songs and perform. Emerson was Guest Editor of Visions-International (published by Black Buzzard Press) in 2002. Career Emerson is a professor of English, and arrington distinguished chair in poetry at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is a contributing editor of the literary magazine Shenandoah. On August 26, 2008, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, 2008 - 2010, by Governor Timothy M. Kaine. Emerson's work has been included in such anthologies as Yellow Shoe Poets, The Made Thing, Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Shenandoah Poetry (Shenandoah, 2003), and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia, (University of Virginia Press, 2003). As of the Fall of 2013, she is teaching classes at Virginia Commonwealth University. Awards and honors * The Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Award, 1991 * Academy of American Poets Prize, 199 * National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1994 (As Claudia Emerson Andrews) * Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, 1995 and 2002 * University of Mary Washington Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Award, 2003 * Witter Bynner Fellowship from Library of Congress, 2005 * Pulitzer Prize for Poetry - 2006 * Poet Laureate of Virginia 2008 - 2010 * Library of Virginia Virginia Women in History, 2009 * Guggenheim Fellowship, 2011 References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudia_Emerson
Hello poetry lovers, My name is Veronica Ellen. I am the poetic mind behind Barren Wasteland, and I have come to Poeticous in an attempt to broaden my social media locations. A little bit about me: I am a 23 year old Canadian who works in a bakery, and I love it. I also do online schooling on the side. More later, possibly. When I figure out other relevant facts to share with everyone! Hope you enjoy my poetic outlook on life, and feedback is always appreciated!
Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819– 22 December 1880; alternatively “Mary Anne” or “Marian”), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. She also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years. Her 1872 work Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language. Life Early life and education Mary Ann Evans was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. She was the second child of Robert Evans (1773–1849) and Christiana Evans (née Pearson, 1788–1836), the daughter of a local mill-owner. Mary Ann’s name was sometimes shortened to Marian. Her full siblings were Christiana, known as Chrissey (1814–59), Isaac (1816–1890), and twin brothers who survived a few days in March 1821. She also had a half-brother, Robert (1802–64), and half-sister, Fanny (1805–82), from her father’s previous marriage to Harriet Poynton (?1780–1809). Robert Evans, of Welsh ancestry, was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate for the Newdigate family in Warwickshire, and Mary Ann was born on the estate at South Farm. In early 1820 the family moved to a house named Griff House, between Nuneaton and Bedworth. The young Evans was obviously intelligent and a voracious reader. Because she was not considered physically beautiful, and thus not thought to have much chance of marriage, and because of her intelligence, her father invested in an education not often afforded women. From ages five to nine, she boarded with her sister Chrissey at Miss Latham’s school in Attleborough, from ages nine to thirteen at Mrs. Wallington’s school in Nuneaton, and from ages thirteen to sixteen at Miss Franklin’s school in Coventry. At Mrs. Wallington’s school, she was taught by the evangelical Maria Lewis—to whom her earliest surviving letters are addressed. In the religious atmosphere of the Miss Franklin’s school, Evans was exposed to a quiet, disciplined belief opposed to evangelicalism. After age sixteen, Evans had little formal education. Thanks to her father’s important role on the estate, she was allowed access to the library of Arbury Hall, which greatly aided her self-education and breadth of learning. Her classical education left its mark; Christopher Stray has observed that “George Eliot’s novels draw heavily on Greek literature (only one of her books can be printed correctly without the use of a Greek typeface), and her themes are often influenced by Greek tragedy”. Her frequent visits to the estate also allowed her to contrast the wealth in which the local landowner lived with the lives of the often much poorer people on the estate, and different lives lived in parallel would reappear in many of her works. The other important early influence in her life was religion. She was brought up within a low church Anglican family, but at that time the Midlands was an area with a growing number of religious dissenters. Move to Coventry In 1836 her mother died and Evans (then 16) returned home to act as housekeeper, but she continued correspondence with her tutor Maria Lewis. When she was 21, her brother Isaac married and took over the family home, so Evans and her father moved to Foleshill near Coventry. The closeness to Coventry society brought new influences, most notably those of Charles and Cara Bray. Charles Bray had become rich as a ribbon manufacturer and had used his wealth in the building of schools and in other philanthropic causes. Evans, who had been struggling with religious doubts for some time, became intimate friends with the progressive, free-thinking Brays, whose “Rosehill” home was a haven for people who held and debated radical views. The people whom the young woman met at the Brays’ house included Robert Owen, Herbert Spencer, Harriet Martineau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Through this society Evans was introduced to more liberal theologies and to writers such as David Strauss and Ludwig Feuerbach, who cast doubt on the literal truth of Biblical stories. In fact, her first major literary work was an English translation of Strauss’s The Life of Jesus (1846), which she completed after it had been left incomplete by another member of the “Rosehill Circle”. As a product of their friendship, Bray published some of Evans’s earliest writing, such as reviews, in his newspaper the Coventry Herald and Observer. When Evans began to question her religious faith, her father threatened to throw her out of the house, but his threat was not carried out. Instead, she respectfully attended church and continued to keep house for him until his death in 1849, when she was 30. Five days after her father’s funeral, she travelled to Switzerland with the Brays. She decided to stay on in Geneva alone, living first on the lake at Plongeon (near the present-day United Nations buildings) and then on the second floor of a house owned by her friends François and Juliet d’Albert Durade on the rue de Chanoines (now the rue de la Pelisserie). She commented happily that, “one feels in a downy nest high up in a good old tree”. Her stay is commemorated by a plaque on the building. While residing there, she read avidly and took long walks in the beautiful Swiss countryside, which was a great inspiration to her. François Durade painted her portrait there as well. Move to London and editorship of the Westminster Review On her return to England the following year (1850), she moved to London with the intent of becoming a writer, and she began referring to herself as Marian Evans. She stayed at the house of John Chapman, the radical publisher whom she had met earlier at Rosehill and who had published her Strauss translation. Chapman had recently purchased the campaigning, left-wing journal The Westminster Review, and Evans became its assistant editor in 1851. Although Chapman was officially the editor, it was Evans who did most of the work of producing the journal, contributing many essays and reviews beginning with the January 1852 issue and continuing until the end of her employment at the Review in the first half of 1854. Women writers were common at the time, but Evans’s role as the female editor of a literary magazine was quite unusual. She