Make It Old

Genevieve Abravanel

in Americanizing Britain

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199754458
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933143 | DOI:

Series: Modernist Literature and Culture

Make It Old

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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It is an irony of the interwar years that an American, T.S. Eliot, became the most influential tastemaker in England. More surprising than Eliot’s didactic ambitions, however, was the way that English writers and critics actually listened, taking up Eliot’s call for innovation through continuity. This chapter demonstrates that Eliot was able to produce such a compelling theory of culture because he both recognized the increasingly transatlantic character of modern England and devoted himself to repudiating America, an effort marked by his adoption of British citizenship in 1927. Exploring such works as Eliot’s Notes toward the Definition of Culture, his early Colombo and Bolo verses, and his late Four Quartets, this chapter argues that a crucial aspect of Eliot’s attempt to renew English culture arises from the intimate way in which he negotiates the threat of Americanization.T.S. Eliot

Keywords: Englishness; transatlantic; Colombo and Bolo poems; four quartets; “tradition and the individual talent”; notes toward the definition of culture; popular; mass

Chapter.  11288 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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