T. S. Eliot: Close Reading, and the Question of Feeling

Abstract

T. S. Eliot’s author portraits are, on the face of it, emblems of unfeeling. From the pencil-sketched portrait which looms on the cover of Faber’s T. S. Eliot: Collected Poems, 1909-1962, to the photographs reproduced in the glossy centrefold of Lyndall Gordon’s well-known biography, The Imperfect Life of T. S. Eliot (2012), a certain facial motif can be seen to curl around these images, and cling. Indeed, the visage we encounter in these public photographs belongs far more to Ozymandias than to Alfred J. Prufrock: statuesque and imperious, wan yet knowing, Eliot’s smile, like that of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s faded tyrant, might best be described as a ‘sneer of cold command’.

Keywords

modernist criticism, thinking, feeling, emotion, unfeeling, T.S. Eliot

How to Cite

Gutsell, R., (2022) “T. S. Eliot: Close Reading, and the Question of Feeling”, Moveable Type 14(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.1755-4527.130

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Authors

Rowena Gutsell (University of Oxford)

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