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2. Modernist Non-fictional Narratives: Rewriting Modernism

Modernism and Muddle: Religious Implications of T. S. Eliot’s Use of the Term

Anna BUDZIAK

Résumés

Vers 1930, comme l’a remarqué Ronald Schuchard, T. S. Eliot a dépassé l’opposition entre classicisme et romantisme pour la remplacer par une juxtaposition de l’orthodoxie et du modernisme. Cependant, comme le suggèrent ses lettres et sa prose récemment publiées, Eliot a recréé une autre opposition en utilisant ces termes à partir de 1926 pour suggérer une inadéquation entre ce qu’il appelle classicisme et « modernisme. » En effet, dans sa correspondance, ses rapports, recensions, commentaires et conférences rédigés entre 1926 and 1933, il fait référence au modernisme – ou peut-être est-ce simplement la façon dont il utilise le terme – sur un ton qui va de la condescendance au mépris. En s’appuyant sur ses commentaires personnels, ses remarques marginales et ses railleries, cet article tente de retracer la façon dont Eliot se débat avec le terme modernisme entre 1926 et 1933 et montre que le classicisme de T. S. Eliot était essentiellement un antidote au modernisme. Il démontre également que, dans ces années-là, Eliot employait le mot modernisme non seulement pour faire référence au modernisme littéraire mais aussi et peut-être surtout, à la théologie moderniste.

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  • 1 Stan Smith describes Eliot as “the Lenin” of modernism (41), noting the symbolical significance of (...)
  • 2 Its diversity is stressed, for instance, by Ann Ardis (312); its features of autonomy, a-historicit (...)

1For T. S. Eliot, the first association of modernism was not with art but with theology; although, admittedly, when he was using the term in his various ephemeral writings, he rarely qualified its meaning as predominantly theological. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, his remarks on modernism – often casually dropped in his letters, reviews, reports, and commentaries, pamphlets, and various addresses – were condescending, surprisingly coming from the poet who, after all, was a constitutive figure of the movement, its “Lenin” and its legitimizer.1 In the early days (in 1926), this ambivalence of scorn and support was captured in the pithy paradox noted by John Middleton Murry, who described T. S. Eliot as one of those “[c]hildren of the age against which they rebel” (134) – a decisively anti-modernist modernist. This paradox, nevertheless, can be solved if one considers the meanings that have accrued to the term over the years. In 1961, when interviewed by Tom Greenwell, Eliot – a venerated poet – did not seem to be bothered about having belonged to a movement. He left this concern to other generations (“Talking Freely” 51-52). And indeed, the discrepancy between the meaning of “modernism” as deployed by Eliot and as used by Eliot scholars is a matter of a difference in generations. To an Eliot critic, “modernism” is largely a name for a period in the twentieth century when art insisted on its autonomy and experimentalism;2 to T. S. Eliot, however, it was not a period in twentieth-century art, but an intellectual movement within nineteenth-century theology, which he came to regard as hazy, romantic, or sentimentalist.

  • 3 For Hulme’s early influence on Eliot’s classicism, see also Schuchard (Eliot’s Dark Angel 60-63); R (...)
  • 4 Also as quoted by Schuchard (“Eliot and Hulme” 1088).

2Eliot’s decisive rejection of what he perceived as a sentimental streak in religiosity was manifest as early as 1916. In his notes for the lectures on modern French literature –delivered to a London working-class audience in the autumn of the third year of the Great War – he formulated and expressed his clearly anti-romantic position. In these extension lectures, as observed by Ronald Schuchard, Eliot fused into one position the views of three intellectuals – Irving Babbitt, T. E. Hulme, and Charles Maurras – creating for himself a stance that comprised, respectively, “neoclassicism,” “Christian humanism” (the agnostic version of Original Sin, or an innate flaw justifying external authority) and “the royalist-Catholic authoritarianism” (“Eliot and Hulme” 1088).3 Eliot openly sympathized with the classicist, Maurrasian and Hulmean, insistence on the need for external rule while refuting the romantic emphasis on the inner voice. This preference – for the classicist external discipline rather than romantic inner inspiration – is visible in Eliot’s literary judgements, his contrasting of the two French Catholic poets, both born in the same year of 1868: Francis Jammes and Paul Claudel. Specifically, in lecture five, titled “The Return to the Catholic Church,” Eliot juxtaposes their religious attitudes: he sets Jammes’s 19th-century “[s]entimental Christianity, really romanticist” against Claudel’s Christianity, which he describes as “less individualistic and ascetic,” medieval and philosophical and, simultaneously, more typical of twentieth-century Catholicism (Complete Prose 1, 474).4 Eliot appreciates Claudel’s intellectual type of devotion, which he recognizes as representative of twentieth-century Neo-Scholasticism; however, he disapproves of Jammes’s Catholicism as romantic, and as such, close in spirit to the nineteenth-century theological modernism. Thus, in Eliot’s vocabulary of 1916, the term modernist acquires an association with “romanticism,” albeit in the realm of theology.

