Dantes Influences On Shelley And Eliot British Literature Essay

Dante's canon, The Divine Comedy, has influenced many English poets both thematically and stylistically. There is an interpretation though, that British isles poets all borrowed from Dante in a normal way. I will look at, by contrasting two British isles poets, to disprove this interpretation. This paper will compare Shelley and Eliot's influences from Dante as offered in two works: "The Triumph of Life" and "The Love Track of Alfred J. Prufrock". It's important to specify the conditions, in discussing the problem of the canon's impact on the British. A canonical work may be a work that is accepted into the literary canon, the one which has turned into a touchstone in the reading and coaching of literature. However the term canonical can suggest something else: that the work is orthodox and somewhat symbolizes the central authoritative position at that moment in time. The word has become so loaded with religious connotations that it is often hard to split up the former from the second option. European critics have often managed that British poets have simply borrowed from Dante's Divine Comedy as a canonical work. A couple of two occurrences adjoining the poets' borrowings. The first one is the fact Shelley, as a Romanticist, lent Dante's form; yet, he was intensifying and unorthodox in showing the content i. e he didn't use Dante's traditional content. The second is that Eliot borrowed Dante's content; yet, he did not use Dante's form as Shelley performed.

Word Matter: 237

I. Introduction

From the characterization to the plot, any publisher who truly wishes to make a direct effect on the lives of his visitors must perfect nearly every aspect of writing. Some writers strive to attain a goal far greater than being memorable; however, they strive to be infamous. In fact, a controversial novel often creates an even more memorable or significant experience than one, which is broadly read and accepted even if that meant the authenticity of the material is compromised.

In English books, Dante's canonical work, the Divine Humor, epitomizes his attempt at obtaining a memorable experience. The root paradigm of life and struggling in Dante's works exist even beyond the limitations of books, as it got obvious influences on the masses and politics. But, perhaps no other poetry shows a wider and deeper affect of Dante than in United kingdom poetry from the 20th century. In F. W Bateson's article, "T. S. Eliot: The Poetry of Pseudo-Learning", Bateson notes that Eliot once admitted within the Sacred Timber: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. " (Eliot) Whether this means that the task was lent in a spiritual context or as a touchstone, the position is that British poets are no more than, put delicately, plagiarizers. That is certainly an exaggeration and generalization of all British poets garnered from the trustworthiness of the English for using Enlightenment ideas after having a revival.

The clear flaw in this view is the fact that T. S Eliot never used the canon as a reference to plagiarize off for this issue of his most acclaimed poem "The Love Track of J Alfred Prufrock. " A paradigm change from the Intimate views of his predecessors to his modernist view would not occur until the move of the 20th hundred years. His poem is a response to the canon and a critique on the orthodoxy of Affectionate ideals. What goes on if we can show that Eliot shows a modernist reaction to the canon and a good critique on the orthodoxy of his predecessors? Critics such as F. W Bateson would have to offer that Eliot was not equivalent to his predecessors and that his works, notwithstanding the apparent impact, interpreted the cannon in another approach.

II. The Devout Eliot

Among all the English poets, perhaps none shows a wider and deeper affect of Dante than in Thomas Stearn Eliot. His acquaintance with the great Italian arguably starts with the entire year of 1910 when Eliot started his poem, "The Love Music of J. Alfred Prufrock. Ahead of Eliot, there were to minimal extents pretty much evident borrowings from the Divine Comedy as seen in Shelley, Longfellow, Lowell and even Chaucer. What distinguishes Eliot from his predecessors was his acknowledgement of the essence of "poetry" that may be extrapolated from the Divine Humor. Amongst Eliot's essays, he attributes significant amounts of poetic enthusiasm and admiration for the style and terms from the Divine Comedy and even goes to say in a single article, "It is a visual imagination in another type of sense from that of a modern painter of still life: it is visual in the sense that he resided in an age in which men still found visions. " (Eliot) His realization was that there is a modern idea of poetry for locking itself within certain time constructs-something the fact that Divine Comedy possessed ultimately overcome. It is of no real surprise then that prior to Eliot, Shelley declared that the Titian's Assumption "and the 'Paradiso' of Dante as a commentary, is the sublimest success of Catholicism. " (Shelley) Essentially, Eliot's stance differed in the view that he seen the cannon as an eternal standard transcending time, which unlike Shelley looked at the canon as only stylistic and public standard. As is seen, on the most important views of the cannon, obviously Eliot deviates from typical of thoughts that great United kingdom poets looked after on the canon's mother nature. Ergo, the declaration that Eliot was exactly like any other English debtor of Dante's works is incorrect. In light of this fact, typical of opinions that great British isles poets preserved were garnered in an age of Romanticism.

