Repetition in poetry of T.S. Eliot through Ash Wednesday
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With a background of study in the poetry, plays, essays, and literary criticism of T. S. Eliot, I was intrigued by his commitment to the potentials of language and the "music" of poetry. I particularly liked his use of repetition and realized it was a prominent rhetorical device in his poetry and plays. To write a seminar paper about Eliot's use of repetition it was necessary to study the many kinds of repetition as identified in classical rhetoric and to study their uses as described by authors and critics. Very early I became aware that I would have to limit my field to the poetry, excluding the plays; further, to selected poems; and finally, to selected poems, excluding the long Four Quartets. There were several ways of approaching the task. I chose to analyze the poems as individual entities and to analyze them with reference to the repetition as it directs the reader to meaning and to what Eliot called the "deeper, unnamed feelings . . . to which we rarely penetrate." I analyzed "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" rather completely and proceeded through other selected poems chronologically except for the Ariel Poems, which were placed before the major poetry: The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, and Ash-Wednesday. The study was rewarding and the amount of repetition greater even than anticipated. The casual reader accepts Eliot's skillful handling of repetition so naturally as to be partially unaware of its extent, even while it is indeed playing a most significant role in focusing attention and feeling.
Repetition in literature
Eliot, T. S. -- (Thomas Stearns), -- 1888-1965 -- Criticism and interpretation