  • 5 The uncompromising tone of Pascendi is commented on by Talar (“Introduction” 2).
  • 6 The alternative claim – that Eliot became familiar with theological modernism later, in Paris – is (...)
  • 7 For a discussion of debates conducted on Catholic modernism between 1900 and 1930, see Talar (“Cros (...)
  • 8 See Eldred C. Vanderlaan, who in 1925 asks the question: “Have the modernists any right to assert, (...)

3In the theological sense, “modernism” was a label used for the first time by Pope Pius X – significantly, with a condemnatory effect: in his unbending Pascendi Dominici Gregis, the encyclical of 1907, Pius X declared the movement to be a heresy.5 (Three years later, the Pope introduced an oath against theological modernism, which remained obligatory for priests until 1967). The term designated various intellectual tendencies – effected, around the mid-19th century, by the development of science and entrenchment of rationalism – within the Catholic Church. It is noteworthy that one of the early accounts of Catholic modernism was delivered as the Dudleyan Lecture at Harvard University while Eliot was there as a philosophy assistant. Possibly, then, Eliot’s first encounter with theological modernism took place in America, before he set off for Paris where Alfred Loisy – excommunicated on account of his modernist theses, in 1908 – was holding a position in the History of Religions in the Collège de France.6 In the Dudleyan lecture delivered in May 1909, Arthur McGiffert captures its distinctive features by referring mostly to Loisy and George Tyrrell, theologians like himself, as well as priests and modernists. McGiffert explains the origin of modernism in the attempt to attune religious dogma with secular science and to subject the Bible to historical criticism (26). He also comments on the movement’s characteristics: the refutation of the Pope’s ultimate authority (31-34), replacement of dogma with the idea of gradual advance (29), a belief in the immanence of God (29), and the discrediting of the supernatural (29).7 Such theology appealed to a sophisticated individual convinced that salvation was related to people’s moral growth, rather than offered through the grace of God. Importantly, such was also the appeal of Unitarianism,8 the religion of Eliot’s forefathers, which he rejected.

  • 9 This choice also accorded with Eliot’s anti-psychological Husserlian stance. See Rainey (305).

4To Eliot in 1916, then, “modernism” was a label for a theological ferment and the associated romanticist vices: firstly, historical relativism, secondly, the undermining of external authority and, thirdly, a romantic reliance on a personal epiphany, a voice heard from within, or intuition – the aftermath of discoveries in the realm of psychology and the outcome of Bergson’s intuitionism. Eliot – the Husserlian and, thus, the anti-psychologist9 – would endorse none of these qualities. Indeed, he remained wary of relying on intuition for a long time; and in his “Mr. Read and M. Fernandez,” a review from 1926, he jokingly declares that to depend on “intuition” is to crave “a more potent and thuriferous ju-ju” (Complete Prose 2, 840), or psychological witchery. As a staunch defender of the Aristotelian and Thomistic intellect, Eliot believed that a personal insight had to undergo the test of critical intelligence.

  • 10 See Complete Prose 1, 623-625.
  • 11 See Kenny on the reception of hylemorphism in the Catholic Church.
  • 12 For the discussion of the aesthetic and personal significance of 1910 for Woolf, see Kenney.

