The American legacy of "Prufrock"
Patterson, Anita H.
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Citation (published version)AH Patterson. 2017. "The American Legacy of "Prufrock"." The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual, Volume 1, pp. 67 - 71 (5). https://doi.org/10.5949/liverpool/9781942954286.003.0004
The essay cluster brings together leading Eliot and modernist scholars to commemorate the centenary of the publication of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Together, they reexamine the circumstances surrounding the poem’s original publication, recontextualize its allusions, and reconstruct its reception over the past century. Patterson examines the American roots of Eliot’s ironic love song, often considered through the lenses of European poetry and philosophy. Dickey returns to the poem’s early reception to challenge the now established narrative that “Prufrock” shocked early readers, showing how often his contemporaries associated the poem with Decadent or Aesthetic precedents. Ricks returns to the poem’s first publication in Poetry Magazine to understand how the poem’s first readers would have encountered the text and how this context would have mediated the reader’s experience. Cuda situates Eliot’s poem vis-à-vis current discourses on late modernism and demonstrates how lateness and belatedness feature centrally in the poem. Finally, Schuchard examines Eliot’s literary and religious allusions, showing that his allusive method is in full force even in his first poetic masterpiece.