was not considered to be a beautiful or even an attractive woman. According to Henry James: She had a low forehead, a dull grey eye, a vast pendulous nose, a huge mouth full of uneven teeth and a chin and jawbone qui n’en finissent pas... Now in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end, as I ended, in falling in love with her. Yes, behold me in love with this great horse-faced bluestocking. During this period, she formed a number of embarrassing, unreciprocated emotional attachments, including one with Chapman (who was married but lived with both his wife and his mistress), and another with Herbert Spencer. Relationship with George Lewes The philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes (1817–78) met Evans in 1851, and by 1854 they had decided to live together. Lewes was already married to Agnes Jervis. They had an open marriage, and in addition to the three children they had together, Agnes also had four children by Thornton Leigh Hunt. Because Lewes allowed himself to be falsely named as the father on the birth certificates of Jervis’s illegitimate children, he was considered to be complicit in adultery, and therefore he was not legally able to divorce her. In July 1854, Lewes and Evans travelled to Weimar and Berlin together for the purpose of research. Before going to Germany, Evans continued her theological work with a translation of Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity, and while abroad she wrote essays and worked on her translation of Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics, which she completed in 1856, but which was not published in her lifetime. The trip to Germany also served as a honeymoon for Evans and Lewes, and they now considered themselves married, with Evans calling herself Mary Ann Evans Lewes, and referring to Lewes as her husband. It was not unusual for men and women in Victorian society to have affairs; Charles Bray, John Chapman, Friedrich Engels, and Wilkie Collins all had extra-marital relationships, though they were much more discreet than Lewes and Evans were. It was this lack of discretion and their public admission of the relationship which created accusations of polygamy and earned them the moral disapproval of English society . First publication While continuing to contribute pieces to the Westminster Review, Evans resolved to become a novelist, and she set out a manifesto for herself in one of her last essays for the Review, “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists” (1856). The essay criticised the trivial and ridiculous plots of contemporary fiction by women. In other essays, she praised the realism of novels that were being written in Europe at the time, and it became clear in her subsequent fiction that she placed an emphasis on realistic storytelling. She also adopted a nom-de-plume, the one for which she would become known: George Eliot. This pen-name was said by some to be an homage to George Lewes. In addition to adopting his first name, the last name, Eliot, could possibly have been a code for “to L—I owe it”. In 1857, when she was 37, “The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton”, the first of the Scenes of Clerical Life, was published in Blackwood’s Magazine and, along with the other Scenes, it was well received (it was published in book form early in 1858). Her first complete novel, published in 1859, was Adam Bede; it was an instant success, but it prompted intense interest in who this new author might be. Scenes of Clerical Life was widely believed to have been written by a country parson or perhaps the wife of a parson. With the release of the incredibly popular Adam Bede, speculation increased, and there was even a pretender to the authorship, one Joseph Liggins. In the end, the real George Eliot stepped forward: Marian Evans Lewes admitted she was the author. The revelations about Eliot’s private life surprised and shocked many of her admiring readers, but this did not affect her popularity as a novelist. Eliot’s relationship with Lewes afforded her the encouragement and stability she so badly needed to write fiction, and to ease her self-doubt, but it would be some time before they were accepted into polite society. Acceptance was finally confirmed in 1877 when they were introduced to Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. The queen herself was an avid reader of all of George Eliot’s novels and was so impressed with Adam Bede that she commissioned the artist Edward Henry Corbould to paint scenes from the book. After the success of Adam Bede, Eliot continued to write popular novels for the next fifteen years. Within a year of completing Adam Bede, she finished The Mill on the Floss, dedicating the manuscript: "To my beloved husband, George Henry Lewes, I give this MS. of my third book, written in the sixth year of our life together, at Holly Lodge, South Field, Wandsworth, and finished 21 March 1860.” Her last novel was Daniel Deronda, published in 1876, after which she and Lewes moved to Witley, Surrey. By this time Lewes’s health was failing, and he died two years later, on 30 November 1878. Eliot spent the next two years editing Lewes’s final work, Life and Mind, for publication, and she found solace and companionship with John Walter Cross, a Scottish commission agent whose mother had recently died. Marriage to John Cross and death On 16 May 1880 Eliot courted controversy once more by marrying John Cross, a man twenty years her junior, and again changing her name, this time to Mary Anne Cross. The legal marriage at least pleased her brother Isaac, who had broken off relations with her when she had begun to live with Lewes, but now sent congratulations. While the couple was honeymooning in Venice, Cross, in a fit of depression, jumped from the hotel balcony into the Grand Canal. He survived, and the newlyweds returned to England. They moved to a new house in Chelsea, but Eliot fell ill with a throat infection. This, coupled with the kidney disease she had been afflicted with for several years, led to her death on 22 December 1880 at the age of 61. Eliot was not buried in Westminster Abbey because of her denial of the Christian faith and her “irregular” though monogamous life with Lewes. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London, in the area reserved for religious dissenters and agnostics, beside the love of her life, George Henry Lewes. In 1980, on the centenary of her death, a memorial stone was established for her in the Poets’ Corner. Several buildings in her birthplace of Nuneaton are named after her or titles of her novels. These include The George Eliot School (previously George Eliot Community School) and Middlemarch Junior School. In 1948, Nuneaton Emergency Hospital was renamed George Eliot Hospital in her honour. George Eliot Road, in Foleshill, Coventry was also named in her honour. A statue of Eliot is in Newdegate Street, Nuneaton, and Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery has a display of artifacts related to her. Literary assessment Throughout her career, Eliot wrote with a politically astute pen. From Adam Bede to The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner, Eliot presented the cases of social outsiders and small-town persecution. Felix Holt, the Radical and The Legend of Jubal were overtly political, and political crisis is at the heart of Middlemarch, in which she presents the stories of a number of denizens of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832; the novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits. The roots of her realist philosophy can be found in her review of John Ruskin’s Modern Painters in Westminster Review in 1856. Readers in the Victorian era particularly praised her books for their depictions of rural society, for which she drew on her own early experiences, and she shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much interest and importance in the mundane details of ordinary country lives. Eliot did not, however, confine herself to her bucolic roots. Romola, a historical novel set in late 15th