Response to Eliot/Barthes

Topics: Modernism, Poetry, Psychology Pages: 2 (607 words) Published: October 31, 2005
T.S. Eliot is a modernist. He believes that your mind makes things real to you; the way that we think about the world creates the world. Ronald Barthes is a postmodernist. His writings reflect his beliefs that language changes consciousness and then the world. There are obviously many differences between Eliot's text, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," and Barthes' text, "The Death of the Author." They are two different authors from different time periods of literature who developed different beliefs and opinions. Even though there seems to be so many differences between Eliot and Barthes, these two texts composed by them show a point of view that, perhaps, they both share.

In Eliot's poem, "Traditions and the Individual Talent," he talks about how we, the audience, focus too much on the poet and lose track of the actual poem. People criticize the poet rather than the poem. In the poem Eliot writes, "It is not in his personal emotions, the emotions provoked by particular events in his life, that the poet is in any way remarkable or interesting. His particular emotions may be simple, or crude, or flat. "I think Eliot is saying that the audience tries to compare the words of the poem to the actual emotions of the poet when in fact those words are not the poet's emotions. Eliot also writes, "But very few know when there is an expression of significant emotion, emotion which has its life in the poem and not in the history of the poet. 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." I think this is another example of Eliot telling the reader that he/she has to remove the author from the text. Don't compare the two. Over all I think this poem expresses how angry...
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