Mary Stuart. Her life and struggle for crown

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It means that they talk of what they pretend to know.

The poem is full of allusions. The epigraph is quite important, taken from Dantes The Divine Comedy. The end of poem is pessimistic. It is one of the most understandable of his poems.

The Waste Land (the poem (1922) in Dial & Criteria[GB]). The poem consists of 5 parts & their titles speak for themselves:

The Burial of the Dead

A Game of Chess an allusion of a medieval play, where the action was as if in two playings.

The Fire Sermon the postulates of oriental religion.

The Death by the Water

What the Thunder Said

In terms of forms the poem is a collage of fragments of memories, overheard conversations, quotations put together only by the implied present of a sensible person (= a refined sensibility = a modern poet), upon whom all these complexibilities & varieties of human world are hipped & who staggers under the burden of them. We can say that the mind of the poet is heavily packed with cultural tradition. A poem abounds in highly sophisticated allusions:

The Tempest

Anthropological account of Grail() legend a legend connected with Christianity a cup from which Christ drank;

from The Divine Comedy;

alluded & used words from operas of Wagner;

refers to the story of crusification;

uses French symbolists;

as well as scraps of popular culture music-hall songs, slang words, contemporary fashion;

He hips everything together. This bits & pieces are set into a matrix of flowing stream of consciousness of a man. The dramatic portrait of a single mind becomes the portrait of an age. Eliot provided 52 notes for The Waste Land when it was first published. The poem was opposed violently but there were also admirers. They said that Eliot gave a definite description of their age. Now terms lost generation, post-war disillusionment, jazz age, waste land are used parallelly For many contemporary writers & critics The Waste Land was a definite description of the age. Civilization was dying. Critics regarded it as the disillusionment of a generation. Eliot protested against that. The term waste land is used in literature alongside with the term lost generation.

He also employed the myth of dying & reviving king what the poem expresses is the need of salvation & this is expressed in 3 Sanskrit words (give, sympathize & control). There are many barbarisms in the poem.

In 1925 he published another poem in the same tonality. The Hollow Man develops the major themes & images of The Waste Land problems of spiritual bareness, the problem of loss of faith in contemporary generation. The poem is a set of recurrent symbols. The meaning depends on cumulative effect of the individual images. The idea of spiritual sterility in the image of Hollow Man grotesque caricature of man, their behaviour is mimicry of human activity. The poem is very short. It is easily read but not so easily understood. There are 5 parts in the poem. Other images Death of the Kingdom. The life of the Hollow Man is more shadowy & less real than the life beyond the grave. Religion is substituted by simple rituals devoid of all true feelings & emotions. The end-of-the-world (apocalyptic) motive is very strong in the poem. The picture is very pessimistic. The poem ends hopelessly:

This is the way the world ends,

Not with a bang but a whimper

Eliots development after The Waste Land was in the direction of literary, political, religious conservatism. Classicist in literature, royalist in politics & Anglo-Saxon in religion he developed more composed lyrical style.

His mature masterpiece is Four Quartets (1944) which is based on the poetic memories of certain localities of America & Britain. This is a starting point for his probing in the mystery of time, history, eternity, the meaning of life. It deals with one single question of what significance in our lives are ecstatic intense moments when we seem to escape time & glimpses of supra-ordinary reality (it resembles Joyces Epiphanies. There are two epigraphs that give clues to the answer. The epigraphs are very important.

The first comes from Heroclitus. It contrasts the general wisdom of the race with moments of private individual insight. It shows the dualism of individual existence. First of all individuality is apart of a body of mankind, located in history & tradition. Secondly, it is a unique personality. Each person embraces both & this predetermines the reaction to intense moments.

: 31/01/2010