III. Romanticism and Pre-Eliot Dante in England

Yet, Pre-Eliot Dante in Great britain was based on a central theme that was conceived by readers and poets likewise. These readers typically conceived an passion for a Dante of gloom and macabre, established solely on the few famous passages in the Inferno - notably the episode of Ugolino, a shape whose satanic hatreds are fueled by the indignity of political exile and the thirst for Revenge against Florence. Grounds for this enthusiasm may be due to the preeminence of Romanticism in Europe in those days. Emphasis on the experience of the imagination was accompanied by a focus on the importance of intuition, instincts, and thoughts, and Romantics generally put focus on the emotions as a required supplement to real irrationality in the Age of Enlightenment. When this emphasis was put on the creation of poetry, an essential shift of emphasis occurred. Wordsworth's explanation of all good poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful thoughts" grades a making point in literary background (Wordsworth). By seeking the ultimate way to obtain poetry in the individual artist, the custom, stretching back to the ancients, of valuing art primarily for its capability to imitate individual life (that is, because of its mimetic attributes) was reversed. Such reasoning or thoughts provided impetus for poets of the next Romantic Movement in Great Britain such as Percy Bysshe Shelley to build picturesque representations of the cannon that are left to be contemplated by real human perception. While there are some subtle differences in each poet, perhaps because of the social motions that took place within these poets' life intervals, there can be an inevitable unifying hyperlink between most of them; that is that these poets consciously or unconsciously borrowed from Dante in an enchanting context.

IV. Shelley, Conformer of Dante's form

The above mentioned Shelley was one of the most important proponents to the Romantic Movements. Despite his relegation as a Romantic poet, Shelley seemed to exemplify characteristics that were atypical of the line of great Affectionate poets. In the short essay of "A Security of Poetry" Shelley attempts to clarify that, "the functions of the poetical faculty are twofold: by one it generates new materials of knowledge, and electric power, and pleasure; by the other it engenders in your brain a desire to reproduce and organise them relating to a certain rhythm and order which might be called the beautiful and the nice. " Shelley is referencing to the vividness of the poetical faculty as a tools for humans to rearrange knowledge. He purposefully insinuates that all poetry imparts the audience with the desire to replicate and organise knowledge, electricity and pleasure into rhyme. He also realized that the canon was more of an cosmetic influence on the Intimate writers; that Intimate writers valued the canon because of its vivid imagery. However clarified Shelley's interpretation of Dante's poetry may have been there is no fine collection and strict context to establish that Shelley is an individual faceted romanticist. It really is noteworthy, that Shelley possessed already empty the orthodox view that Dante was a stern moral judge and didactic Christian poet, portraying him as a visionary idealist and precursor of Renaissance enlightenment - 'Dante was the first awakener of entranced European countries' (Shelley). Critics realize the ambiguity in Shelley's conformation to Dante's views - corresponding to Richard Lansing, writer of the Dante Encyclopedia, Shelley "while rejecting Dante's politics and theology drew on his imagery for a number of works, including Prometheus Unbound, The Triumph of Life, and the Epipsychidion. " Evidently, while displaying a gamut of opinions that conflicted with Dante's views on politics and modern culture, Shelley admired Dante's imagery and poetic constructs. Shelley is the only real exemption in the type of great poets to obtain borrowed from Dante in a romantic sense. In every verisimilitude, Shelley published this as a tribute to Dante and therefore ascribed every line's interpretation with Dante's vibrant imagery.

Perhaps the most lucid representation of Dante's imagery can be found in Shelley's unfinished poem, "The Triumph of Life". 'The Triumph of Life" is incomplete breaking in mid-sentence with the question: 'Then, what's life?' To the finish, Shelley was looking for knowledge of the real human condition with the Loving elements mirrored in his work. "The Triumph of Life" is pessimistic in the sense it underlines the illusion of real human life. "The Triumph of Life" is a bleak visionary poem, the narrator in Dante manner comes with an encounter with the shape of Rousseau who leads him through the vision of hell. Rousseau is not clear of the hellish eyesight of which he provides commentary. Matching to Bruce Woodcock from the University of Hull, "He is as much a sufferer of the macabre boogie of life as the mad revelling group of deluded souls who flock self-destructively into the wake of life's chariot as it drives in triumph through and over them. " (Woodcock) Rousseau is portrayed by means of a tree stump: an ironical metaphor expressing the malaise and futility of life. As a result, "The Triumph of Life" is an ironical poem with the triumph being truly a cruel assertion of Life's dominance over specific beings. In Rousseau, Shelley sees himself, Rousseau's point is the fact he was seduced by life itself which switched his head to 'fine sand'. One of the most noteworthy component of "The Triumph of Life" sits within its unique structure. We have already founded the knowing that Romantics found value in the visual form of the cannon. Following that type of reasoning, Shelley obviously found the stylistic influences rather interesting, as is seen from the terza rima rhyme program. The text proclaims itself by Dante's terza rima and round rhyme suggesting the circles of hell. For instance, consider this passing:

With the spent vision of the times that were

And scarce have ceased to be. -'Dost thou behold, '

Said my guide, 'those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,

'Frederick, and Paul, Catherine, and Leopold,

And hoary anarchs, demagogues, and sage-

names which the world thinks always old,

'For in the challenge Life and they did income,

She continued to be conqueror. I was overcome

By my own heart by itself, which neither age,

'Nor tears, nor infamy, nor now the tomb

Could temper to its subject. '-'Let them go, '

I cried, 'the world and its mysterious doom

'Is not so much more glorious than it was,

That I prefer to worship those who drew

New numbers on its wrong and fragile cup. (Shelley)

There is nothing in particular relating to this passage that uncovers composition that is necessarily different from the canon: Shelley still abides by the narrative form, the rhyme program and the allusions in the cannon. Moreover, Shelley places particular emphasis on the accomplishments of great intellectuals. Famous brands Voltaire, Catherine the fantastic, and Leopold conjure an unorthodox image of mankind and that is that human character is progressive, powerful. Thus, humans are destined to pioneer new movements - this distinction that Shelley makes from his work opposes Dante's theological commentary. Compared to that end, Shelley's works were not byproducts of Dante's content, but rather aggregates of Dante's form and Shelley's humanism.

V. Eliot and Dante's Jobs as Public Critics

With the arrival of Eliot and his poem "The Love Tune of J Alfred Prufrock", the idealistic views of 19th century Romanticism were shattered and there was a paradigm switch into more modernist views of the cannon. Just what exactly exactly was the modernist response of the cannon within the Love Songs of J Alfred Prufrock? It had been actually a culmination of Dante's influence on Eliot, where he materialized into a poem filled with huge philosophical inquiries different from the Intimate poets. Regarding the aspect of Eliot's borrowing from Dante, "The Love Tune of J Alfred Prufrock" does reveal a close connection between your two, but there is research to suggest often. Facts would make it appear as though Eliot had designed to make his work a representation of Dante's Inferno through Prufrock. To demonstrate the close connection between your Inferno and Prufrock, take the epigraph for example

"EASILY thought my reply were to one who could ever return to the earth, this flame would shake no more; but since, if what I hear is true, nothing ever did come back alive out of this depth, I answer you without fear of infamy. "

- Dante, Inferno

The epigraph to this poem, from Dante's Inferno, explains Prufrock's ideal listener: person who is as lost as the speaker and can never show the world the feelings within Prufrock's present confessions. Despite his wishes for such a listener, it is visible that no such shape exists, and due to the required circumstances, be content with endless contemplation. However, to claim that Eliot was an heir to Shelley, assuming there exists any affinity by any means, is an unsubstantiated view that few visitors will ever you should think about. Indeed, in Eliot's early essays contain remarks so forthright that it could appear preposterous to liken both. Shelley's ideas were seen as "the ideas of adolescence, " "repellant, " ideas "bolted entire and never assimilated, " and the person himself as "humourless, pedantic, self-centered, and sometimes almost a blackguard. " The formal features of his poetry are scorned as well. "What complicates the problem still further, " Eliot claims "is that in poetry [as] fluent as Shelley's there is a good deal which is just bad jingling. " (Eliot) With these remarks accessible, Eliot not only appears to be less than likely to have been inspired by Shelley, however in fact, a forerunner to Shelley's present day negative critics. In light of the reality, Eliot has distanced himself from the Affectionate poet.

This distancing between Eliot and Shelley is also obvious in their poetic constructions. Take for example this excerpt from "The Love Tune of Alfred J Prufrock"

Streets that follow just like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an mind-boggling question. . . .

Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"

Let us go and make our visit.

Although "The Love Tune of Alfred J Prufrock" most directly conforms to a rhyme plan as can be seen by the next, third, and fourth verses, this excerpt displays a deviation from the typical rhyme program into free verse where rhyme is not visible. Shelley on the other side employed a tight constructionist approach in creating poetic form for "The Triumph of Life". The terza rima that was confirmed throughout his verses shows, as recently mentioned, a borrowing of cosmetic characteristics from Dante's work while plainly Eliot found little interest in borrowing Dante's rhyme scheme.

