Garab, Arra M.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of English
Eliot; T. S. (Thomas Stearns); 1888-1965; Pound; Ezra; 1885-1972; Women in literature; Metaphor
The purpose of this study was to analyze the use of woman as a metaphorical device in the poetry of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. Both poets make use of female characters to represent actual figures and idealized spirits as the artists consider the problems inherent in reconciling actuality to ideality. Pound's concern is the place of inspiration (the ideal) in the actual process of poetic creation. He considers this problem in terms of the goddess/ muse figure, a female who represents the force of inspiration. In the early works, she is a divine Romantic deity who transfers the universal power of inspiration to the poet. In Lustra and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, the goddess/muse becomes a degraded figure who offers little creative force to the artist. In his ambitiously conceived cantos, Pound creates a mature female figure whose force is responsible for the striking social criticism and modern artistic theory that Pound expresses in this work. Thus, for Pound woman is the means of making his views on art and the artist understandable. Eliot considers the imperfect actuality of earthly relationships and strives to reconcile them to a spiritual ideal that can restore health to the dealings of men and women. To accomplish this task, Eliot creates the image of the nightingale, a female figure who moves on a journey from defilement (in the early poems) through a Christ-like sacrifice (in The Waste Land) to her final status as the intermediary between corrupt humanity and the pure spiritual ideal that can bring salvation to earth. In this way, Eliot, like Pound, uses the metaphor of woman to clarify his ideas about the relationship of actuality and ideality. The goddess/muse and nightingale images are important contributions to the unity of Pound's and Eliot's works. Their similar use of this device may encourage us to consider its importance in clarifying other ideas in these poets' works, as well as providing us with helpful insight into the social and artistic concerns of Pound and Eliot.
Ollenquist, Jody L., "Images of women as determinants of the relationship between actuality and ideality in the poetry of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot" (1984). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 3472.
Northern Illinois University
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