chapter  31
17 Pages

T. S. Eliot the Modern Mind 1933

WithT. S. Eliot

Arnold's insistence upon order in poetry according to a moral valuation was, for better or worse, of the first importance for his age. The major part of Trotsky's book is not very interesting for those who are unacquainted with the modern Russian authors: one suspects that most of Trotsky's swans are geese. In quite diverse developments, it is the criticism of Arnold that sets the tone: Walter Pater, Arthur Symons, Addington Symonds, Leslie Stephen, F. W. H. Myers, and George Saintsbury all the more eminent critical names of the time bear witness to it. Even if Mr I. A. Richards' criticism proves to be entirely on the wrong track, even if this modern 'self-consciousness' turns out to be only a blind alley, Mr Richards will have done something in accelerating the exhaustion of the possibilities. The task of Prayer and Poetry is to establish the likeness, and the difference of kind and degree, between poetry and mysticism.