Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was an American-born poet, critic and playwright, but later he moved to England. His literary work was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in 1948. He was a highly educated man of the modern times, which may have influenced his poetry. His poetry tells us as the readers about disappointment and dissatisfaction with the modern capitalist system, middle class individualism and the dominance of commercial and material interest.
With desolation pervading the scene of Eliot’s poems, “Preludes” is structured on a 24-hour day and captures the cyclic monotony by beginning at “six o clock”. The images of decay and disintegration reflected in the suggestive phrases “burnt out ends” and “withered leaves” expose a world falling apart. As a child living in the area of St Louis, which bordered on slums, Eliot was deeply influenced by the urban sordidness that brought a negative tone in his poems. “Wipe your hand across your mouth and laugh; the worlds revolve like ancient women… Gathering fuel in vacant lots”. By wiping a hand across the mouth and laughing, the persona could be doing so bitterly, due to the obvious way that society is slumping into depression rather than happiness.
“Preludes” draws greatly from the styles of Modernism. The feelings of despair and dystopia within the poem, which is meant to reflect reality, are fairly typical of the period. Eliot’s concern with the loss of religion and destruction of nature are also clearly influenced through his poem “Preludes” in relation to contextualisation.
EXPLAIN 3 significant social occurrences/movements during the time of Eliot's poetry writing. ACCOUNT for how these may have influenced his approach to poetry (250 words)
Eliot always felt the loss of his family’s New England roots and seemed to be somewhat ashamed of his father’s business success; throughout his life he continually sought to return to the roots of Anglo- Saxon culture, first by