T. S. Eliot's reformulation of the idea of literary tradition has been one of the key critical concepts of the twentieth century. In this reappraisal of tradition, an international team of scholars explores the concept from a variety of theoretical and historical perspectives, including a series of illuminating case studies evaluating Eliot's version of tradition alongside the theories of other major twentieth-century critics. This 2007 volume will be of great interest to students of literary theory, modernist studies and intellectual history, initiating a dialogue between Continental and Anglo-American investigations into the nature of literary traditions. Tradition is a concept often viewed by contemporary critics with misunderstanding or even hostility. This book powerfully reaffirms the continuing importance of our artistic and cultural traditions in shaping the past and creating the future.
• An essential contribution to the reassessment of Eliot's criticism • Explains the uses to which the idea of tradition has been put by critics since Eliot • Contributors represent a variety of critical and national perspectives
Foreword Sir Frank Kermode; Introduction Giovanni Cianci and Jason Harding; Part I. Tradition and Impersonality: 1. Exorcising the demon of chronology: T. S. Eliot's reinvention of tradition Aleida Assmann; 2. Proper frontiers: transgression and the individual talent Stan Smith; 3. Writing the self: dialectic and impersonality in T. S. Eliot Jewel Spears Brooker; 4. The later fortunes of impersonality: 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' and post-war poetry Clive Wilmer; Part II. Contexts - Literary: 5. French influences and echoes in 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' Bernard Brugiere; 6. Tradition and egoism: T. S. Eliot and The Egoist Jason Harding; 7. Tradition in 1919: Pound, Eliot and the 'historical method' Massimo Bacigalupo; Part III. Contexts - Art and Anthropology: 8. Reading T. S. Eliot visually: tradition in the context of modernist art Giovanni Cianci; 9. Some art historical contexts for 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' Michael Hollington; 10. 'A living whole': from T. S. Eliot's tradition to Hans Blumenberg's work on myth Claudia Corti; 11. Whose tradition?: T. S. Eliot and the text of anthropology Caroline Patey; Part IV. Case Studies: 12. Duchamp's Eliot: the detours of tradition and the persistence of individual talent Marjorie Perloff; 13. Tradition and the march of literature: T. S. Eliot and Ford Madox Ford Max Saunders; 14. At the frontiers of metaphysics: time and history in T. S. Eliot and Walter Benjamin Brett Neilson; Select bibliography; Index.
'The volume's distinguished contributors each approach Eliot's essay from a different perspective, offering interdisciplinary contexts that have rarely appeared in the same volume … As a collection, Cianci and Harding's volume covers impressive ground, the richness of which a brief review cannot aspire to convey.' The Review of English Studies
'This satisfying collection of fourteen essays looks back at Eliot's seminal notion of tradition in the refracted light of contemporary literary and cultural studies … its effect is cumulative, with each new essay returning to and modulating insights offered in earlier chapters. This book is well-conceived … persuasive … instructive.' English Literature in Transition
'… careful exploration and explication … For an overview and detailed examination of this ubiquitous subject in Eliot and modernist poetry in general, T. S. Eliot and the Concept of Tradition is sure to be useful.' Year's Work in English Studies
'A timely book … illuminating.' Don Share, Senior Editor of Poetry magazine
'T. S. Eliot and the Concept of Tradition is an excellent addition to the library of a student or scholar interested in the continuing influence and legacy of Eliot's most famous essay. It is a diverse, provocative, thoughtful, and well-organized collection.' Time Present