20190926_040836801.pdf - thesis to think in terms of the mystical origins of fascist ideology rather than translating the occult manner as inherently

20190926_040836801.pdf - thesis to think in terms of the...

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thesis to think in terms of the mystical origins of fascist ideology, rather than translating the occult manner as inherently fascist. Swinburne represents a critical conundrum for Eliot in ‘Swinburne As Poet’. Eliot shows concern for the same issue of translatability, but finds fault not in the poetry of tendency but in interpretation. The task he sets himself in the essay is to find a way to decipher the contribution of Swinburne, a poet it is fair to say, he writes, beloved of his age. And therein rests the problem: how, in 1922, should he approach this poet’s work, and evaluate his indisputable contribution when he has no words with which to do it? The manner of it seems once again the hurdle as Eliot, circumscribing his test admits: agreed that we do not (and I think that the present generation does not) greatly enjoy Swinburne, and agreed that (a more serious condemnation) at one point in our lives we did enjoy him and now no longer enjoy him; nevertheless, the words which we use to state our grounds of dislike or indifference cannot be applied to Swinburne as they can to bad poetry.73 ‘“Diffuse”’ is one such word, but on Swinburne’s work it will not stick because should Swinburne have ‘practised greater concentration’ his poetry would have been ‘not better in the same kind, but a different thing’ and no longer the thing enjoyed. There is much that resists alteration for although ‘no one stanza seems essential’ none could be left out without destroying the whole. Of praise, too, Eliot is cautious and he deconstructs the popular commendation of the ‘sound’ of Swinburne’s verse. Comparing it to that of Campion he suggests that where 73Eliot, p. 145. 219 Campion’s verse achieves meaning and ‘sound-value’ separately, Swinburne’s creates no ‘pure’ effect, of either ‘sound, or of image, or of idea’.74 Partly, and importantly in development of a critical framework through which to read The Equinox poetry, Eliot concludes that this is to do with the use to which Swinburne puts words. ‘He employs’, says Eliot, ‘or rather “works,” the word’s meaning’, and
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  • Spring '16
  • jessy
  • Swinburne, Eliot

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