Dante and TS Eliot Saturday, September 26, 10:30 am - Noon PST $30.00
" I still, after forty years, regard his poetry as the most persistent and deepest influence upon my own verse" T.S. Eliot on Dante
Who are the voices that populate your imagination? As a young man, TS Eliot was entranced by his literary encounter with Dante, and he laboured to learn by heart Canto after Canto of the Divine Comedy. From "The Wasteland "to " The Four Quartets", references abound to the great Italian epic which Eliot held to be the greatest work of poetry ever created.
On the anniversary of TS Eliot's birth, we explore the "familiar compound ghost" that inspired his greatest masterpieces as we discover the profound impact that Dante (along with Beethoven, Eastern philosophy and the story of Parsifal) had on the great 20th century American poet.
‘T.S. Eliot, from " What Dante Means to Me’, July 1950
"Certainly I have borrowed lines from him, in the attempt to reproduce, or rather to arouse in the reader’s mind the memory, of some Dantesque scene, and thus establish a relationship between the medieval inferno and modern life. Readers of my Waste Land will perhaps remember that the vision of my city clerks trooping over London Bridge from the railway station to their offices evoked the reflection ‘I had not thought death had undone so many’; and that in another place I deliberately modified a line of Dante by altering it – ‘sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled.’ And I gave the references in my notes, in order to make the reader who recognized the allusion, know that I meant him to recognize it, and know that he would have missed the point if he did not recognize it. Twenty years after writing The Waste Land, I wrote, in Little Gidding, a passage which is intended to be the nearest equivalent to a canto of the Inferno or the Purgatorio, in style as well as content, that I could achieve"