5In 1916, Eliot not only deplored the type of sensibility that he described as “romanticist” Catholicism, but also allied himself with intellectual Neo-Scholasticism, which was, in a sense, an intellectual dam erected to control the flow of modernist theology. Copiously reviewing works in contemporary philosophy, he was thoroughly acquainted with Cardinal Mercier’s A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy and Peter Coffey’s Epistemology; or the Theory of Knowledge.10 He paid tribute to Neo-Scholasticism, stating that the time had come for the movement – begun with a recommendation in Leo XIII’s Aeterni Patris of 1879 – to receive the greatest attention (Complete Prose 1, 601). Neo-Scholasticism could have given Eliot not only a sense of intellectual integrity but also a feeling that his Oxford studies in Aristotle (in the year 1914-15) were now topical. Reading De Anima (with Collingwood), he also familiarized himself with the work of St. Thomas; and he admired the twelfth-century intellectual writings of the Victorine mysticism (see Complete Prose 2, 652-53; Complete Prose 4, 51). In the same year, 1914, Pope Pius X declared Aquinas’s version of Aristotle’s hylemorphism suitable to be part of the curriculum in Catholic schools.11 Thus, countering romantic intuitionism in theology with his interest in intellectual Neo-Scholasticism, Eliot kept very much in step with the times. It is not without ironic resonance that the year 1910, which Virginia Woolf designated as a breakthrough of the new epoch – the year in which attitudes changed, the first Post-Impressionist exhibition took place and the Edwardian era ended12 – was also the year the Pope issued the anti-modernist oath.

  • 13 See Complete Prose 4, 814n1.
  • 14 For Eliot’s views on the supernatural aspect of religion, see his “Second Thoughts about Humanism” (...)

6If, in the second decade of the century, Eliot expressed his distaste with Catholic romanticism (though not directly with theological modernism), then, near and after his sacramental conversion, he would use the term modernism more frequently and in condemnatory ways. In 1916, declaring in front of his evening students that Claudel was superior to the “romanticist” Jammes, Eliot disapproved of the sentimental type of religious emotion – a product of theological modernism which put emphasis on the individual experience and personal epiphany, rather than on the Church having the last word, and which elevated intuition at the expense of dry reason. He opposed this tendency with his (essentially, Hulmean and Maurrasian) insistence on external authority, discipline, and critical intellect. Ten years later, when Eliot was preparing to enter the fold of the Anglican Church, the ideas had been all there; but, in 1926, this intellectual structure became animated with a belief. As a believer, Eliot had to counter theological modernism on one more point: the disappearance of the miraculous and, even more vital, the waning of the supernatural. Theological modernism diluted the Church’s teachings; and it undermined the doctrine of Incarnation which, to Eliot, was absolutely central. In “The Modern Dilemma,” both an essay and a spoken address from 1933,13 he simply admitted that without accepting this supernatural intervention into the human world as true he “should find it difficult to defend the morality” by which he lived (Complete Prose 4, 812).14 The fear was that theological modernism would replace supernatural religion with a vaguely religious attitude. Ultimately, the movement was presented (in the extreme case, demonized) as a religion without transcendence, but with humans capable of realizing their godly nature. In that, indeed, it was romantic, confirming the insight Eliot communicated in his evening lectures on modern French literature.

  • 15 For the collusion between literary and theological modernism, see Gamache. For a discussion of the (...)

7From 1926, the word modernism frequently appears in Eliot’s ephemeral writings, denoting literary, religious, and political issues as tainted, each time, with its “romanticist” aura. The ways in which Eliot deploys the term in his prose texts of the late 1920s and early 1930s betrays his apprehension that the tenets of theological modernism were reflected by literary sensibilities and were present in political attitudes. This permeation of literary, theological, and political modernisms, which to Eliot was apparent,15 accounts for the paradox of T. S. Eliot: the modernist greatly wary of modernism.

  • 16 Eliot’s return to the works of Hulme is commented on by Schuchard (Eliot’s Dark Angel 65-67). In 19 (...)

