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Discovering Modernism: T. S. Eliot and His Context

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A study of a literary success, and the forces that combine to create a successful literary movement, Discovering Modernism places T.S. Eliot in his cultural context to discover why his poetry and criticism answered the needs of a particular moment. Menand's analysis, which includes a reevaluation of the influence of Eliot's doctoral dissertation if philosophy on his later work, yields fresh readings of some familiar features of Elito's style--the use of literary allusion, the valorization of "tradition," the critical formulae of the objective corrolative and the dissociation of sensibility, and the notes to The Waste Land. But this book is about more than T.S. Eliot. Because Menands's larger subject is the crisis in literature that produced Eliot and the entire Modernist movement, he examines the ways in which the literary values of the 19th century became problems for their 20th century counterparts. With its duscussion of such topics as Conrad and the rise of professionalism, Darwinism and the late 19th century notion of style, Tennyson's posthumous reputation, and Pater and the Imagists, its strenghtens our knowledge of the ties that bound Modernism to the 19th century, and sheds new light on how writers go about "making it new." Hide synopsis

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