Eliot's Animals

By Marianne Thormahlen
May 1984
Lund University Press
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9140050661
197 pages
$79.50 Hardcover

Studies of T.S. Eliot's symbolic imagery are apt to emphasize the elements of similarity and recurrence. Eliot's Animals employs a different approach. It concentrates on the actual functions of animal images in their individual contexts turn out to be at least as important as the aspect of recognition.

But the break with pursue-the-pattern conventions in Eliot criticism is only one of the concerns of this study. Investigations of implications discernible below the surface that is Eliot's text suggest a number of fresh perspectives. Some of those perspectives involve crucial issues in the major works, such as the question of the progression, if any, in The Waste Land and the significance of the garden experience in "Burnt Norton".

No "interpretations" or "explanations" of Eliot's poems are offered in Eliot's Animals. The sole purpose of the book is to indicate possible ways of enhancing the reader's experience of these texts that ultimately assume different "meanings" for each of us, and should be allowed to do so.

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