About the BookThis study is an attempt to map out the influence of Eliot, particularly The Waste Land, on modern Indian poetry with special reference to Oriya, Bengali and Assamese poetry. T.S. Eliot influenced and actively helped two generations of English poets and writers as a director of a publishing firm. He was the first to throw open the windows of English literature to fresh breezes from Europe and to eastern mysticism and through his writings, gave a new assessment of the medieval poets and their mysticism. His poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” provides the starting point of the modern poetic revolution.
The Waste Land, published in the year 1922, is an authentic statement of the post- war sense of depression and futility. Critics said it was a fragmented view of a shattered world, through pieces of a broken mirror, which reflects the starvation, sterility, frustration and complexity of the modern civilization with its spiritual barrenness.
Eliot has portrayed the spiritual sterility of contemporary civilization as a piece of waste land, where nothing can grow, and the inhabitants of this barren land wait for the rain, which never comes. In this degenerating world of the waste land, there can be no love, but only perversions of it. It is not too difficult to speculate the reasons for such a pessimistic and negative attitude on the part of Eliot.
It was only later, when Eliot embraced Anglo-Catholicism and found an answer to his restlessness in religious redemption that his magnificent Four Quartets joined the pieces and formed a stained glass window. For Eliot, each of his poems was a ‘raid on the inarticulate’ and he reaffirmed the value of poetry by struggling to attain the discipline of the spirit, through the discipline of language. Eliot sought to transmute mystical experience into his art, by word-perfect use of motif, refrain, counterpoint and contrast.
Eliot seemes to be the most talked about in Indian literary circles. By the 1960s, the Eliot Cult was at its peak in Indian poetry and he was an important part of our cultural awareness. Apparently, he still is. The poets during the period attempted a drastic break with the past by taking a big leap into free verse and introducing new symbols and images to convey a particular feeling and emotion or to describe specific situations. In Oriya poetry, the movement was pioneered by Sachi Routray, and the poets like Guru Prasad Mohanty, Ramakanta Rath, Sitakanta Mohapatra and Soubhagya Kumar Misra wrote poetry, being perniciously influenced by Eliot. Similarly, Eliot had become fairly well established in Bengali literary and intellectual discourse.
Modern Assamese poetry is marked by the poets like Nabakanta Barua who found in Eliot an idiom to depict the physical and spiritual bankruptcy of the contemporary life. Eliot’s form and language has greatly influenced the modern Assamese literature. The book is a critique of T.S. Eliot’s major works. It will be useful to the students and teachers of English literature, particularly T.S. Eliot and researchers in this field.About the Author/sShyamsundar Padihari is a Reader in English. He did his postgraduation in English from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack and his M.Phil from University of Kalyani (West Bengal). He was awarded Ph.D. degree by Berhampur University. He is the recipient of UGC Teacher Fellowship. Padihari has to his credit one book enlitled Black Statements: Sylvia Plath’s Poetry and Fiction. His papers have been published in literary research journals. He has been teaching English literature and language in different colleges under Utkal University and F.M. University since 1982. Currently, he is working on Indian Writings in English and creative writing.