century Florence and touching on the lives of several real persons such as the priest Girolamo Savonarola, displays her wider reading and interests. In The Spanish Gypsy, Eliot made a foray into verse, creating a work whose initial popularity has not endured. Working as a translator, Eliot was exposed to German texts of religious, social, and moral philosophy such as Friedrich Strauss’s Life of Jesus, Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity, and Spinoza’s Ethics. Elements from these works show up in her fiction, much of which is written with her trademark sense of agnostic humanism. She had taken particular notice of Feuerbach’s conception of Christianity, positing that the faith’s understanding of the nature of the divine rested ultimately in the nature of humanity projected onto a divine figure. An example of this understanding appears in her novel Romola, in which Eliot’s protagonist has been said to display a “surprisingly modern readiness to interpret religious language in humanist or secular ethical terms.” Though Eliot herself was not religious, she held some respect toward religious tradition and its ability to allow society to maintain a sense of social order and morality. Eliot was knowledgeable in regards to religion, while simultaneously remaining critical of it. The religious elements in her fiction also owe much to her upbringing, with the experiences of Maggie Tulliver from The Mill on the Floss sharing many similarities with the young Mary Ann Evans’s own development. When Silas Marner is persuaded that his alienation from the church means also his alienation from society, the author’s life is again mirrored with her refusal to attend church. She was at her most autobiographical in Looking Backwards, part of her final printed work Impressions of Theophrastus Such. By the time of Daniel Deronda, Eliot’s sales were falling off, and she faded from public view to some degree. This was not helped by the biography written by her husband after her death, which portrayed a wonderful, almost saintly, woman totally at odds with the scandalous life people knew she had led. In the 20th century she was championed by a new breed of critics, most notably by Virginia Woolf, who called Middlemarch “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”. Twentieth-century literary critic Harold Bloom placed Eliot among the greatest Western writers of all time. The various film and television adaptations of Eliot’s books have re-introduced her to the wider reading public. Works Novels * Adam Bede, 1859 * The Mill on the Floss, 1860 * Silas Marner, 1861 * Romola, 1863 * Felix Holt, the Radical, 1866 * Middlemarch, 1871–72 * Daniel Deronda, 1876 Poetry * Agatha, 1869 * Brother and Sister, 1869 * Armgart, 1871 * Stradivarius, 1873 * The Legend of Jubal, 1874 * I Grant You Ample Leave, 1874 * Arion, 1874 * A Minor Prophet, 1874 * A College Breakfast Party, 1879 * The Death of Moses, 1879 * From a London Drawing Room * Count That Day Lost Other * Digital facsimile of manuscript “Quarry for Middlemarch”, MS Lowell 13, Houghton Library, Harvard University * Translation of Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined) Volume 2 by David Strauss, 1846 * Translation of Das Wesen des Christentums (The Essence of Christianity) by Ludwig Feuerbach, 1854 * “Three Months in Weimar”, 1855 * “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists”, 1856 * “The Natural History of German Life”, 1856 * Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857 * The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton * Mr Gilfil’s Love Story * Janet’s Repentance * The Lifted Veil, 1859 * Brother Jacob, 1864 * “The Influence of Rationalism”, 1865 * Impressions of Theophrastus Such, 1879 * Review of John Ruskin’s Modern Painters in Westminster Review April 1856. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Eliot
Marriott Edgar (1880–1951), born George Marriott Edgar in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, was a poet, scriptwriter and comedian best known for writing many of the monologues performed by Stanley Holloway, particularly the 'Albert’ series. In total he wrote sixteen monologues for Stanley Holloway, whilst Holloway himself wrote only five. Family background Edgar’s parents were Jennifer née Taylor, a native of Dundee, and Richard Horatio Marriott Edgar (1847–1894), only son of Alice Marriott (1824–1900), proprietress of the Marriott family theatre troupe. Richard was born in Manchester, Lancashire, near Christmas 1847 as Richard Horatio Marriott; both his two sisters, Adeline Marriott (b. 1853) and Grace Marriott (b. 1858) were also born in Lancashire. Later all three children chose to take the surname of their mother’s husband, Robert Edgar, whom she married in 1856. Richard and Jenny married in March 1875, with Richard being unaware that he had fathered an illegitimate namesake son, Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace, with widowed actress Mrs Mary Jane “Polly” Richards, after a brief sexual encounter. Polly had invented an obligation in London to hide her pregnancy and give birth in secret on 1 April 1875, almost a month after Richard and Jenny married. This son became the famous journalist, novelist, playwright and screenplay writer Edgar Wallace. Richard and Jenny Taylor’s children were Alice Marriott Edgar (b. 1876, London), twins Richard and Jennifer Marriott Edgar (b. 1878, London), after whose births the family moved to Scotland where George was born, then returning to London where Joseph Marriott Edgar was born in 1884 and Adeline Alice Edgar in 1886. Early career Little is recorded of George Marriott Edgar’s early career, but he was talented performer, poet and writer. His first real successes began after he had been in the cast of The Co-Optimists and worked with Stanley Holloway. At the start of the 1930s they went to Hollywood, where Edgar– who had dropped his first name for the professional appellation Marriott Edgar– met his famous half-brother. Monologues Holloway was already enjoying some success with the monologue format, with such classics as Sam, Pick Oop Tha’ Musket. Edgar asked him if he had heard a story about a couple who had taken their son to the zoo, only to see the lad eaten by a lion. Holloway had indeed heard the story, and shortly afterwards Edgar supplied him with a script. The Lion and Albert became one of Holloway’s most popular pieces, one of many he recorded beginning in 1930. The lion of the poem is named “Wallace”, which was the name of the first African lion to be bred in Britain, living from 1812 until 1838, and his name became a popular one for lions. Edgar gave the poem the titleThe Lion and Albert but some later performances and re-publications used the form Albert and the Lion. The nearby pub also uses the latter form. The monologues were designed to be spoken rhythmically, with piano accompaniment which in many cases was also composed by Edgar. The texts were published by Francis, Day & Hunter during the 1930s in three collections. All were illustrated by John Hassall, many of whose lively images also became classics. Edgar’s compositions were Albert 'Arold and Others– performed by Stanley Holloway and Marriott Edgar * The Lion and Albert: Albert swallowed by a lion in the menagerie of Blackpool Tower * Runcorn Ferry (Tuppence per Person per Trip), set in Runcorn * Three Ha’pence a Foot, featuring an argument with Noah * The Battle of Hastings, an account of the Battle of Hastings * Marksman Sam, featuring Stanley Holloway’s creation Sam Small * Albert and the 'Eadsman, set in the Tower of London * The Return of Albert (Albert Comes Back), sequel to The Lion and Albert * Goalkeeper Joe, set in Wigan * Gunner Joe, at the Battle of Trafalgar * The Jubilee Sov’rin, the awkward loss of a sovereign commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee * The Magna Charter, the signing of Magna Carta * Little Aggie, an elephant Albert and Balbus and Samuel Small– written and performed by Marriott Edgar * Sam’s Medal (not written by Edgar) * The 'Ole in the Ark, a necessary