This essay asks how T. S. Eliot's dissertation work on F. H. Bradley influenced changes in his poetry: negatively from the self-consciousness attitudinizing of Laforguian analysis and positively to what a Bradleyan sense of “degrees of reality” might be said to sponsor. Bradley assumed the power he did in Eliot's thinking because he addressed many of the concerns Eliot had begun to develop from symbolist poetics, particularly its critiques of empiricism and its engagement in the infinite ironies involving the status of subjectivity. Bradley also transformed these concerns by constructing the isolated subject so that its associations with the social order become manifest. Because Eliot could show through Bradley that the world of relations is the actual substance that one lives for, he could derive concepts of humility and faith that had no place in his earlier poetics. The essay's test case is a reading of how The Waste Land fleshes out the potential in emphasizing the power of relations over the power of foundational thinking.
Charles Altieri; Reading Bradley After Reading Laforgue: How Eliot Transformed Symbolist Poetics into a Paradigmatic Modernism. Modern Language Quarterly 1 June 2011; 72 (2): 225–252. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-1161345
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