The Hollow Men (TS Eliot) - The Hollow Men T S Eliot and...

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The Hollow Men T. S. Eliot and his work were at the forefront of the modernist poetry movement. His lengthy poem ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ was written at both the height of this movement and the height of his career. Indeed, it was published in its entirety only three years after the release of Eliot’s most famous epic poem, The Waste Land (1922). Parts of ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ were published in the peri- odicals Chapbook , Commerce , Criterion , and Dial from 1924 to 1925. The poem then appeared in its final cohesive form in Eliot’s 1925 collection Poems, 1909–1925 . ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ largely builds on the themes in The Waste Land , specifi- cally the need for death to take place as a means to make way for the new. ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ is also written in the same style as its famous pred- ecessor. Both poems additionally share the same source of inspiration: Joseph Conrad’s 1902 nov- ella Heart of Darkness . ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ also alludes to or is heavily influenced by several works, including Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth- century masterpiece Divine Comedy and William Shakespeare’s 1599 play Julius Caesar . A histor- ical allusion to Guy Fawkes Day (a British holi- day) also appears in the poem. The density and depth of ‘‘The Hollow Men’’ alone recommend it for further study, as it is not a work that reveals its meaning readily. The poem remains widely available on the Internet and in collections of the author’s works. As of 2009, the 1991 edition of Eliot’s Collected Poems: 1909–1962 remained in print. 5 0 T. S. ELIOT 1925
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY Born Thomas Stearns Eliot in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 26, 1888, Eliot was the youngest of sevenchildrenborntoHenryWare Eliot(president of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company) and Char- lotte Champe Stearns (a schoolteacher and an amateur poet). Eliot’s family roots were tied to NewEngland,andhespenthis childhoodsummers there. His interest in literature emerged early, and he was writing short stories by the age of sixteen. In 1906, Eliot attended Harvard University, a family tradition.HegraduatedwithaB.A.incomparative literature in 1909 and an M.A. in English literature in 1910. As a student, Eliot became enamored of the Symbolist movement (a largely French phe- nomenon), which led him to travel to Paris in 1910. He befriended the artistic and literary lumi- naries of the day, including Pablo Picasso and E ´ mile Durkheim. The following year, Eliot returned to Harvard to work on his doctorate. Despite completing his dissertation in 1916, he never presented his thesis nor earned the degree. From 1910 to 1912, Eliot wrote the poems that launched his career, specifically ‘‘The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock.’’ This poem, however, was not published for several years. After leaving Harvard, Eliot returned to Europe, where he befriended the influential poet Ezra Pound. It was Pound who was instrumental in the 1915 publication of ‘‘The Love Song of Alfred J. Pru- frock’’ in Poetry magazine. That same year, Eliot met Vivien Haigh-Wood, an English dancer with a history of mental problems. The couple married in

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