repair to Noah’s Ark * Sam’s Racehorse, an unfortunate purchase * George and the Dragon, an unhelpful pub landlady * The Recumbent Posture, a linguistic misunderstanding * The Channel Swimmer, an attempt on the English Channel * Asparagus, a cautionary tale * Uppards, a Lancashire version of Longfellow’s famous poem Excelsior * Joe Ramsbottom, a farmer and the squire * Burghers of Calais, retelling the story of the Burghers of Calais * Balbus (The Great Wall of China), a fantasy based on the Latin text-book example: “Balbus built a wall” * Jonah and the Grampus, the story of Jonah Normans and Saxons and Such– some Ancient History * Canute the Great 1017–1035, about Cnut the Great * William Rufus 1087–1100, about William II of England * Queen Matilda 1100–1135, about Empress Matilda * The Fair Rosamond 1154–1189, about Rosamund Clifford * Richard Cœur-de-Lion 1189–1199, about Richard I of England * Henry the Seventh 1485–1509, about Henry VII of England * The Lion and Albert and The Return of Albert have been translated into German under the titles Der Löwe und Albert and Albert kommt wieder, na klar! respectively. Film scriptwriting Between 1936 and 1944 Edgar worked for Gainsborough Pictures as a scriptwriter for a number of British films, all comedies except The Ghost Train, such as Marriage and family In 1904 in Brentford he married Mildred Williams. They had a son, Hindle (1905–1985) who was an actor. Edgar died in Battle, East Sussex, 5 May 1951. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriott_Edgar
Sir William Empson (27 September 1906– 15 April 1984) was an English literary critic and poet, widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, a practice fundamental to New Criticism. His best-known work is his first, Seven Types of Ambiguity, published in 1930. Jonathan Bate has written that the three greatest English literary critics of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are Johnson, Hazlitt and Empson, “not least because they are the funniest”. Education Empson was the son of Arthur Reginald Empson of Yokefleet Hall, Yorkshire. His mother was Laura, daughter of Richard Mickelthwait, JP, of Ardsley House, Yorkshire. He was a first cousin of the twins David and Richard Atcherley. Empson first discovered his great skill and interest in mathematics at his preparatory school. He won an entrance scholarship to Winchester College, where he excelled as a student and received what he later described as “a ripping education” in spite of the rather rough and abusive milieu of the school: a longstanding tradition of physical force, especially among the students, figured prominently in life at such schools. In 1925 Empson won a scholarship to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read Mathematics, gaining a first for his Part I but a disappointing upper-second for his Part II. He then went on to pursue a second degree in English, and at the end of the first year he was offered a Bye Fellowship. His supervisor in Mathematics, the father of the mathematician and philosopher Frank P. Ramsey, expressed regret at Empson’s decision to pursue English rather than Mathematics, since it was a discipline for which Empson showed great talent. I. A. Richards, the director of studies in English, recalled the genesis of Empson’s first major work, Seven Types of Ambiguity, composed when Empson was not yet 22 and published when he was 24: At about his third visit he brought up the games of interpretation which Laura Riding and Robert Graves had been playing [in A Survey of Modernist Poetry, 1927] with the unpunctuated form of ‘The expense of spirit in a waste of shame.’ Taking the sonnet as a conjuror takes his hat, he produced an endless swarm of lively rabbits from it and ended by 'You could do that with any poetry, couldn’t you?' This was a Godsend to a Director of Studies, so I said, 'You’d better go off and do it, hadn’t you?’ But disaster struck when a servant found condoms among Empson’s possessions and claimed to have caught him in flagrante delicto with a woman. As a result, not only did he have his scholarship revoked, but his name was struck from the college records, he lost his prospects of a fellowship and he was banished from the city. Career After his banishment from Cambridge Empson supported himself for a brief period as a freelance critic and journalist, living in Bloomsbury until 1930, when he signed a three-year contract to teach in Japan after his tutor Richards had failed to find him a post teaching in China. He returned to England in the mid-1930s only to depart again after receiving a three-year contract to teach at Peking University. Upon his arrival he discovered that, because of the Japanese invasion of China, he no longer had a post. He joined the exodus of the university’s staff, with little more than a typewriter and a suitcase, and ended up in Kunming, with Lianda (Southwest Associated University), the school created there by students and professors who were refugees from the war in the North. He arrived back in England in January 1939. He worked for a year on the daily Digest of foreign broadcasts and in 1941 met George Orwell, at that time the Indian Editor of the BBC Eastern Service, on a six-week course at what was called the Liars’ School of the BBC. They remained friends, but Empson recalled one clash: “At that time the Government had put into action a scheme for keeping up the birth-rate during the war by making it in various ways convenient to have babies, for mothers going out to work; government nurseries were available after the first month, I think, and there were extra eggs and other goodies on the rations. My wife and I took advantage of this plan to have two children. I was saying to George one evening after dinner what a pleasure it was to cooperate with so enlightened a plan when, to my horror, I saw the familiar look of settled loathing come over his face. Rich swine boasting over our privileges, that was what we had become ...”. Just after the war Empson returned to China. He taught at Peking University, befriending a young David Hawkes, who later became a noted sinologist and chair of Chinese at Oxford University. Then, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he taught a summer course for the intensive study of literature at the Kenyon School of English at Kenyon College in Ohio. According to Newsweek, “The roster of instructors was enough to pop the eyes of any major in English.” In addition to Empson the faculty included Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz, Jacques Barzun, Eric Bentley, Cleanth Brooks, Alfred Kazin, Arthur Mizener, Allen Tate and Yvor Winters. In 1953 Empson was Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, London, for a year. He then became head of the English Department at the University of Sheffield until his retirement in 1972. He was knighted in 1979, the same year his old college, Magdalene, awarded him an honorary fellowship some 50 years after his expulsion. Professor Sir William Empson died in 1984. Critical focus Empson’s critical work is largely concerned with early and pre-modern works in the English literary canon. He was a significant scholar of Milton (see below), Shakespeare (Essays on Shakespeare) and Elizabethan drama (Essays on Renaissance Literature, Volume 2: The Drama). He published a monograph, Faustus and the Censor, on the subject of censorship and the authoritative version of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. He was also an important scholar of the metaphysical poets John Donne (Essays on Renaissance Literature, Volume 1: Donne and the New Philosophy) and Andrew Marvell. Occasionally Empson brought his critical genius to bear on modern writers; Using Biography, for instance, contains papers on Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones as well as the poems of W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot, and Joyce’s Ulysses. Literary criticism Empson was styled a “critic of genius” by Frank Kermode, who qualified his praise by identifying willfully perverse readings of certain authors. Harold Bloom has stated that Empson is among a handful of critics who matter most to him because of their force and eccentricity. Empson’s bluntness led to controversy both during his life and after his death, and a reputation in part also as a “licensed buffoon” (Empson’s own phrase). Style, method and influence Empson is today best known for his literary criticism, and in particular his analysis of the use of language in poetical works: his own poems are arguably undervalued, although they were admired by and influenced English poets in the 1950s. