How we can say that T.S. Eliot is a modern poet?

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Eliot's early poetry could certainly be described as modern in that he was actively responding to changes in Western society that took place after the First World War. Many of the old certainties had been undermined by the war; in the political realm, the dominance of the old classes was being challenged by the spread of mass democracy. In the cultural sphere, too, there were huge, unsettling changes to the established order with the rapid growth of the motion picture industry and other forms of mass entertainment. As a consequence, the authority of high culture was seriously undermined. Eliot's masterpiece, The Waste Land, is a response to this cultural malaise, an attempt to salvage what's left of Europe's cultural heritage in this ever-changing, chaotic modern world.

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Victorian poetry was perceived as being very excessive, in terms of both its language and its subjects, and so the stark Modernist reaction to that poetry, in the early twentieth century, was spare and straightforward by comparison. Just as the Romantics rejected the Enlightenment focus on reason, logic, and scientific method, Modernists rejected the Romantic privileging of the sublimity of nature, the importance of the individual and one's emotions, and the connection between the two. By the time T.S. Eliot wrote "The Wasteland," publishing it just after World War I, it struck a new tone. It shows the lack of connection between individuals, the stark alienation that each person feels from his or her fellows, the sordid nature of the city and the industrialized world, and the absence of possibility for connection. T.S. Eliot is a modern poet because his work tends to demonstrate the era's sense of detachment, fragmentation, and disillusionment.

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