T. S. Eliot’s Ariel Poems : Making Sense of the Times book cover
1st Edition

T. S. Eliot’s Ariel Poems
Making Sense of the Times

ISBN 9780367645311
Published September 6, 2021 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

T. S. Eliot once stated that the supreme poet "in writing himself, writes his time". In saying that, he honoured Dante and Shakespeare, but this pithy remark fittingly characterises his own work, including The Ariel Poems, with which he promptly and pointedly responded to the problems of his times. Published with unwavering regularity, a poem a year, the Ariels were composed in the period when Eliot was mainly writing prose; and, like his prose, they reverberated with diverse contemporary issues ranging from the revision of the Book of Common Prayer to the translations of Heidegger to the questions of leadership and populism. In order to highlight the poems' historical specificity, this study seeks to outline the constellations of thought connecting Eliot’s poetry and prose. In addition, it attempts to expose the Ariels’ shared arc of meaning, an unobtrusive incarnational metaphor determining the perspective from which they propose an unorthodox understanding of the epoch— an underlying pattern of thought bringing them together into a conceptually discrete set. This is the first study that both universalizes and historicises the series, striving to disclose the regular without suppressing the random. Approaching the series as a system of orderly disorder, the notion very much at home with chaos theory, it suggests new intellectual contexts, offering interpretations that are either fresh, or significantly reangled.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Incarnation, or, the elevation of the quotidian: Giorgione, Andrewes, and Kipling in the tangible world

Journey of the Magi, 1927

Chapter 2: Prayer incorporated in poetry

A Song for Simeon, 1928

Chapter 3: The intellect incarnate: opposing Walter Pater, supporting neo-Scholasticism

Animula, 1929

Chapter 4: Emotion embodied and sensation bethought

Marina, 1930

Chapter 5: An idea incarnated in an individual: German philosophy and the First Marshal of Poland

Triumphal March, 1931

Chapter 6: An incarnation of religion: the return to ritual with an altered attitude

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees, 1954

Conclusion: Arcs converging

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Anna Budziak is Associate Professor at the University of Wrocław, Poland, where she teaches in the areas of modernism, decadent aestheticism, and literary theory. She coedited Literature, Performance, and Somaesthetics: Studies in Agency and Embodiment.  She also authored Historia u T. S. Eliota: konteksty filozoficzne [History in T. S. Eliot: philosophical contexts] (2002) and Text, Body and Indeterminacy: Doppelgänger Selves in Pater and Wilde (2008), shortlisted for the biannual ESSE Book Award in 2010.