From physics to metaphysics: philosophy and style in the critical writings of T. S. Eliot (1913-1935)

Vericat, Fabio L (2002) From physics to metaphysics: philosophy and style in the critical writings of T. S. Eliot (1913-1935). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis considers Eliot's critical writing from the late 1910s till the mid-1930s, in the
light of his PhD thesis - Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley -
and a range of unpublished material: T S. Eliot's Philosophical Essays and Notes (1913- 4)
in the Hayward Bequest (King's College, Cambridge University); T. S. Eliot's Family
Papers in the T. S. Eliot Collection at the Houghton Library (Harvard University); and items
from the Harvard University Archives at the Pusey Library. 'Me thesis offers a
comprehensive view of Eliot's critical development throughout this important period. It
starts by considering The Sacred Wood's ambivalence towards the metaphysical philosophy
of F. H. Bradley and Eliot's apparent adoption of a scientific method, under the influence of
Bertrand Russell. It will be argued that Eliot uses rhetorical strategies which simultaneously
subvert the method he is propounding, and which set the tone for an assessment of his
criticism throughout the 1920s. His indecision, in this period, about the label 'Metaphysical'
for some poets of the seventeenth century, reveals the persistence of the philosophical
thought he apparently rejects in 1916, when he chooses not to pursue a career in philosophy
in Harvard. This rhetorical tactic achieves its fulfilment in Dante (1929), where Eliot finds a
model in the medieval allegorical method and 'philosophical' poetry. Allegory is also
examined in connection with the evaluation of Eliot's critical writings themselves to
determine, for instance, the figurative dimension of his early scientific vocabulary and
uncover metaphysical residues he had explicitly disowned but would later embrace. Finally,
it is suggested that, the hermeneutics of allegory are historical and it is used here to test the
relationship between Eliot's early and later critical writings, that is the early physics and the
later metaphysics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Kolocotroni, Dr Vassiliki
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Adam Swann
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-7445
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 09:37
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 09:37
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7445

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