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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: March 2010

Poems (1919); Ara Vos Prec (1920); Poems (1920)

Summary

*"Not Here, O Apollo."

Times Literary

Supplement 908 (12 June

1919), 322.

[ … ]

Mr. Eliot … is fastidiously on his guard against echoes. There shall not be a cadence in his few verses that will remind anyone of anything. His composition is an incessant process of refusing all that offers itself, for fear that it should not be his own. The consequence is that his verse, novel and ingenious, original as it is, is fatally impoverished of subject matter. For he is as fastidious of emotions as of cadences. He seems to have a “phobia” of sentimentality, like a small schoolboy who would die rather than kiss his sister in public. Still, since he is writing verses he must say something, and his remarkable talent exercises itself in saying always, from line to line and word to word, what no one would expect. Each epithet, even, must be a surprise, each verb must shock the reader with unexpected associations; and the result is this:

Polyphiloprogenitive

The sapient sutlers of the Lord

Drift across the window-panes.

In the beginning was the Word.

In the beginning was the Word.

Superfetation of,

And at the mensual turn of time

Produced enervate Origen.

Mr. Eliot, like Browning, likes to display out-of-the-way learning, he likes to surprise you by every trick he can think of.

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T. S. Eliot
  • Online ISBN: 9780511485466
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511485466
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