It is inquisitive then to examine what Eliot lent from Dante. In lieu of form, Eliot lent greatly in content, which is not difficult to see the similarity in both. The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock is a representation of the aggravation and malaise in the daily life of today's man. The epigraph itself was intended to show Eliot's take on the modern man. As the poem is concerned mainly with the erratic and some extent ridiculous pondering of the narrator, the most important issue sits over what Prufrock is wanting to accomplish. Many think that Prufrock is wanting to confess to an unknown intimate interest as he alludes to the various physical characteristics in women: head of hair, clothing, and the body. Prufrock's passionate interest is also apparent when he states, "I've listened to the mermaids singing, each to each. I really do not think that they'll sing to me. I have seen them riding seaward on the waves/ Combing the white scalp of the waves blown back/ If the wind blows this inflatable water white and dark-colored" (Perrine). Still there is certainly the alternative view that Prufrock offers a deeper philosophical information to the world. Matching to Mc Coy and Harlan's, writers of English Literature from 1785, "For many viewers in the 1920s, Prufrock seemed to epitomize the disappointment and impotence of the modern individual. He appeared to represent thwarted wants and modern disillusionment. Such phrases as 'I have measured out my entire life in espresso spoons' (series 51) get the sense of the unheroic characteristics of life in the twentieth century. Prufrock's weaknesses could be mocked, but he is a pathetic physique, not grand enough to be tragic. " (McCoy) In that sense, Eliot was worried more with the average person and its purpose in life which demonstrated an emphasis on rationality in determining an individual's lifetime.

This coincides with Prufrock, who, like Ugolino in the cannon, is a topic to be ridiculed at. They may be subjects who are not to be emulated because of the perpetuation of offenses. Relating to Prufrock's "sin" as Dante would have called it, it is very subtle and can certainly be dismissed as the musing of any psychologically instable man. Yet, Prufrock presents a suspicious sign about the fifteenth line. In the beginning, the reader can suppose the fog as a wandering feline on the alleys and roads, the fog can even be interpreted as slightly an enigma that symbolizes the elusive characteristics of love. Although Prufrock is a timorous, feeble and frightened man who does not dare to speak to an audience, presumably his love interest, he often contemplates on doing so. He often amazing things, "how [he] should begin" and "how [he] should presume" with the "butt end means of his times. " In many ways, he confines his own wants so that any vestiges of lust or action are reduced into a passive state. Subsequently, elusive attributes of the fog insinuate Prufrock acknowledgement of love's intangibility

For the yellow smoke cigars that slides along the road,

Rubbing its back again upon the window-panes;


There will be time, you will see time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all your works and times of hands

That lift up and drop a question on your dish;


Time for you and time for me personally,

And time yet for 100 indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea. (Eliot)

While it may seem admirable that there is too little passion and lust for love, the canon was in fact concerned with the passivity of the Religious church which inhibited any spiritual and or cultural improvement. Prufrock commits the same sin by self applied inducing himself into circumstances of limbo, where decision is undoubtedly "a hundred indecisions" (Eliot). Likewise, Ugolino fulfills the same goal in underlining a perpetuation of sin. As aforementioned, his sin is the determination of treason as a Florentine. Dante's condemnation of Ugolino is however a lot more explicit than Eliot's condemnation of Prufrock. Therefore through the condemnation of Prufrock, Eliot has ridiculed mankind's inclination to moral decay.

VI. Conclusion

Considering every one of the influences which Dante is becoming on Shelley and Eliot, there is an implied irony in the advancement of British poetry. The radically intensifying ideas of Shelley in "The Triumph of Life" are conspicuous signs of Shelley's deviation from the traditional Romantic. In addition to proposing the dogma that emotion is a key health supplement to reason, Shelley augments the significance of mankind as the most crucial device in the universe. Because of this, for realists such as H. H Price, Shelley's notion becomes an axiomatic truth. This may make clear why Shelley respected the canon exclusively for its cosmetic qualities rather than for the orthodox content. It really is ironic though that as a modern day of Shelley, Eliot would revert back to Dante's concerns in humanity's moral decay. When juxtaposing both of these British poets, you'll be able to conclude that the unifying website link is situated within the unorthodoxy of these ideas in the time that they resided in. Shelley was for example tilting more towards a humanistic point of view while Eliot assumed Dante's role as a interpersonal reformer in a modernist milieu.

Thus, Dante's presence as a paramount affect in United kingdom poetry was such that it would not have been astonishing if Eliot got included Dantesque ideas into his poetry. Indeed, the epigraph and even the stylistic attributes of the narrator remind the visitors of the canon. Based on Virgil's role as helpful information to Dante in the cannon, Prufrock bears a dazzling resemblance in his role as a guide to the viewers. The role of Dante is filled by the viewers hence utilizing an illusory influence on the last mentioned. Furthermore, in contrast to charming poems, the poem in its entirety evoked the image of your non conventional perspective towards mankind. By grasping the aforementioned eternal standard, Eliot augmented the value of the human race in 20th hundred years literature, an idea that previously did not exist.

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