cynosure | Student

T.S.Eliot in his essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent", unveils the belligerently Anti-Romantic Impersonality theory. He refutes the Romantic idea of the subjective(emotional) origin of poetry by saying: "Poetry is not a turning loose ofemotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality , but an escape from personality." This was in direct contrast with the Romantic perception of poetry as the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions or as Wordsworth terms as that which takes its origin from -"Emotions recollected in tranquility". Through the impersonality theory of poetry, Eliot proposes that poet is a mere medium which facilitates the composition of a poem. Using the analogy of the necessity and function of a catalyst(platinum) in the chemical reaction between sulphur dioxide and oxygen to form sulphurous acid is used by him to make it clear. The platinum rod remains as the  catalyst which is essential for the reaction to occur and at the same time it remains inert through out the reaction as a result ofwhich no trace of it can be seen in the resultant sulphurous acid and it doesnot undergo any change either. Similarly, the true and ideal poet depersonalizes himself in such a way that "the man who suffers and the mind which creates" will be completely seperate ; thus the more perfectly will the mind digest and transmute the passions which are its material. The poet's mind fuses varied emotions into new wholes. He makes a distinction between the emotions of the poet and the artistic emotion. Thus it is a stentorian declaration of Eliot's Classicism.

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