8References to literary modernism as deployed in a letter written to I. A. Hutchinson in December 1926, at the time when Eliot rekindled his interest both in Hulme and in neo-Thomism,16 are plainly negative. As President of the debating society of Cambridge (the Union), Hutchinson invited Eliot to contribute to a discussion prompted by the declaration that the House “sympathizes with the critics rather than with the writers of modernist verse” (Letters 3, 344n2). An invitation formulated in this way and sent to Eliot – who, in Jewel Brooker’s metaphor, is described as “the elder statesman of literary Modernism” (xxxvii) – might seem highly ironic. But the irony was not intended on Hutchinson’s part; it appears only in retrospection as the result of the term's ambiguity. Hutchinson did not regard Eliot as a modernist poet, nor did Eliot regard himself as one at the time. He responded to Hutchinson, sincerely apologizing that he couldn’t participate in the discussion and regretting that he would miss the chance to criticize “the pestilential word ‘modernist’ for which [he could] see no excuse” (Letters 3, 344). But, while sending his explanation to Hutchinson, he also took the opportunity to raise two objections against the term, indicating its vagueness and belatedness.

  • 17 From 1923, Eliot and Murry became engaged in a dispute over classicism, with Murry calling Eliot “a (...)
  • 18 In 1932, the difference was captured as Eliot’s emphasis on external authority and Murry’s on perso (...)

9The first reason Eliot gives for his dissatisfaction with the word is its indefiniteness. He disapproves of “modernism” as a catch-all term. The critic’s task, he maintains, is to differentiate rather than to invent words to obliterate distinctions and, as a result, bring differing poets under one label. Ironically, in the following year, Laura Riding and Robert Graves’s A Survey of Modernist Poetry appeared, classifying Eliot’s work as expressive of the disillusionment, even despair, of the post-war generation. Eliot, however, refused to be identified as the voice of the lost generation. He could not make this refusal clearer than by caustically stating in his “Thoughts after Lambeth” (in 1933) that he did not express their disillusionment but rather “their illusion of being disillusioned” (Complete Prose 4, 226), and that he did it only incidentally. Had his reluctance to join the ranks of post-WWI poets been appreciated before, it might have prevented the confusion of John Middleton Murry calling him a “romantic.”17 Murry, Eliot’s adversary in the dispute over romanticism and classicism – and “also an intimate friend” (Letters 3, 735), though, on account of their differing positions, Eliot nicknamed him “Mr. Muddleton Moral” (Gordon 218) – believed that classicism was a post-WWI phenomenon. In “The ‘Classical’ Revival,” published in Adelphi in February 1926, Murry states that so-called classicism encapsulates “a universal [post-war] skepticism” (133) and reveals itself in a posture of imperial detachment, calm Augustan cynicism. Hence Eliot, serious rather than cynical, Murry says, could not be a classicist (133). Actually, both to Eliot and Murry, classicism was a matter of a philosophical outlook on life. However, according to T. S. Eliot, this intellectual position did not find its expression in the attitude of detachment, but in subordination of an individual to an external authority18 – an ideal to which he had subscribed at least a decade before. (Characteristically, in Polish neo-modernism, in the years 1956-68, when the country was still visibly affected by World War II and subjected to a new regime – despite poets’ overt references to Eliot – it was effectively Murry’s type of classicism that was adopted: manifest through the skepticism of Zbigniew Herbert, a poet and a former soldier of the Home Army.)

  • 19 See Complete Prose 2, 481. See also Eliot (Inventions 395).

10Eliot’s reluctance to come under the label of the post-war-generation “modernists” was not the only reason for his annoyance with the term. The other reason for Eliot’s discontent with the word modernism was its outdatedness. In a letter to Hutchinson, Eliot saw the term as delayed by “a good ten years” (Letters 3, 344), which would designate the year 1916 – the time when Eliot had formulated his Hulmean idea of classicism – as the closing date for modernism. This would suggest that, to Eliot in the late twenties, the modernist epoch comprised the Imagist experimentation and his own early poetry (including, for instance, “La Figlia Che Piange”) as the tail end of the period nowadays considered to be ur-modernist, that is, comprising the works of Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde (which Eliot conspicuously disregarded, save for Wilde’s Intentions) and of the poets of the 1890s (whose unfinished formal experiments culminated, by Eliot’s admission, in his own free verse).19 More importantly, however, the time Eliot suggests as the end of “modernism” coincides with his critique of that type of Christianity which, in his lectures on modern French literature, Eliot describes as “romanticist” (Complete Prose 1, 471, 474), with the publications of his approving reviews of the works on Neo-Scholasticism, and with the growing acceptance of neo-Thomism. Thus, writing his apology to Hutchinson, Eliot clearly saw literary and theological modernisms as overlapping, the literary modernism absorbing (or infested with) the qualities of the theological.

