Eliot’s Revolution in Literature

What Eliot’s revolution in literature gave to this age was a renewal of the moral imagination—with social consequences, potentially. Eliot’s orthodoxy, expressed in new forms, offered something more attractive to mind and heart than could either liberalist aridity or the ominous People’s Hall of Culture. Literature and society both depended in a transcendent order, Eliot reminded the twentieth century. “If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin,” Eliot wrote in The Idea of a Christian Society. Eliot scandalized many because he went all the way to “the awful daring of a moment’s surrender—that is, surrender to the divine. —The Sword of Imagination, 215


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