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The American T. S. Eliot A Study of the Early Writings by Eric Sigg

The American T. S. Eliot A Study of the Early Writings

Part of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series


The American T. S. Eliot A Study of the Early Writings by Eric Sigg

In his old age T. S. Eliot said on a number of occasions that the American experience of his childhood and youth had had the deepest influence on his poetry. This is the first book to explore in detail how Eliot's writings at once preserved and reacted against his complex American heritage: his intellectually and socially prominent family, their strong Unitarian culture and their experience in nineteenth-century St Louis and Boston. Besides demonstrating how Eliot's preoccupation with theatricality and self-consciousness descends from a line of American writers with similar impulses, the book pursues the theme of doubleness in rhetoric and the self and traces the influence on Eliot of the philosopher F. H. Bradley. Analysing major poems from 'Prufrock' through The Waste Land, Sigg draws upon Eliot's early philosophical writing, essays and reviews to reveal Eliot's early poetry both as a distinct entity and as a stage in his development.


Sigg's subtly argued, well-conceived study fills a glaring gap that has existed in Eliot studies for some time. He not only offers a sensitive portrayal of a poet and his work, but forces us to reevaluate Eliot's relationship to his native tradition. It is an indispensable book.

Richard Badenhausen, Modern Language Studies

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

30th April 2009


Eric Sigg

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Cambridge University Press


280 pages


Literary studies: poetry & poets
Literary studies: from c 1900 -



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