  • 20 See Complete Prose 3, 302.

11In the year preceding his sacramental conversion to Anglicanism, Eliot’s annoyance at the term modernism might have also been caused by the unwelcome connotations it had to him in its ecclesiastical sense: being called a modernist, to Eliot, could have meant being implicated in a heresy of which he disapproved. However, while loyally standing up for Charles Maurras (when Maurras’s ideas were condemned by the Church of Rome), Eliot discredited – merely by dint of their association with theological modernism – the integrity of the editors of The Church Times, critiquing L’Action Française. Defending Maurras and L’Action Française against the censure passed by the leading Anglican weekly, Eliot wrote the editor a letter, on December 9, 1927, questioning the paper’s right to level any such criticism. To him, they lost their authority in the matter, having had previously published the works of theological modernists.20

12In the late 1920s and early 1930s – no matter if in a report, pamphlet, commentary, or a review – when Eliot uses the word modernism, he conflates its meaning with that of sloppiness, confusion, and muddle. In February 1928, in his review of Selected Letters by Baron Friedrich von Hügel, Eliot explains that the confusion in the modernists’ way of thinking does not arise from their effort to bridge the gap between the olden religious emotion and contemporary scientific discoveries, but from their attempt to harmonize “antagonistic currents of feeling within themselves” (Complete Prose 3, 338-339). Such reconciliation – the harmonizing of conflicting pulls and desires – if ever possible (though dangerously bordering on quietism), cannot be attempted at all without an external point of reference. Theological modernism, however, locates the point of reference within the inner circle, in the realm of individual psyche. To Eliot, this is vagueness (which he berated in his letter to Hutchinson). It is modernism being elusive about a clear borderline between the human and the divine, the natural and the supernatural, the atheistic and religious. Its danger is not arriving at the conclusion that there is no God, but concluding that there is a god that looks very much like oneself. Thus theological modernism evades the specifically Eliotean either/or. It is notable that Eliot is not worried by his friends being atheist but by their becoming heretics. He expresses this sentiment in a letter to Richard Aldington (of February 24, 1927), regarding Leonard Woolf and J. M. Robertson as standing in contrast against Bertrand Russell and Murry, and stating that – “for the sake of Faith” – honest atheism is ever welcome as a rational critique (Letters 3, 424).

  • 21 Eliot was less concerned with the differences among denominations than with the difference between (...)

13What Eliot sees as a lack of lucidity – confusing metaphysics and psychology, with the resultant blurring of categories – is reflected in numerous verbal slights. In his Commentary published in the Criterion: A Literary Review (of Dec. 1928), his concern is that Modernism is “a mental blight” threatening to undermine clear thinking “whether within or without the Church” (Complete Prose 3, 536; italics mine). Then, in 1929, writing a Reader’s Report for Faber and Faber – of Frank Morrison’s Who Moved the Stone, a book about the circumstances of the Resurrection – Eliot appreciates its distance from “sloppy modernism” (Letters 5, 38n2). In his “Thoughts after Lambeth” published in 1931, a pamphlet written after the Anglican Bishops conference, the stigma of intellectual sloppiness is increased. In his post-conference commentary, Eliot observes that the many divisions in the Anglican Church are vastly oversimplified in newspapers which designate only three labels for the dissenting factions: “Catholics,” “Evangelicals,” and Modernists” (Complete Prose 4, 239). However, in reality the picture is far from being so neatly divided into three parts. To Eliot, the “Modernists” do not exist on their own: both the Catholic and Evangelical factions within the Anglican Church remain either tainted with modernism or, on the contrary, cautious about the modernist attitude; this is true even of those for whom – irrespective of their Catholic or Evangelical inclinations – “Modernism seems to signify merely confused thinking” (Complete Prose 4, 240).21 The same attitude, language, and judgment – undermining the Modernists’ claim to logic, though really, to consistency – are deployed throughout. Religious modernism, to Eliot, is faulty of blurring the principle and moving it out of sight, of overlooking the ideal – it is muddying the waters, or worse, it is an attempt to keep the baptismal waters, having thrown out the Holy Child.

