The Poetics of Transition in T. S. Eliot's "Ash-Wednesday"

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17/2/2015 11:21 AM

The Poetics of Transition in T. S. Eliot's "Ash-Wednesday"

Asst. Lect. Amer Rasool Mahdi
Asst. Lect. Zainab Hasoon Abd Al-Ameer


T. S. Eliot is one of the important founders of the modernist movement in literature, a cutting-edge poet of the first order. After his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism, he began calling himself a conservative, royal, and a classicist.
"Ash Wednesday" is the first long poem written by him after his conversion. It deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith acquires it. It is richly but ambiguously allusive, and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation.
"Ash Wednesday" not only struggles with an approach to faith but with an approach to a language capable of expressing it. Eliot's style is different from that that predates his conversion. This poem and the poems that followed have a more casual, melodic, and contemplative method, which marks a transition in Eliot's poetics.

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