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“He Do the [Poet] in Different Voices”: Eyes, You, and I in “The Hollow Men”

  • G. Douglas Atkins
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Abstract

Seeking a responsible reading of The Waste Land is aided by attending to its relation to “The Hollow Men,” published as a whole three years later. Here, too, tonal shifts are frequent and critical. The later poem continues much of the earlier (Guy Fawkes, for example, representing aborted efforts that “The Hollow Men” also emphasizes in the way “the Shadow” “comes between” various efforts). “The Hollow Men” does, however, veer from The Waste Land in proposing the necessity of facing “the eyes” capable of revealing the darkness of the human heart.

Keywords

Prickly Pear Individual Talent Waste Land Responsible Reading Time Literary Supplement 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    T.S. Eliot, Ash-Wednesday: Six Poems (London: Faber and Faber, 1930).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (London: Methuen, 1920), 33.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    T.S. Eliot, Poems 1909–1925 (London: Faber and Gwyer, 1925).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hugh Kenner, T.S. Eliot: The Invisible Poet (New York: McDowell, Obolensky, 1959), 194.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    B.C. Southam, A Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot, 6th edn (San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Brace, 1996), 261.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Qtd. in ibid.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Qtd. ibid., 201.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    T.S. Eliot, “The Metaphysical Poets,” Selected Essays, 3rd edn (London: Faber and Faber, 1951), 287.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Southam, Guide to the Selected Poems, 215.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” The Sacred Wood, 48.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., 50–51.Google Scholar

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© G. Douglas Atkins 2013

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  • G. Douglas Atkins

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