14After his journalism had taken a decisively social and political turn, in the talk delivered in 1933 on the “Opening of the Anglo-Catholic Summer School of Sociology,” Eliot made a note of the modernist attitude as manifested in politics. However, in political practice, Eliot finds the qualities of modernism – such as its openness to historical relativism, the opposite of an uncompromising support of an absolute principle – justifiable. In the address printed as “Catholicism and International Order” (hardly a eulogy), Eliot mentions the League of Nations as the effect of the romantic, even sentimental, Rousseauism. But he tolerates what he calls the League’s “Modernism in the political field” (P4, 538) more easily than modernism in religion, or modernism underlying literary sensibility. Indeed, Eliot’s reference to the modernism of the League of Nations, when the aesthetic modernist movement was at its height, can serve as a denouement of this brief delineation of Eliot’s use of the term.

15But Eliot’s wrestling with the meanings of the word, as recorded in his letters, spoken addresses and reviews, seems to have reached its height, or perhaps the nadir of his exasperation, in the letter (of Sept. 9, 1930) sent by Eliot as editor of the Criterion to Brian Coffey, then a young poet. In the letter Eliot asks Coffey whether, per chance, he knows “what the word Modernist means,” admitting, rather laconically, even flippantly, his own puzzlement on the matter (Letters 5, 313). Coffey’s answer to this question is formed very much along Eliotean lines: “that which is obviously the product of its particular age” (Letters 5, 313n1). On the force of this reply, then, the modernist is the opposite of the classicist. It is what is valid in its contemporary setting, whereas the classicist is what is perennial. The classicist – the opposite of the modernist in the same measure as of the romantic – is what is permanent. In Eliot’s thought, initially, it indicates an external authority beyond the mutable self, to be replaced around 1926-27 by a reference to an eternal power beyond the changing world.

  • 22 See Complete Prose 3, 66.

16To Eliot, the term modernism had clearly religious overtones; it was connected with theological modernism as countered by Neo-Scholasticism and seen as romantic. While Murry identified modernism with the skepticism of the post-war generation, Eliot conflated modernism with an intellectual movement continuing from the 19th century. He saw it as romantically obliterating the borderline between the human and the divine, emphasizing personal emotion – insight and intuition – and, at the extreme, making humankind its own god, which was the reason for his infamous denouncement of humanitarianism. He opposed theological modernism on various grounds: psychological concern with interiority, philosophical intuitionism and romantic individualism based on a belief in man’s unlimited moral powers (and even as Unitarianism, with which he once credited Murry).22 A lot of this critique is intimated in his letters, talks, and reviews. Such ephemeral texts reveal their discursive subtexts through apparent minutiae: a transient mood, a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and a casual remark. But, as written on specific occasions, they also provide an immediate response, closely linking literature with the lived world. A focus on letters, talks, and reviews can reveal those problems which general classifications based on Eliot’s canonical essays must, by their nature, omit. Amidst such nuanced complexities, there is Eliot’s frustration with the meaning of the word modernism, which he rarely preceded with the adjective theological. This omission, nevertheless, proved functional. It allowed Eliot to view modernism as more than an intellectual religious movement, or, for that matter, an exclusively literary tendency. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, it allowed him to use the term modernism as a word for various co-existing phenomena – literary, religious, philosophical, and political, and to regard them as designs in the twentieth-century cultural tapestry whose hidden, nineteenth-century romantic warp remained taut and strong.

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Notes

1 Stan Smith describes Eliot as “the Lenin” of modernism (41), noting the symbolical significance of Eliot’s having initially misdated his “Tradition and the Individual Talent” – the text of revolutionary modernism – as written in 1917. For the significance of Eliot’s editorial work as sanctioning high modernism, see Newcomb.

2 Its diversity is stressed, for instance, by Ann Ardis (312); its features of autonomy, a-historicity, and anti-mimeticism are listed by Marjorie Perloff (574-75); its twentieth-century allocation is affirmed by Frank Kermode, who divides it into pre- and post-Second World War (Brooker, “Transcendence” 53). Such allocation, though, is not unproblematic as it leaves out the nineteenth-century ur-modernism, and it closes off Perloff’s (571) view of modernism as an unfinished project.

