T.S. Eliot, Dante, and the European Tradition: An International Symposium
January 19th - 25th , 2008
  Promoted by:
Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation
Palazzo Coppini Via del Giglio, 10
50123 Florence (Italy)

info@fondazione-delbianco.org

Author : Prof. MASSIMO BACIGALUPO

Types of Ecstasy Paradise Regained in Eliot and American Modernism

Dante has been read both as a naturalist and as a spiritualist. In "The Spirit of Romance" (1910) and later essays, Ezra Pound tried to define the otherworldly emotions expressed by Dante, and he presented similar visions by quotation or description in his poetry. Eliot was equally interested in Dante as a guide to spiritual states, but his visionary poetry is more somber and purgatorial. Wallace Stevens was also involved in a long confrontation with Dante. In his very last poems he approached a vision of the earthly paradise that is entirely original while inescapably confronting the Dantean model. By looking at these and later visionary U.S. poets (especially Charles Wright) we can assess change and continuity in the writing of ecstasy and the reading of Dante in the course of the 20th century.


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