A Conversation for 'Four Quartets' by TS Eliot
Arianwen Started conversation Mar 12, 2000
I really liked this article. Do you think that perhaps Eliot's inaccessibility had a purpose? He has never struck me as the sort of person who really wanted the hoi polloi to be able to read and understand his work. And, in a way, wouldn't the religious imagery become too crass and obvious if he adopted a less erudite tone just in order to convey it?
Talene Posted Jul 20, 2000
I don't really think that Eliot's main point was to be inaccessible. Many of the references in his works would be much more readily recognized and understood by his peers in his own time than they are by us. I think it's a fault of modern readers that we assume that because something is difficult for us that it must have been difficult for its intended audience as well.
I am not discounting the class issue. Educational attainment was, and in many ways still is, highly contingent on class. The "hoi polloi" of his day probably wouldn't be able to understand many of the references either, and you're right that they weren't the audience he was writing for. Still, I think it's a mistake to assume that he deliberately tried to make his work inaccessible, or overly difficult.
Key: Complain about this post