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Title: Between the hither and the farther shore : a study of the dialogue between T.S. Eliot and India
Author: Mohua, Mafruha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 1921
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
It is a well known fact that T. S. Eliot studied Hindu-Buddhist philosophy. The influence of that philosophy, however, is perceived to be quite separate from the larger issues of religion, race, culture and aesthetics discussed in his work. This study questions such an implicit policy of segregation and situates Eliot s interest and knowledge of Indian philosophy squarely within his discussions of poetry, religion and culture. Such an investigation is important because it demonstrates that Eliot s interest in India, far from being a temporary and isolated phenomenon, was in actuality a continuation of that tradition of European orientalism of the 19th century, when the linguistic and philosophical tradition of India was perceived to be an integral aspect of European identity. The study also examines Eliot s point of departure from 19th century orientalism, through his attempt to purge India of its Romantic connotations and to present an Indian intellectual tradition which is analytical and as impersonal as a handbook of hygiene . This study examines the role of Sanskrit, in The Waste Land, as the European Ursprache. It also analyses the influence of Indian philosophy in Eliot s concept of the ordinary universe which consists of the shared points of reference in a given community. This idea of the ordinary universe is argued to be a dominant theme of The Waste Land. The study also presents an analysis of the Buddhist influence in Eliot s conception of the role of Christianity in Four Quartets . It reveals that despite the prominence of England and Englishness in Four Quartets, the poem represents a tradition which stretches back not only to ancient Greece but also to ancient India. The study concludes with a chapter discussing the role of Eliot s poetry in the development of Bengali modernism of the 1930s and 40s. The virtually unanimous decision by Bengali poets to accept Eliot s poetry as a template for the development of modern Bengali poetry during the decades of struggle for political independence from Britain was a manifestation of the relevance of Eliot s work to the modernists of Calcutta, the city which witnessed the most violent and forceful antiimperialist movements. This study demonstrates that the dialogue between Eliot and India, a phenomenon facilitated by the politics of British imperialism, had more far-reaching consequences for the development of Eliot s work, and of Bengali modernism, than has hitherto been acknowledged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.528972  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature
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