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33 votes
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Did T.S. Eliot really plagiarize in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

Examples of allusions in the poem In The Poems of T. S. Eliot Volume I edited by Christopher Ricks (Faber & Faber, 2015), Ricks has several notes for the lines "In the room the women come and ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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21 votes
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Why did T.S. Eliot compare “waiting for death” with “a feather on the back of the hand"?

The couplet in question is: My life is light, waiting for the death wind, Like a feather on the back of my hand. And the poem describes Simeon, a biblical character. He is an elderly Jew who was ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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15 votes
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“Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” Is this a genuine TS Eliot quote?

It is not a word-for-word match, but in his 1949 work The Cocktail Party, Eliot wrote: Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. The full text is ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
14 votes

Significance of the Phoenician Sailor having pearls for eyes in The Waste Land

It's an allusion to Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act I, scene ii. Ariel sings to Ferdinand, in order to deceive him into thinking his father has been drowned in a shipwreck. ARIEL sings Full ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
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11 votes
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Which Upanishad is TS Eliot referencing with "Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata." and why?

Looking at Swami Krishnananda's book on The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (emphasis mine): This instruction, which was communicated to the Devas, Manushyās and Asuras – gods, men and demons – by the ...
muru's user avatar
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9 votes
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Was T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" plagiarised?

TL;DR: No. Summary Eliot said that the source of the title, theme and imagery of ‘The Waste Land’ was the medieval legend of the Fisher King: Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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8 votes
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What is the "heap of broken images" in The Waste Land?

To say anything definitive about The Waste Land is challenging; indeed, this work seems to evade interpretation with each new line and stanza. With many interpretations carry with them some merit, I ...
Peter's user avatar
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7 votes

Which Upanishad is TS Eliot referencing with "Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata." and why?

To add to muru's excellent answer, taking on the "why" part of the question, this final part of Eliot's poem presents us with a world in ruins, not as much in substance as in spirit. The prevailing ...
Dinu's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes

Significance of the Phoenician Sailor having pearls for eyes in The Waste Land

Here is a quote from Xenophon, something said by the pilot's mate on a perfectly ordered Phoenician trading ship: “There is no time left, you know,” he added, “when God makes a tempest in the great ...
Paulius J's user avatar
7 votes
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What is the relationship between Heart of Darkness and The Hollow Men?

There is an immediate and direct connection between the two. Toward the conclusion of Heart of Darkness the narrator, Marlow, describes Kurtz as "hollow to the core" (p72). By this, he means that Kutz ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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7 votes
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Can the influence of the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic be seen in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land"?

TL;DR: Several scholars have investigated the relationship between the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic on modernist writers including T. S. Eliot. Most such analysis has taken place in the past 25 years. ...
shoover's user avatar
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6 votes
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What do the fourth tempter's words mean, from “Murder in the Cathedral”?

In interpreting these lines, it's important to bear in mind exactly what the Fourth Tempter is trying to do. All the Tempters are showing Thomas a false path -- a path that will lead to damnation. ...
blanketyblank's user avatar
6 votes

Identify the source of this quote by T.S. Eliot

The source of the quote is one of the last paragraphs in T. S. Eliot's essay "Religion & Literature", which was based on a lecture and published in the collection Essays Ancient and ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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6 votes

What did Eliot mean when he said “I would suggest that none of the plays of Shakespeare has a meaning”?

The source of the quote is Eliot's Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca, an address to the Shakespeare Association in 1927 that was reprinted in the collection Selected Essays (1917-1932) (Faber and ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
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What are T. S. Eliot’s “Jellicle Cats” and “Pollicle Dogs”?

Catherine Milner, Arts Correspondent of the Telegraph, wrote in 2002: According to Dr Faber, a retired physicist who is now 74 and lives in Cambridge, Eliot was "a very generous godfather and the ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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5 votes
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Understanding the first dialogue of Archbishop Thomas Becket involving antitheses

The crux of this verse is to understand the meaning of "suffering". It is crucial that we understand "suffering" means not the modern and more popular sense of "undergoing ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
5 votes
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Footnotes to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

Peter Ackroyd writes in his biography of T. S. Eliot that there were two reasons for including footnotes (pages 177-178 of the German translation): The first motivation was to avoid accusations of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes

What is the "heap of broken images" in The Waste Land?

From this source: (emphasis mine) Adopting a prophetic tone of archaic allusion for much of the poem, Eliot asks, “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow/Out of this stony rubbish? ...
fi12's user avatar
  • 4,605
4 votes

Significance of the Phoenician Sailor having pearls for eyes in The Waste Land

My sense is it relates to the theme of "profit & loss", and commerce/banking, that is developed later in The Burial of the Dead: A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 4,253
4 votes

Which Upanishad is TS Eliot referencing with "Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata." and why?

As muru mentioned in his answer, the Upanishad Eliot is referencing is the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Eliot added the following footnote: “Datta, dayadhvam, damyata” (Give, sympathise, control). The ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes

What is the "heap of broken images" in The Waste Land?

This is my first attempt at writing an answer, so I hope I have done it right in terms of links of attribution and format. If I have not, I hope someone will tell me, so I can benefit from ...
TTThomas's user avatar
4 votes

Why did T.S. Eliot make a statement that 'Coriolanus' was Shakespeare's masterpiece and that 'Hamlet' was an artistic failure?

In the essay ‘Hamlet and His Problems’, collected in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1920), Eliot describes Hamlet as an artistic failure because Hamlet’s emotions and actions cannot ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why does Dennis Brown say Hughes's Crow is "a sly parody of Eliot's later style"?

@DukeZhou correctly referred me to Eliot's Four Quartets. After reading it thoroughly, I think that the passage quoted on the question refers to the following lines of the last part of the third ...
HeyJude's user avatar
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4 votes
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Did T. S. Eliot write crime novels under a pseudonym?

The most likely explanation is that Kleinstück got his facts wrong. As Paul Grimstead's article What Makes Great Detective Fiction, According to T. S. Eliot (The New Yorker, 02.02.2016) points out, ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 45.1k
4 votes
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What does T. S. Eliot mean by "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper"?

While what a poet is trying to tell the reader will usually be a matter of dispute, B. C. Southam shines some light on these lines in A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot, pp. 217-8: ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 1,063
4 votes

Why do all the lines of Burnt Norton seem unconnected?

I think my answer here should give you a pretty clear idea of what Burnt Norton is about. Although some minor details (for that matter analytical tools as well) might be open to interpretation, the ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
4 votes

Are the names J. Alfred Prufrock and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley completely arbitrary?

According to Christopher Ricks (Eliot, T. S. Inventions of the March Hare), in his drafts of the poem T. S. Eliot subtitled it Prufrock among the Women. And an article in the Kipling Journal of 1959, ...
Old Brixtonian's user avatar
4 votes

Did T.S. Eliot really plagiarize in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

Plagiarism means unlawful theft of intellectual property in the context of writing. Modernism is heavily characterised by what is commonly referred to as allusiveness. When an author uses another ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar

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