The Poetry and Culture of T.S Eliot


  • Raymond Southall




It is peculiarly significant that T.S. Eliot, whose standing as a poet is so dependent upon our appreciation of what it is to be modern, should have argued so successfully for the rehabilitation of Donne and that in doing this should have presented him as a poet of unified sensibility. Sometime after (or maybe about) the time of Donne, Eliot came to believe, a 'dissociation of sensibility' set in from which we have never recovered'. He claimed later that he was surprised that this phrase, 'dissociation of sensibility,' had attracted so much attention, but he was probably being coy~. The attention the phrase received expressed a deep concern for cultural collapse in the twentieth century far more than it revealed any widespread interest in the social and artistic psychology of the seventeenth century. That concern was certainly felt by Eliot and is central to his poetic achievement.