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was an acquaintance at Cambridge, but Empson consistently denied any previous or direct influence on his work. Empson’s best-known work is the book Seven Types of Ambiguity, which, together with Some Versions of Pastoral and The Structure of Complex Words, mines the astonishing riches of linguistic ambiguity in English poetic literature. Empson’s studies unearth layer upon layer of irony, suggestion and argumentation in various literary works, applying a technique of textual criticism so influential that often Empson’s contributions to certain domains of literary scholarship remain significant, though they may no longer be recognized as his. The universal recognition of the difficulty and complexity (indeed, ambiguity) of Shakespeare’s "Sonnet 94" ("They that have power ..."), for instance, is traceable to Empson’s analysis in Some Versions of Pastoral. Empson’s study of "Sonnet 94" goes some way towards explaining the high esteem in which the sonnet is now held (often being reckoned as among the finest sonnets), as well as the technique of criticism and interpretation that has thus reckoned it. Empson’s technique of teasing a rich variety of interpretations from poetic literature does not, however, exhaustively characterize his critical practice. He was also very interested in the human or experiential reality to be discovered in great works of literature, as is manifest, for instance, in his discussion of the fortunes of the notion of proletarian literature in Some Versions of Pastoral. His commitment to unravelling or articulating the experiential truth or reality in literature permitted him unusual avenues to explore sociopolitical ideas in literature in a vein very different from contemporary Marxist critics or scholars of New Historicism. Thus, for instance, Empson remarks in the first few pages of Some Versions of Pastoral that: Gray’s Elegy is an odd case of poetry with latent political ideas: Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen And waste its sweetness on the desert air. What this means, as the context makes clear, is that eighteenth century England had no scholarship system or carrière ouverte aux talents. This is stated as pathetic, but the reader is put into a mood in which one would not try to alter it.... By comparing the social arrangement to Nature he makes it seem inevitable, which it was not, and gives it a dignity which was undeserved.... The tone of melancholy claims that the poet understands the considerations opposed to aristocracy, though he judges against them; the truism of the reflections in the churchyard, the universality and impersonality this gives to the style, claim as if by comparison that we ought to accept the injustice of society as we do the inevitability of death. Empson goes on to deliver his political verdict with a psychological suggestion: Many people, without being communists, have been irritated by the complacence in the massive calm of the poem, and this seems partly because they feel there is a cheat in the implied politics; the “bourgeois” themselves do not like literature to have too much “bourgeois ideology”. Empson also made remarks reminiscent of Dr Samuel Johnson in their pained insistence: And yet what is said is one of the permanent truths; it is only in degree that any improvement of society could prevent wastage of human powers; the waste even in a fortunate life, the isolation even of a life rich in intimacy, cannot but be felt deeply, and is the central feeling of tragedy. And anything of value must accept this because it must not prostitute itself; its strength is to be prepared to waste itself, if it does not get its opportunity. A statement of this is certainly non-political because it is true in any society, and yet nearly all the great poetic statements of it are in a way “bourgeois”, like this one; they suggest to readers, though they do not say, that for the poor man things cannot be improved even in degree. Despite the complexity of Empson’s critical methods and attitude, his work, in particular Seven Types of Ambiguity, had a significant impact on the New Criticism, a school of criticism that directed particular attention to close reading of texts, among whose adherents may be numbered F. R. Leavis (whose critical approach was, however, already well developed before Empson appeared on the scene - he had been teaching at Cambridge since 1925), although Empson could scarcely be described as an adherent or exponent of such a school or, indeed, of any critical school at all. Indeed, Empson consistently ridiculed, both outrightly in words and implicitly in practice, the doctrine of the intentional fallacy formulated by William K. Wimsatt, an influential New Critic. Indeed, Empson’s distaste for New Criticism could manifest itself in a distinctively dismissive and brusque wit, as when he described New Criticism (which he ironically labelled “the new rigour”) as a “campaign to make poetry as dull as possible” (Essays on Renaissance Literature, Volume 1: Donne and the New Philosophy, p. 122). Similarly, both the title and the content of one of Empson’s volumes of critical papers, Using Biography, show a patent and polemical disregard for the teachings of New Critics as much as for those of Roland Barthes and postmodern literary theories predicated upon, if not merely influenced by, the notion of the Death of the Author, despite the fact that some scholars regard Empson as a progenitor of certain of these currents of criticism, which vexed Empson. As Frank Kermode stated: Now and again somebody like Christopher Norris may, in a pious moment, attempt to “recuperate” a particularly brilliant old-style reputation by claiming its owner as a New New Critic avant la lettre - Empson in this case, now to be thought of as having, in his “great theoretical summa,” The Structure of Complex Words, anticipated deconstruction. The grumpy old man repudiated this notion with his habitual scorn, calling the work of Derrida (or, as he preferred to call him, “Nerrida”) “very disgusting”(Kermode, Pleasure, Change, and the Canon) Milton’s God Empson’s Milton’s God is often described as a sustained attack on Christianity and a defence of Milton’s attempt to “justify the ways of God to man” in Paradise Lost. Empson argues that precisely the inconsistencies and complexities adduced by critics as evidence of the poem’s badness in fact function in quite the opposite manner. What the poem brings out is the difficulty faced by anyone in encountering and submitting to the will of God and, indeed, the great clash between the authority of such a deity and the determinate desires and needs of human beings: the poem is not good in spite of but especially because of its moral confusions, which ought to be clear in your mind when you are feeling its power. I think it horrible and wonderful; I regard it as like Aztec or Benin sculpture, or to come nearer home the novels of Kafka, and am rather suspicious of any critic who claims not to feel anything so obvious. (Milton’s God (1965), p. 13) Empson writes that it is precisely Milton’s great sensitivity and faithfulness to the Scriptures, in spite of their apparent madness, that generates such a controversial picture of God. Empson reckons that it requires a mind of astonishing integrity to, in the words of Blake, be of the Devil’s party without knowing it: [Milton] is struggling to make his God appear less wicked, as he tells us he will at the start (l. 25), and does succeed in making him