3 For Hulme’s early influence on Eliot’s classicism, see also Schuchard (Eliot’s Dark Angel 60-63); Rainey (305) notes that Eliot used for the first time the word classicism to describe his intellectual position as late as 1923 in “The Function of Criticism”.

4 Also as quoted by Schuchard (“Eliot and Hulme” 1088).

5 The uncompromising tone of Pascendi is commented on by Talar (“Introduction” 2).

6 The alternative claim – that Eliot became familiar with theological modernism later, in Paris – is posited and explored by Joanna Rzepa, who examines the modernist insistence on personal experience (99-113) and Eliot’s Ariels as revealing his understanding of Incarnation (113-119).

7 For a discussion of debates conducted on Catholic modernism between 1900 and 1930, see Talar (“Crossing Boundaries”).

8 See Eldred C. Vanderlaan, who in 1925 asks the question: “Have the modernists any right to assert, as most of them do, that they are not Unitarians, but ‘evangelical Christians?’” (225).

9 This choice also accorded with Eliot’s anti-psychological Husserlian stance. See Rainey (305).

10 See Complete Prose 1, 623-625.

11 See Kenny on the reception of hylemorphism in the Catholic Church.

12 For the discussion of the aesthetic and personal significance of 1910 for Woolf, see Kenney.

13 See Complete Prose 4, 814n1.

14 For Eliot’s views on the supernatural aspect of religion, see his “Second Thoughts about Humanism” (Complete Prose 3, 671), “Religion and Science: A Phantom Dilemma” (Complete Prose 4, 437), and an unusual tribute he paid to D. H. Lawrence in The Idea of a Christian Society, appreciating Lawrence for his efforts to restore in readers a sense of awe (49). Eliot explains his understanding of the distinction between the supernatural (or, supra-miraculous) and the miraculous, in his Introduction to Pascal’s Pensées (Complete Prose 4, 343, 346, 350-1n27).

15 For the collusion between literary and theological modernism, see Gamache. For a discussion of the convergence and conflict between literary and Catholic modernisms in the United States (albeit without a reference to Eliot), see Cadegan.

16 Eliot’s return to the works of Hulme is commented on by Schuchard (Eliot’s Dark Angel 65-67). In 1926, Eliot read neo-Thomist Jacques Maritain (Ackroyd 155). Two years later, in his review of Maritain’s Three Reformers: Luther, Descartes, Rousseau, Eliot enlisted neo-Thomism in support of his conservatism – anti-democratic, anti-romantic, and anti-intuitionist. See Complete Prose 3, 504.

17 From 1923, Eliot and Murry became engaged in a dispute over classicism, with Murry calling Eliot “an unregenerate and incomplete romantic” (135); in 1926, reviewing Murry’s Life of Jesus, Eliot returned the compliment. But, in this review, in Murry’s favor, Eliot also notes that Murry’s attitude is not modernist (Complete Prose 3, 68). Significantly, Murry was not alone in calling Eliot a romantic; in the anonymous “Mr. Eliot’s New Essays” from 1928, Eliot’s poems are described as “unrestrainedly romantic” (150).

18 In 1932, the difference was captured as Eliot’s emphasis on external authority and Murry’s on personal insight (Roberts 212).

19 See Complete Prose 2, 481. See also Eliot (Inventions 395).

20 See Complete Prose 3, 302.

21 Eliot was less concerned with the differences among denominations than with the difference between those who emphasize dogma and those who stress personal emotions. See Domestic on Eliot’s publishing Karl Barth, a representative of Protestant neo-Orthodoxy, in the Criterion, from 1934 to 1939.

22 See Complete Prose 3, 66.

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Anna BUDZIAK, « Modernism and Muddle: Religious Implications of T. S. Eliot’s Use of the Term  », E-rea [En ligne], 15.2 | 2018, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2018, consulté le 22 juillet 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/erea/6200 ; DOI : 10.4000/erea.6200

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Auteur

Anna BUDZIAK

University of Wroclaw, Poland
budziaka@gmail.com
Anna Budziak teaches at the University of Wroclaw, specializing in British Decadent Aestheticism and Modernism. She has authored two book-length studies: on T. S. Eliot (in Polish), and on Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, Text, Body and Indeterminacy: Doppelgänger Selves in Pater and Wilde, shortlisted for the ESSE Book Award 2008-2010.

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