To what extent can the ideas of TS Eliot (“Tradition and the Individual Talent”) be applied either to the short texts in the reading-pack or to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?
“Traditionand the Individual Talent” is one of the most famous essays by T.S. Eliot where the author gives his own definition about tradition and also clarifies how a great artist must be.
For him, theModern literature of the present can change our perception of the literature from the past; “the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past” (p .153). This is thereason why it is so important to have studied previous writers and thinkers. On the one hand, what any artist writes will have some effect on the past, since he or she will express all the previousknowledge in a modern setting. He considers that there must be an adaptation of the previous work in order to introduce the new. On the other hand, all these new creations will be undoubtedly directedand influenced by previous pieces of work. Thus, tradition for Eliot is a fusion between past and present, and something which is not easy to obtain since it requires knowledge and hard effort.Connecting Eliot’s thoughts with Joyce’s novel, we can observe the influence of tradition in his writing. Not only Stephen’s thoughts about himself present a number of traditional ideas related to myths,but also his own name (Dedalus). It is for this reason that we notice that Joyce, just as Eliot, had an admiration for writers, mythology and inspirations from the past.
Consequently, Eliot seems tobe traditionalist not in a negative way. He considers that the works of any artist must contain some relation to tradition. “The historical sense which is a sense of the timeless as well as of thetemporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together is what makes a writer traditional. (p.153). Strangely, this sense of tradition in poetry does not come through imitation but originality:...
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