The 20th century’s most significant poet, essayist, dramatist, and literary critic was Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965). He is considered to be among the most important writers of modernist literature. Eliot had a significant role in the growth of modernist literature. Numerous well-known modernist writers were given a forum by the prestigious literary monthly “The Criterion,” which he co-founded and edited.
Tradition And The Individual Talent
“T.S. Eliot’s 1919 essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” is a foundational piece of literary criticism that summarises Eliot’s views on the nature of creation, the interplay between tradition and invention, and the poet’s place in the creative process. Eliot challenges the Romantic idea that a poet is a lone genius who expresses their deepest thoughts and emotions in this essay. Rather, he puts forth a more nuanced theory of artistic production that highlights the poet’s relationship to a larger literary and cultural heritage.
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1. The Concept Of Tradition
According to Eliot, every new piece of art is produced within the framework of an established literary tradition. The collective wisdom, methods, and creative forms that have been handed down through the generations of authors make up this tradition. According to Eliot, the artist is actually greatly impacted by this tradition rather than existing outside of it.
2. The Poet’s Function
Eliot argues that a poet is more than just a person expressing their own feelings and experiences. Rather, the poet acts as a conduit for the renewal and extension of literary tradition. The poet’s job is to interact with the corpus of current literature and provide something fresh and worthwhile to it.
Elliot presents the idea of “impersonality” in the artistic process. According to him, the poet ought to make an effort to keep their own identity and feelings out of the poetry. That is to say, the poetry should have its own voice and emotional resonance apart from the poet’s own experiences, not that the poet is not present in the work.
4. The Importance of Objectivity
According to Eliot, a poet should be somewhat objective in order to be able to look at their own feelings and experiences with some distance. Because of this impartiality, the poet is able to convey feelings in a way that readers will find more relatable and universal.
5. The Process of Creativity as an Unending Rebirth
Eliot compares the act of creating to a never-ending process of rebirth and regeneration. He says that in order to keep the tradition alive, poets need to interact with the past, change it, and add something fresh.
6. The Function of Criticism in Interpreting Literature
According to Eliot, criticism is essential to comprehending and appreciating literature. He highlights the significance of evaluating literary works according to their individual qualities as well as in relation to the greater literary canon.
7. The Meaningful Correlation
Though Eliot’s notion of the “objective correlative” (addressed in his later work) is not specifically acknowledged in this article, it is consistent with the views he presents in “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” A collection of elements—items, settings, or occasions—that are intended to elicit a certain emotional reaction from the reader is referred to as the objective correlative in literary works.
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What I Mean….
T.S. Eliot’s appreciation of literature and his conviction in the interdependence of tradition and culture is reflected in his literary criticism. In the discipline of literary studies, his views have continued to have an impact on how researchers approach the examination and interpretation of literary works.