noticeably less wicked than the traditional Christian one; though, after all, owing to his loyalty to the sacred text and the penetration with which he make its story real to us, his modern critics still feel, in a puzzled way, that there is something badly wrong about it all. That this searching goes on in Paradise Lost, I submit, is the chief source of its fascination and poignancy... (Milton’s God (1965), p. 11) Empson portrays Paradise Lost as the product of a poet of astonishingly powerful and imaginative sensibilities and great intellect who had invested much of himself in the poem. Despite its lack of influence, certain critics view Milton’s God as by far the best sustained work of criticism on the poem by a 20th-century critic. Harold Bloom includes it as one of the few critical works worthy of canonical status in his The Western Canon (where it is also the only critical work concerned solely with a single piece of literature). Verse Empson’s poems are clever, learned, dry, aethereal and technically virtuosic, not wholly dissimilar to his critical work. His high regard for the metaphysical poet John Donne is to be seen in many places within his work, tempered with his appreciation of Buddhist thinking, an occasional tendency to satire and a larger awareness of intellectual trends. He wrote very few poems and stopped publishing poems almost entirely after 1940. His Complete Poems [edited by John Haffenden, his biographer] is 512 pages long, with over 300 pages of notes. In reviewing this work Frank Kermode commended Empson as a “most noteworthy poet” and chose it as International Book of the Year for The Times Literary Supplement. Quotations From “Proletarian Literature” in Some Versions of Pastoral: As for propaganda, some very good work has been that; most authors want their point of view to be convincing. Pope said that even the Aeneid was a “political puff”; its dreamy, impersonal, universal melancholy was a calculated support for Augustus. Of course to decide on an author’s purpose, conscious or unconscious, is very difficult. Good writing is not done unless there are serious forces at work; and it is not permanent unless it works for readers with opinions different from the author’s. On the other hand, the reason an English audience can enjoy Russian propagandist films is that the propaganda is too remote to be annoying; a Tory audience subjected to Tory propaganda of the same intensity would be extremely bored. From “They That Have Power” in Some Versions of Pastoral: (regarding Sonnet 94): If this was Shakespeare’s only surviving work, it would still be clear, supposing one knew about the other Elizabethans, that it involves somehow their feelings about the Machiavellian, the wicked plotter who is exciting and civilized and somehow right about life; which seems an important though rather secret element in the romance that Shakespeare extracted from his patron. ...poets, who tend to make in their lives a situation they have already written about. ...that curious trick of pastoral which for extreme courtly flattery - perhaps to give self-respect to both poet and patron, to show that the poet is not ignorantly easy to impress, nor the patron to flatter - writes about the poorest people; and those jazz songs which give an intense effect of luxury and silk underwear by pretending to be about slaves naked in the fields. The business of interpretation is obviously very complicated. Literary uses of the problem of free-will and necessity, for example, may be noticed to give curiously bad arguments and I should think get their strength from keeping you in doubt between the two methods. Thus Hardy is fond of showing us an unusually stupid person subjected to very unusually bad luck, and then a moral is drawn, not merely by inference but by solemn assertion, that we are all in the same boat as this person whose story is striking precisely because it is unusual. The effect may be very grand, but to make an otherwise logical reader accept the process must depend on giving him obscure reasons for wishing it so. It is clear at any rate that this grand notion of the inadequacy of life, so various in its means of expression, so reliable a bass note in the arts, needs to be counted as a possible territory of the pastoral. From “Milton and Bentley” in Some Versions of Pastoral: Surely Bentley was right to be surprised at finding Faunus haunting the bower [Paradise Lost ll. 705 - 707], a ghost crying in the cold of Paradise, and the lusts of Pan sacred even in comparison to Eden. There is a Vergilian quality in the lines, haunting indeed, a pathos not mentioned because it is the whole of the story. I suppose that in Satan determining to destroy the innocent happiness of Eden, for the highest political motives, without hatred, not without tears, we may find some echo of the Elizabethan fulness of life that Milton as a poet abandoned, and as a Puritan helped to destroy. On Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night from Some Versions of Pastoral: Voyage au Bout de la Nuit... is not to be placed quickly either as pastoral or proletarian; it is partly the 'underdog’ theme and partly social criticism. The two main characters have no voice or trust in their society and no sympathy with those who have; it is this, not cowardice or poverty or low class, which the war drives home to them, and from then on they have a straightforward inferiority complex; the theme becomes their struggle with it as private individuals.... Life may be black and mad in the second half but Bardamu is not, and he gets to the real end of the night as critic and spectator. This change is masked by unity of style and by a humility which will not allow that one can claim to be sane while living as part of such a world, but it is in the second half that we get Bardamu speaking as Celine in criticism of it. What is attacked may perhaps be summed up as the death-wishes generated by the herds of a machine society, and he is not speaking as 'spokesman of the proletariat’ or with any sympathy for a communist one. ...before claiming the book as proletarian literature you have to separate off the author (in the phrase that Radek used) as a man ripe for fascism. From “The Variants for the Byzantium Poems” in Using Biography: ...she appears to end her penultimate chapter ‘Was Yeats a Christian?’ with the sentiment that he must have been pretty Christian if he could stay friends with Ezra Pound. From “Ulysses: Joyce’s Intentions” in Using Biography: When I was young, literary critics often rejoiced that the hypocrisy of the Victorians had been discredited, or expressed confidence that the operation would soon be complete. So far from that, it has returned in a peculiarly stifling form to take possession of critics of Eng. Lit.; Mr Pecksniff has become the patron saint of many of my colleagues. As so often, the deformity is the result of severe pressure between forces in themselves good. The study of English authors of the past is now centred in the universities, and yet there must be no censorship - no work of admitted literary merit may be hidden from the learners. Somehow we must save poor Teacher’s face, and protect him from the indignant or jeering students, local authorities or parents. It thus came to be tacitly agreed that a dead author usually hated what he described, hated it as much as we do, even, and wanted his book to shame everybody out of being so nasty ever again. This is often called fearless or unflinching criticism, and one of its ill effects is to make the young people regard all literature as a terrific nag or scold. Independently of this, a strong drive has been going on to recover the children for orthodox or traditional religious beliefs;... and when you understand all that, you may just be able to understand how they manage to present James Joyce as a man devoted to the God who was satisfied by the crucifixion. The concordat was reached over his dead body. Bibliography * Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930) * Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) * The