C. Stevens American Literature II Lesson 11 Notes - Candace...

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Candace StevensMarch 26, 2015American Literature IIWeek 11 NotesThomas Stearns Eliot is the most important poet of the twentieth century who was awarded the Nobel Prize inLiterature in 1948,We will study two of his best known poems in this lesson "The Hollow Men" and "The LoveSong of J. Alfred Prufrock."Read about T. S. Eliot in your textbook on pages 947-950.Both poems that are assigned are preceded by an epigraph.Read the footnotes concerning these epigraphsbefore you begin reading the poems.These allusions to literary characters give a layer of meaning to thepoems.In literature an epigraph is a phrase, a quotation, or a poem that is set at the beginning of the piece.Theepigraph may serve as a preface, a summary, a counter-example, or to associate the work to another work inliterature.The placement of the epigraph at the beginning invites the reader to make a comparison of the workto a previously written piece of literature.The poem “The Hollow Men” uses the line from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, “Mistah Kurtz, he dead.”The Inferno by the Italian Renaissance writer Dante is where the quotationthat prefaces T. S. Eliot’s “TheLove Song of J. Alfred Prufrock comes.It is part of a speech by one of the damned in Dante’s hell.Linking itto the monologue which forms Eliot’s poem adds a comment and a dimension to Prufrock’s confession.The poetry of T. S. Eliot is generally thought to belong to the Modernist Period.The Modernist Period inEnglish literature occupied the years from shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century through roughly1965. In broad terms, the period was marked by sudden and unexpected breaks with traditional ways ofviewing and interacting with the world. Experimentation and individualism became virtues, where in the pastthey were often heartily discouraged. Modernism was set in motion, in one sense, through a series of culturalshocks. The first of these great shocks was the Great War, which ravaged Europe from 1914 through 1918,known now as World War One. At the time, this “War to End All Wars” was looked upon with such ghastlyhorror that many people simply could not imagine what the world seemed to be plunging towards.Modernismdisplays a relatively strong sense of cohesion and similarity across genres and locales. Furthermore, writerswho adopted the Modern point of view often did so quite deliberately and self-consciously. Indeed, a centralpreoccupation of Modernism is with the inner self and consciousness. In contrast to the Romantic world view,

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American Literature, Heart of Darkness, Hollow Men, J Alfred Prufrock

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