Ts Eliot Critical Essay

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"How has your research into TS Eliot's life and the opinions of ONE critic enriched your understanding of an aspect of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock?"

"Let us go then, you and I".
Throughout the poem, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, written by TS Eliot, there is a consistent use of the words 'you' and 'I'. Not much is said about the narrator or who he is talking to and after conducting research on TS Eliot himself as well as reading opinions of critics on this topic, my understanding of who the 'you' and 'I' is has changed quite significantly.

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock was originally written, primarily, between February 1910 and July or August 1911. The poem was not first published until June 1915 in the poetic magazine Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in Chicago, USA. This was in fact Eliot's first publication of a poem. 'Prufrock' (abbreviation of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock) was made famous when it was published in Prufrock and other Observations in 1917 in London. This was a pamphlet containing Eliot's oeuvre where 'Prufrock' was the first in the volume. It was this publication which brought fame to Eliot.

Eliot was 22 years old while composing 'Prufrock'. During the time he wrote the poem, he traveled to France as well as studying at Harvard University. In 1914, three years after 'Prufrock' was written, Eliot sent a letter to Conrad Aiken (a friend who helped publish several of Eliot's poems and who also later on became a Pulitzer-Prize winner) discussing his need and dependency on women, more importantly their society. He continued on to say that at age 26, he was still a virgin.

After finding this information my perspective of who the narrator is changed significantly.It is implied that the narrator is 'J Alfred Prufrock', a fictional character. Delving into TS Eliot's history it becomes clearer that 'J Alfred Prufrock' may just be a character who happens to have many of Eliot's traits and characteristics.

Between lines...
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