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Correspondence Theory and its Aesthetic Reflection in T.S. Eliot’s Poetry

Author SongYang
Tutor LiuGuoQing
School Northeast Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Correspondence Theory Modernism Poetry symbolism concept of nature beauty in evil
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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T.S. Eliot’s poetry The Waste Land and Love Song are concerned with the collapse and decadence of modern civilization. This kind of“collapse”doesn’t mean literally. It doesn’t indicate the tumbling down of buildings or a concrete image, but rather at a spiritual level—A desperate mental status of nonsense, aimlessness and hopelessness. Eliot employed various expressing means including symbolic means, multiplied imagery and the free shift between time and space and extracted life philosophy from verses and expanded the contents of poetry. This thesis attempts to excavate the aesthetic meaning of Eliot’s The Waste Land and Love Song from a brand-new perspective of Baudelaire’s Correspondence theory. Baudelaire is regarded as a great literature critic whose major contribution is to put forward a whole set of aesthetics theory, namely, the Correspondence Theory. Baudelaire no longer uses "the inspiration theory" and "the fascination theory" of Plato to explain creation of poetry. He once argued in his aesthetic thesis: "Modern poetry is a delicate artistic form absorbing the elements of painting, music, sculpture, decoration art, life philosophy and psychological analysis simultaneously." Baudelaire also points out that purpose and essence of poetry is to distinguish goodness from beauty and to discover the beauty in evil and ugliness, to make rhythm adapted to meet the demand of the person to express the monotonous, well-balanced and surprising feelings, to make the style adapted to topic.”All of these standpoints are embodied in his aesthetic Correspondence Theory. This thesis attempts to excavate aesthetic value of Eliot’s modernism poetry from various aspects of Correspondence Theory including content, artistic forms, natural concept, beauty in evil, expecting to carry out an overall analysis on the“non-mainstream”beauty in modern literature and to broaden the aesthetic category and horizon of non-professional literature readers and to provide a new vision to the domestic and international research of T.S. Eliot.

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