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Tradition and the Individual Talent: An Essay

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
"In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to ?the tradition? or to ?a tradition?; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is ?traditional? or even ?too traditional.? Seldom, perhaps, does the word appear except in a phrase of censure. If otherwise, it is ...more
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Momina Masood
Mar 29, 2014 Momina Masood rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lit. majors
Really liked this essay! Eliot talks of two things here:

1) The importance of "tradition" i.e. all the literature of the past and how its knowledge is necessary for any true artist.

2) The Impersonal theory i.e. the remoteness that must exist between an artist and his art. Eliot says:

... the more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates...

Out of the death of the author can the text find its own life and by suggesting this, he s
...more
Adriano Bulla
Sep 12, 2013 Adriano Bulla rated it it was amazing
Simply put, anyone who says they read modern literature must have read this essay, otherwise it is mere scan reading.
Mai
Dec 31, 2015 Mai rated it liked it
Eliot is just chaaaa-rming
Alice Herondale
Dec 02, 2016 Alice Herondale rated it it was amazing
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things"
Elias Vasilis Kontaxakis
Apr 19, 2016 Elias Vasilis Kontaxakis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criticism
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

I’m told T.S. Eliot remains the most important Anglo-American poet-critic of the twentieth century. Which is curious, given how little poetry or criticism he’s written. To test this claim I’ve started reading a few of his essays on literary
...more
Joseph Fontinha
Oct 02, 2016 Joseph Fontinha rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for every artist.
Andria Caputo
Dec 21, 2014 Andria Caputo rated it it was amazing
Great essay by one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. If not only for this little gem: " Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but can escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."

First time reading one of Eliot's essays, and it offered great insight into the writer and his vision for the modernist movement in poetry mor
...more
Susan
Feb 01, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology-classes
I read this essay because it was mentioned in my current class, and I wanted to read the rest of it to get the overall concept.

The point seems to be that it is important to consider the present in light of the past; that in fact one's own work alters a whole that was timelessly complete already and makes it a new kind of timelessly complete.

In my Theology of the Church class, the professor made the point that the church has a vast multitude of members, and the majority of them are dead. But unti
...more
Stef
May 24, 2009 Stef rated it really liked it
A very concise, yet thorough examination of poetics that absolutely must be taken in the context of the Modernist movement. This essay helped to establish Eliot's role as poetic critic, and provides thoughtful commentary on how to judge poet and poem separately, and in proper context.

Looks at identifying the poet's place in history, the place of emotion vs. feeling in a poem, the duty of poet to himself and his reader, and the necessity of "depersonalization."
Dario Alioscha
Sep 07, 2014 Dario Alioscha rated it really liked it
Ensayo que aborda la opinión del significado de la poesía, el sentimiento y emoción,y dónde reside esa transmisión artística en el arte cómo estética y relación que contiene al poeta/artista con su particular transmisión de arte individual. Así cómo la tradición (artística), como una forma de cohesión individual y general en todas sus épocas históricas, y esa responsabilidad por parte del artista de asumirla consciente
Jonathan
Mar 30, 2014 Jonathan rated it liked it
Recommended to Jonathan by: My Literary Criticism instructor
Very interesting!

Also, was there an attack on Romanticism or is it just me?
Because what remained in me after all this reading, was that Poets should be impersonal and should try to create Art emotions as opposed to regular, human emotions; while, from what I understood of Romanticism, Wordsworth et al believe in the value of 'realistic' emotions in poetry, furthermore, with simple words that describe the feeling as naturaly as it occurs within us.

Sam Elessar
Mar 05, 2012 Sam Elessar rated it really liked it
I am reading it for an assignment, so far his impersonal theory of poetry seems good. I like the concept that poet should create in heat but correct at leisure and lick his poems into shape. Eliot himself followed the same principle in creating immortal poetry such as his poem "The Waste Land", its final revision is quite precise as compared to his first attempt at it.
Markella
Nov 08, 2014 Markella rated it it was amazing
“The emotion of art is impersonal. And the poet cannot reach this impersonality without surrendering himself wholly to the work to be done. And he is not likely to know what is to be done unless he lives in what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past, unless he is conscious, not of what is dead, but of what is already living.”
terka
Feb 28, 2015 terka rated it it was ok
I usually don't rate non-fiction but here I made an exception because I hate Eliot and the convulted, pretentious way he writes, even in his damn essays. This essay could be two sentences long if Eliot didn't relish in his writing so much.
Shahenshah
Sep 08, 2014 Shahenshah rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite lines:

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
Egija
Jan 16, 2015 Egija rated it it was ok
Rather complex writing. In Eliot's view writers always should be contrasted with others that has been before.
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Aqeela Ali
Nov 02, 2010 Aqeela Ali rated it really liked it
I was really tired when I first read it so I think it deserves a second reading.
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Jul 20, 2015
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Nov 19, 2013
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  • An Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard
  • L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus, and Lycidas
  • Biographia Literaria: Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life & Opinions
  • On the Concept of History
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  • Anatomy of Criticism
  • Existentialists and Mystics Writings on Philosophy and Literature
  • The Science of Hitting
  • The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry
  • On Great Writing (On the Sublime)
  • The Humanity of God
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  • The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends
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Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
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“The poet's mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.” 19 likes
“The difference between the present and the past is that the conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the past’s awareness of itself cannot show.” 3 likes
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