Structure of Complex Words (1951) * Milton’s God (1961) * Using Biography (1985) * Essays on Shakespeare (1986) * Faustus and the Censor (1987) * Essays on Renaissance Literature: Volume 1, Donne and the New Philosophy (1993) * Essays on Renaissance Literature: Volume 2, The Drama (1994) * Argufying: Essays on Literature and Culture (1987) * The Strengths of Shakespeare’s Shrew: Essays, Memoirs and Interviews (1996). * The Complete Poems of William Empson - ed. Haffenden * The Royal Beasts and Other Works - London: Chatto & Windus, 1986. Selected books about Empson * Frank Day, Sir William Empson: An Annotated Bibliography, London: Garland, 1984. ISBN 0-8240-9207-4 * Philip and Averil Gardner, The God Approached: A Commentary on the Poems of William Empson, London: Chatto & Windus, 1978. ISBN 0-7011-2213-7 * John Haffenden, William Empson, Vol. 1: Among the Mandarins, Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-927659-5 * John Haffenden, William Empson, Vol. 2: Against the Christians, Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-953992-8 * Christopher Norris and Nigel Mapp, ed., William Empson: The Critical Achievement, Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-35386-6 Notes and references External links * “William Empson’s Fixated Faith”: an article in The Times Literary Supplement by Eric Griffiths, 24 October 2007 * “The Savage Life”: Sir Frank Kermode reviews vol. 1 of John Haffenden’s biography of William Empson from London Review of Books * “Pleasure, Change, and the Canon”: Sir Frank Kermode’s Tanner Lectures on Human Values at The University of Utah References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Empson
George Essex Evans (18 June 1863– 10 November 1909) was an Australian poet. Biography Evans was born in London on 18 June 1863. Both his parents were Welsh. Evans’s father, John Evans, Q.C., died in 1864 when Evans was only a few months old. John Evans, who was the Treasurer of the Inner Temple and a member of the House of Commons, left his family a fortune of 60,000 pounds. The fortune did not last very long. Consequently, Evans was raised and educated by his mother Mary Ann (née Owen), who was one of the Bowens of Llwynwair, an old Welsh family. Mary Ann was an educated woman, fluent in both Latin and Greek. The family lived in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire where Evans attended Haverfordwest Grammar School and then the St. James Collegiate School of Jersey. Evans was partly deaf and although he was an excellent athlete, his tutors thought him “dull”. Unfortunately his hearing impediment prevented him going into the armed forces. In 1881, when Evans was 17, the siblings J.B.O. (John Bowen Owen), Blanche Gough and Beatrice emigrated to Queensland, Australia, travelling first class on a journey around the Cape of Good Hope that lasted 65 days. Upon arrival in Queensland, the brothers bought some land in the Darling Downs with the intention of farming. Evans, however, was badly injured in a horse riding accident, when he was thrown against a tree, and was unable to do any physical work. He was able to take part in athletic pursuits, competing in wrestling, running, swimming, and football (in which he represented Queensland). Evans suffered from increasing deafness as he grew older, and this may be the reason why he was thought to be a secretive, quiet man. Initially he earned a living by working as a teacher at a private school, but eventually became an Agricultural Editor of The Queenslander. Essex Evans also wrote travel books for the Government Tourist and Intelligence Bureau. He entered the public service in 1888 and eventually became District Registrar of births, deaths and marriages first for Gympie and then later for Toowoomba. In 1899, Evans married Blanche Hopkins, the young widow of E. B. Hopkins of Goondiwindi, the daughter of the late Rev. William Eglinton and sister of former Native Police Officer, Second-Class Sub-Inspector Ernest Eglinton. The wedding was described as a very secret affair. A letter from Evans to Dr. Black, whom he sought to perform the service, asks for a quiet ceremony with little fuss in Drayton. They were married on 6 November 1899. Evans and Blanche had two sons, the younger one, Owen Meylett Eglinton Essex Evans died at five and a half years of Ileo Colitis Acuta (a form of diarrhoea) As a result of his marriage, Evans also had two stepdaughters, Lorna and Beryl Hopkins. They built their home, “Glenbar” on the Tollbar Road on the eastern slope of the Toowoomba range and Evans’s sister continued to live with him. Evans founded the Austral Society in Toowoomba in 1903 to promote music, art, literature, science and industry. Evans was described as a reserved man, and at times rather moody and impulsive. However, he was also described as a kind person and loyal friend. He had a strong sense of honour and self-respect, traits which made him a model husband and father. Evans was described as having a tremendous memory, particularly for poetic verse, of which he was able to recite a prodigious amount. Few of his contemporaries were able to match his breadth of knowledge of English, American and Australian poetry. Works * Evans’s works were highly regarded during his career and for a time following his death. He was publicly praised by many acknowledged critics and political figures including William Archer, Sir Samuel Griffith, Alfred Deakin and Sir Henry Parkes. * His first volume of poetry, The Repentance of Magdalene Despar, was published in 1891. Between 1892 and 1897 Evans was associated with John Tighe Ryan in the production of the periodical, The Antipodean which appeared three times. In 1898 another collection of poetry, Loraine and other Verses, was published and in 1901 Evans won a prize of fifty guineas for his “Ode for Commonwealth Day”. Although this ode was praised by the then Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin, it was criticised by his peers as trite. * The Secret Key and other Verses which included part of the Loraine volume, was published in 1906. He won a reputation in his own state of Queensland as the author of patriotic verse, as in “Cymru”, and his bush ballads, such as “The Women of the West,” were popular. * His work was also noticed by the Queensland State Government and following the success of The Garden of Queensland, Evans was promoted to the Chief Secretary’s department to advertise and “sell” Queensland at the Franco-British Exhibition in Paris in May 1908. * Evans also wrote and produced some theatrical works for the Brisbane Theatre including Robinson Crusoe a pantomime and Musical Whist. During the last two years of his life he wrote prolifically about the resources of his state for the Queensland government. * Evan’s has over 200 published poems attributed to his name. His work frequently appeared in Australian newspapers and he wrote in many other literary forms including short stories, essays, various humorous works and a novella. Death * Essex Evans was a great advocate for the construction of a new road northward across the Australia and after falling ill in 1909 he became the first passenger to be transported over it when taken to hospital. The men working on the road were so overcome with sorrow for the poet who had worked hard to bring about the new road that they relieved the ambulance men of their duty. * Evans died from complications arising from gall bladder surgery in 1909 at forty-six years of age and the news of his death was first delivered on the stage of the Austral Hall during the largest Austral Festival celebrations ever held. Evans’s death prompted an emergency meeting of the Austral Association Committee who, knowing that of all the titles Evans held he was most proud of ‘Founder of the Austral Association,’ decided that the festival must continue. A series of emotional tributes to his impact on advancing the cause of Australian Music, Art and Literature followed. * His funeral was held on 11 November 1909 at the St. James Church and he was eulogized by Alfred Deakin with whom he shared a long