During the week a guest speaker enlightened me, by the name of Professor Barry Spur. He has recently retired from his Chair of Poetry and Poetics at Sydney University and during his visit he gladly clarified and related written and visual texts to the mode known as Modernism. Throughout his lecture, he illuminated the context of literature and identified how Modernism became what it was through T.S Elliot’s work.
In Professor Spur’s own words he correlates Modernism to a reaction to the dominant mode. He expressed it to be a time where there was a massive rejection of the 19th Century as well as a rejection to Romanticism. His thorough connection was based mainly on the life and works of T.S Elliot. Part of Elliot’s great achievement was that he was known to be a ‘prophet’. In saying that he professed the theory of impersonality. This can be seen in a collection of his poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. Through just the title Elliot has made it sound like it could be a title of a scientific paper but contrasting through yearning of love within a dramatic monologue. Elliot uses this particular work as an example to the definition of Modernism and un-romanticised writings.
In past years T.S Elliot’s works have been a large blur in my literary understanding but through Professor Barry Spur’s insight into the passion that consumes each of his poems. When later reflecting on the entire experience as a whole I learnt the endearing approach Elliot takes on his writing without the inclusion romantic edge. The lecture opened my eyes to what it really felt like to be a part of a time that had so much rejection. T.S Elliot, you really are one of a kind.
Professor Barry Spur ( Left) www.abc.net.au
T. S Elliot ( Right) fineartamerica.com