T.S. Eliot wrote influential essays in New Criticism, a literary theory movement that if I understand correctly tried to revive formalism and focus on close reading and the text itself, as a response to the literary criticism of the early 20th century, which had a greater focus on external resources to help in the interpretation of the text. However, T.S. Eliot is better known for his poetry. What effect did his work in the development of New Criticism have on his poetry?
T.S Eliot’s creative output may not necessarily have been influenced by his critical beliefs. Whereas his poetry was seemingly influenced by a number of poets in the English tradition with a kind of musical whimsicality and pathos-laden emotion, such as Tennyson, his criticism arguably focused on poets who were of a different character, epic-religious poets such as Milton for example.
Criticism and artistic creativity do not always overlap. As is quoted in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, “Aesthetics is to artists what ornithology is to birds.” Similarly, some critics have named “the authorial fallacy” the (inaccurate) notion that authors have authoritative knowledge over their own work; by contrast, artistic work can be such a highly subconscious process that artists may be blind to or unaware of apparent mechanisms or patterns behind what they themselves do, and which critics may be better positioned to establish.
My guess is that actually Eliot’s criticism and his poetry occupied relatively separate compartments of his mind, something like the difference between being an athlete vs. a coach.
In fact, it’s slightly hard to imagine how New Criticism could inspire any particular literary style, since it’s a relatively dry theory advocating how texts should be discussed and analysed, and not favouring any particular style over any other.