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Poetry of T. S. Eliot collects all of his early work through “The Hollow Men.” Poems like “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Whispers of Immortality,” and “Gerontion” ponder aging and mortality, while “Sweeney Erect,” “Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Service,” and “Sweeney Among the Nightingales” sketch the temptations and agonies of the modern man in the character of Sweeney.
Woven throughout with allusions to works in six foreign languages and sporting over fifty footnotes by the author, “The Waste Land” is as notorious for its bleak picture of a post-war world as it is for its density and difficulty. “The Hollow Men” ends with one of the most famous stanzas in English poetry.
Eliot’s flashes of insight bring the everyday into stark relief. Whether suffering an insufferable bore, observing the lives of strangers on the streets, or juxtaposing the sacred and the profane, his sometimes autobiographical vignettes of modern life still feel current a century after they were penned.
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