correspondence in Federal Parliament as 'Australia’s Poet.' * In a speech that was wired to the poet’s widow after his death, Australian Prime Minister Deakin shared his sentiments stating that he was “Deeply grieved at sudden and unexpected death of your greatly-gifted husband. Australia will mourn the loss of her national poet whose patriotic songs stirred her people profoundly in the arduous campaign for union.” * A memorial of Essex Evans was raised in Webb Park, Toowoomba. Inscribed on the statue are several verses from his poems, including the following excerpt from his poem 'Toowoomba’ * Dark purple, chased with sudden gloom and glory, * Like waves in wild unrest. * Low-wooded billows and steep summits hoary, * Ridge, slope and mountain crest, * Cease at her feet with faces turned to greet her, * Enthroned, apart, serene, * Above her vassal hills whose voices greet her * The Mountain Queen. Legacy * An edition of his Collected Verse was published in 1928. An annual pilgrimage to his memorial site has been carried out by the Toowoomba Ladies Literary Society since 1929 and a collection of Essex Evans’s artefacts and archives can be found at the Toowoomba City Library. The Toowoomba Ladies Literary Society have also established a plaque at the site of Essex Evans’s home to commemorate his memory. The Fryer Library at The University of Queensland also holds his papers. Bibliography Poetry Collections * * The Repentance of Magdalene Despar and Other Poems, 1891 * Loraine and other Verses, 1898 * The Sword of Pain, 1905 * The Secret Key and Other Verses, 1906 * Kara, and other verses, 1910 * The Collected Verse of G. Essex Evans, 1928 Individual poems * * “The Women of the West” (1901) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Essex_Evans
I come from a past of both feast and famine, for I have lived with love and riches as I have done without, living day to day not knowing where I would sleep or what I'd even eat. I have loved and lost, and found true love at last. I have been blessed by God even after cursing His Holy name. I have delved into the crevices of madness, and cowered in the shadows of insanity that some may call the place of Hell. In spite of my countless mistakes, I have been delivered from a place of tribulation to one of testimony. As you read the oscillating messages contained in the tales within, please know that every lonesome night of pain and darkness is followed by the breaking dawn of opportunity from the rising of the sun which peers it's shining face above the horizons that separate us from the angels who sing His name on high. And even when the shadows of the darkness overtake our skies again, it's only a matter of what we perceive as time before the light will shine once more to ever light the way.
Max Ehrmann (September 26, 1872 – September 9, 1945) was an American writer, poet, and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana, widely known for his 1927 prose poem "Desiderata" (Latin: "things desired"). He often wrote on spiritual themes. Education Ehrmann was of German descent; both his parents emigrated from Bavaria in the 1840s. Young Ehrmann was educated at the Terre Haute Fourth District School and the German Methodist Church. He received a degree in English from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, which he attended from 1890 to 1894. While there, he was a member of Delta Tau Delta's Beta Beta chapter and was editor of the school newspaper, Depauw Weekly. Ehrmann then studied philosophy and law at Harvard University, where he was editor of Delta Tau Delta's national magazine The Rainbow, circa 1896. Professional life Ehrmann returned to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana in 1898 to practice law. He was a deputy state's attorney in Vigo County, Indiana for two years. Subsequently, he worked in his family's meatpacking business and in the overalls manufacturing industry (Ehrmann Manufacturing Co.) At age 40, Ehrmann left the business to write. At age 54, he wrote Desiderata, which achieved fame only after his death. Legacy Ehrmann was awarded Doctor of Letters honorary degree from DePauw University in about 1937. He was also elected to the Delta Tau Delta Distinguished Service Chapter, the fraternity's highest alumni award. Ehrmann died in 1945. He is buried in Highland Lawn Cemetery in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 2010 the city honored Ehrmann with a life-size bronze statue by sculptor Bill Wolfe. He is depicted sitting on a downtown bench, pen in hand, with a notebook in his lap. "Desiderata" is engraved on a plaque that resides next to the statue and lines from the poem are embedded in the walkway. The sculpture is in the collection of Art Spaces, Inc. – Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection. Art Spaces also holds an annual Max Ehrmann Poetry Competition. References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Ehrmann
Utterly undone, I picked up the pieces... Reborn, I started afresh... Newly made, I became greater than I had ever imagined. I'm 23 and every day, I learn something new about love, life, and how to do it right. Poetry is a vehicle for thoughts, passion, ideas, and so much more. Tell me what you think and don't hold back--I wouldn't be posting it here if I weren't seeking an honest response. I believe in community sharing and that families sprout up in the least expected places. As you read, I hope you feel at home and I happily and gratefully extend the familial hand of fellowship to you.
Wow..... Ummm...... Yeah...... that about covers it. I dunno what to write - says the writer. I write when I'm happy, I write when I'm sad. I have written, most likely, thousands of poems in my life. Some I like, some not soo much, but, they are all organic. There is truly only one poem I have written that I LOVED and I can't find it. It was most likely destroyed by my ex who made every attempt to hurt me when I finally walked away from a hateful, hostile, hurtful relationship. C'est La Vie - chapter closed and epitaph crafted.
I have gone through a lot at only 19 (in 2015). I have had 8 surgeries because I was born with a birth defect and I have suffered from being bullied by many people from school and other places. I hope my experiences can help you. I try to always do something neat with my poems. Oh, and I also bake...my grandpa taught me how. (:
Born March, 15th, 1968 in a small town called Gettysburg, South Dakota. My father was in the United States Air Force, so during my early childhood we moved a lot. South Dakota, Montana, Texas; but my home is in West Virginia. I hated school and rarely went to class during my high school years. I was a contributing writer to my high school newspaper, a member of the Psychology Club and that's about all I remember during those years. I had few friends and I dropped out of high school during my senior year. Much of that had to do with my mother more than my disdain for going to school. I later went to college to study English Literature, dropped out, and went back several years later to study Psychology and Psychiatric Rehabilitation. I've written for several Mental Health Journals and Newsletters and hosted conferences and seminars on various mental health issues. I have kept a diary since I was nine years old and journals as I got older. I have tons of spiral notebooks of short stories I wrote during those formative years and it wasn't until adulthood that I started writing poetry. I can not say for certain that my poems are any good. But I thought I would put it out there. If nothing else, it makes me feel better. :)
I remember my mothers words before the first day of school in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. “it will be ok. This is a new year. Just be yourself” but back then I didn't have a self, No personality at all. and somewhere along the time that I started to get one, the phrase “just be yourself” started to die and what came as a replacement was “don't be this” “don't be like that” “don't wear this” “suck in your stomach like that” and so I began to write poetry.