Essays Ancient & Modern

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Eliot was an influential critic; his criticism illuminated both the work of his literary predecessors and his own poetic aims. He fervently believed that it is essential for poets to reunite the two strands of human experience--rationality and emotion--which had, he felt, been dissociated in English poetry since the time of Donne and other 17th-century poets. Essentially a conservative thinker, Eliot disliked eccentricity and rebellion--though, paradoxically, his own poetry represents a profound break from the past and has ...