Prufrock and other Observations - One of the Twentieth Century's Major Poets - By T. S. Eliot, Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 - 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United ...
Prufrock and other Observations - One of the Twentieth Century's Major Poets - By T. S. Eliot, Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 - 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," commonly known as "Prufrock," is a poem by American-British poet T. S. Eliot (1888-1965). Eliot began writing "Prufrock" in February 1910 and it was first published in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse at the instigation of Ezra Pound (1885-1972). It was later printed as part of a twelve-poem pamphlet (or chapbook) titled Prufrock and Other Observations in 1917. At the time of its publication, Prufrock was considered shocking and offensive, but is now seen as heralding a paradigmatic cultural shift from late 19th century Romantic verse and Georgian lyrics to Modernism. The poem is regarded[by whom?] as the beginning of Eliot's career as an influential poet. The poem's structure was heavily influenced by Eliot's extensive reading of Dante Alighieri and makes several references to the Bible and other literary works-including William Shakespeare's plays Henry IV Part II, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, the poetry of seventeenth-century metaphysical poet John Donne, and the nineteenth-century French Symbolists. Eliot narrates the experience of Prufrock using the stream of consciousness technique developed by his fellow Modernist writers. The poem, described as a "drama of literary anguish," is a dramatic interior monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action that is said "to epitomize frustration and impotence of the modern individual" and "represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment." Prufrock laments his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress, and he is haunted by reminders of unattained carnal love. With visceral feelings of weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, a sense of decay, and an awareness of mortality, "Prufrock" has become one of the most recognised voices in modern literature.
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