Eliot, Auden, Lowell: Aspects of the Baudelairean by Lachlan Mackinnon

By Lachlan Mackinnon

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Additional info for Eliot, Auden, Lowell: Aspects of the Baudelairean inheritance

Sample text

In the fifth part the word becomes the Word, the logos and ground of being. This is difficult to hear in the busy world which offers 'not enough silence'. The poet has to hope that the 'veiled sister' , not merely withdrawn but nunnish, will pray for the world. He wants her to become an agent of grace for those who 'are terrified and cannot surrender' . In the last part of the poem, Eliot unwillingly suffers a renewed burst of feeling for the natural world: his 'smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth'.

The view of Baudelaire as a Christian should be treated with 'considerable reservation'. 143 His faith is merely 'rudimentary or 38 Eliot, Auden, Lowell embryonic',IH a hangover or an abortive beginning. His major achievement is the elevation of sordid city imagery to 'thefirst intensity', which' created a mode of release and expression for other men' . 145 The attack on Baudelaire is institutional and orthodox. It is precisely the dandy's anomalous need for self-invention which is under attack.

Here speak the last of them, soon heard no more Than sound of clarinets in country churches; Turf covers up the huge stone heaps, green ferns The dark holes opening into hollow hills Where water drips like voices from the dead. A pile of stone beside the stream is all Left ofthe 'Shop' where miners slept at nights; (Within, tired crowded sleepers, far from home; Without, the torrent, darkness, and the rain); Nor will they start again in early dawns With bags like pillows slung across their shoulders And watched by children enviously, who wish Themselves grown-up to climb like that, for whom Soon after it was all the other way; Each wished himself a child again to have More hours to sleep in.

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