The Criticism of Evasion: The Non-literary Margins in T. S. Eliot’s Early Criticism

Amer Hasan Al-Rashid, Nayef Ali Al-Joulan


This paper traces the non-literary margins in the youthful criticism of T. S. Eliot, focusing exclusively on the early essays in which he assumes an aesthetic stand in his early years as a critic. In "Tradition and Individual Talent," "Function of Criticism," "The Metaphysical Poets," besides other essays, Eliot pretends that literary appreciation/criticism can be practiced in isolation from any external influence, and that principles of criticism are purely literary in their origin as well as in their practice, that of establishing the value of the literary works. Relatedly, Eliot proposes that 'emotions', 'feelings' and 'experiences' in the literary work can be evaluated without connection to their non-literary margins. This paper explodes such claims by suggesting that non-literary margins dominated and shaped the early critical formulations and judgments of Eliot. Keywords: T. S. Eliot; Criticism; Literary Tradition; Margins Résumé: Ce document retrace les marges non-littéraires dans les premières critiques de T.S. Eliot, en se concentrant exclusivement sur les premiers essais dans lesquels il montre une position esthétique en tant que critique. Dans "Tradition et talent individuel", "Fonction de la critique"," Les poètes métaphysiques" et d'autres essais, Eliot prétend que l'appréciation/la critique littéraire peut être pratiquée de façon isolée de toute influence extérieure, et que les principes de la critique sont purement littéraires non seulement dans leur origine mais aussi dans leur pratique, afin d'établir les valeur des œuvres littéraires. En plus, Eliot propose que «émotions», «sentiments» et «expériences» dans les œuvres littéraires peuvent être évalués sans connexion à leurs marges non-littéraires. Cet article étudie ces revendications en suggérant que les marges non-littéraires ont dominé et façonné les premières formulations de critiques et des jugements d'Eliot. Mots-clés: T.S. Eliot; critique; tradition littéraire; marges

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