T. S. Eliot

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Literary Studies > T. S. Eliot

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Unit Summary[edit]

Content summary[edit]

The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living - T.S Eliot, Little Gidding


If you have any questions please bring them up in the discussion area, I would be happy to talk them over. Would someone please run a search for typos?

This course carries with it possibly the strangest assignment you will ever be given. Examine the sensual in ways you never have before. Follow specks of light, trace the patterns of sound cars make as they go past in your mind. In addition, find beautiful places and sit and look at them. Also, think, critically consider everything you experience, analyse the culture around you, consider the motivations people have for doing everything.

The course has with it supplementary material, mostly reading. The choices are selected to try to help you understand T.S Eliot and his poetry, they do not all immediately connect with the reading they are attached to, but as a whole, if considered carefully, will give you insight not only into the soul and writings of T.S Eliot, but also into the soul of humankind. I would appreciate persons knowledgeable about non western traditions to post equivalent literature from traditions they understand ( i.e Buddhist and Hindu texts, etc.) into these sections.

Papers in this course will not be marked, nevertheless it is recommended for your own sake that you complete them, they add far greater depth to the experience and enhance your writing skills. In addition, they might even help you find things about yourself, your life and your philosophy you never knew before. To find the readings online, as well as invaluable essays and study aids, look in the resources section.

Intended outcome[edit]

Unit materials[edit]

  • Study guide:

Texts[edit]

Lessons[edit]

Assignments[edit]

(Poetic reading assingments should be read out loud if possible)

Wk I[edit]

Key questions[edit]

Does our society allow us a voice?

Read[edit]

"The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock". Read all biographical materials provided ( and more if you can find some).

Write[edit]
  • Write a paper, try to include the following aspects of the poem ( if they interest you)

The use of rhyme in the first verse

The fragmentary nature of the poem

The themes of isolation and impotencency it brings up

The surreal images it uses ( i.e "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons).

Try to understand the purpose for every element of the poem.

  • Write a poem inspired in some way by "The love song of Alfred J Prufrock" ( even if the inspiration is that you hate the poem!)
Supplementary reading[edit]

Fear and trembling by Soren Kierkegaard.

Wk II[edit]

Key questions[edit]

What are the future directions of modern society

Read[edit]

"The Waste Land"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Supplementary reading[edit]

Sections of beyond good and evil by Nietzsche (enter an internet search to find).

Wk III[edit]

Key questions[edit]

What makes life meaningful, is modern life not as meaningful as it should be?

Read[edit]

"The Hollow Men"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Supplementary material[edit]

Browse sections of Max Weber's "The protestant work ethic and the rise of capitalism."

Wk IV[edit]
Key questions[edit]

What is change? How does it effect mankind?

Read[edit]

"Burnt Norton"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page. There's no supplementary material this week because I'd like you to try something more daring, write a long poem.

WK V[edit]

Key questions[edit]

What does death mean to you?

Read[edit]

"East Coker"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Supplementary material[edit]

The triumph of life by Shelley.

Wk VI[edit]

Key questions[edit]

What are things we cannot deny?

Read[edit]

"The Dry Salvages"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Supplementary material[edit]

View a copy of the artwork "The Scream" ( enter a search) read some material and interpretation of it if possible.

WK VII[edit]

Key questions[edit]

What would it be like to experience something you cannot describe, or to find yourself suddenly find your postion in the great cosmic scheme of things ( if there were such a thing).

Read[edit]

"Little Gidding"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Supplementary reading[edit]

Some of the works of St John of the cross ( enter a search).

Wk VIII[edit]

Key questions[edit]

If life goes on an on, humankind largely unchanged, If so few of us reach a point of spirtual fufilment, what can the ordinary people do? What would make your life more meaningful?

Read[edit]

"Murder in the Cathedral"

Write[edit]

One poem and one essay, as before. Let your essay be informed by the resources I have posted at the bottom of the page.

Suplementary reading[edit]

The Book of Ecclesiastes

Sum up[edit]

What have you learned? Has it changed you as a person? Why not write a poem or an essay about it? Or even a short story? Are you glad you took the course? T.S Eliot won the nobel prize for liteature, would you have awarded it to him?

Resources[edit]

Biography[edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Eliot An introduction to T.S Eliot the man.

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/life.htm- An more in depth introduction

On Eliot and his work[edit]

http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/eliot/ A simple concise introduction to the poetry of T.S Eliot.

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/eliot.htm- A lot of very good essays on T.S Eliot and his work.

http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.html The love song of Alfred J Prufcock.

http://eliotswasteland.tripod.com/ A hypertext version of "The Waste Land".

http://www.cs.umbc.edu/~evans/hollow.html The Hollow Men .

http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/ The four quatrets.

http://www.wellsprings.org.uk/wellspring_of_pilgrimage/litgidd.htm A description of Little Gidding church.

Unfortunately no copy of "Murder in the Cathedral" could be found online. If you wish to complete this section of the course you will have to buy a copy yourself, failing that you could just skip it.

Supplementary material[edit]

http://home.ddc.net/ygg/etext/fear.htm- Fear and Trembling.

http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/beyondgoodandevil_tofc.htm- Beyond Good and Evil.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/WEBER/cover.html- The Protestant work ethic and the rise of capitalism

http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem1912.html- The Triumph of Life.

http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=34197&poem=412162- St John of the cross ( one of his poems).

http://www.bartleby.com/108/21/- The book of Ecclesiastes

Spark notes for most of these things are avaliable. Simply search "spark notes" on google, and then find them on the page.