Classical Continuum

An Open Access Rapid Publication Platform for New Research on ‘classical’ Civilizations sponsored by the New Alexandria Foundation

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part III

Here I focus on two further passages in the Theognidean anthology, verses 1209–1210 and 1229–1230, where the idea of a recomposed performer is taken one step further. In these verses, I argue, the persona of the poet is speaking as if he were already dead—as a “dead poet” personified. I had made such an argument already in my original work on Theognis (Nagy 1985:76–81 = §§71–79; further elaboration in Nagy… Read more

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part II

§0. In Part II of this essay, continuing now from Part I (Nagy 2021.04.17), I return to what T. S. Eliot said (1919 [1975]:38) about the poet he was in his youth—and about any aspiring poet in general: “the most individual parts of his work,” he said, “may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.” In Part I, I applied this idea of… Read more

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part I

In an essay first published in the year 1919, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T. S. Eliot made a bold statement about poets, dead or alive. Back then—I show as illustration for this essay a picture taken of him around that time—he was thinking not only about the “individual talent” of young poets like himself but also about the collective legacy of all “dead poets” stemming from the “European tradition,”… Read more