Ascetic Modernism in the Work of T S Eliot and Gustave by Eliot, Thomas Stearns; Flaubert, Gustave; Gott, Henry

By Eliot, Thomas Stearns; Flaubert, Gustave; Gott, Henry Michael; Eliot, Thomas Stearns; Flaubert, Gustave

Gott examines Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) along side Gustave Flaubert’s los angeles Tentation de Saint Antoine (1874). He presents a hugely unique examining of either texts and argues stylistic affinity exists among the 2 works

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Extra info for Ascetic Modernism in the Work of T S Eliot and Gustave Flaubert

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What is enacted in these instances is a typical Flaubertian technique: the interruption of one artistic medium into another, in order to frustrate, provoke and generally obfuscate the form to which they are invited. 97 It is significant that the two most sustained attempts at ekphrasis within Flaubert’s oeuvre are those works, 22 Ascetic Modernism in the Work of T. S. Eliot and Gustave Flaubert the Tentation and ‘La Légende de Saint Julien l’Hospitalier’,98 that also concern themselves most directly with hagiographic depiction – suggesting that Flaubert discerned something inherently sacred about the visual, as well as an irreducible visual element to his appreciation of the saint.

206 This model of reading broadens the activity considerably, allowing indiscriminate application to such alternative (non-verbal) ‘texts’ as paintings and, as I shall come to describe in more detail, the natural world. 209 But getting ‘carried away’ by one’s reading has, in respect of the Tentation, two aspects; it describes on the one hand the reading as reverie that Culler defines, on the other reading as research. Valéry’s comment in fact refers to two antithetical but interdependent qualities of Flaubert’s Tentation: while Flaubert felt intoxicated by the exuberance that his subject both inspired and reflected, the work is – for all its apparent spontaneity – securely fastened to, even hampered by, the voluminous sources that Flaubert consulted.

195 His Tentation was on the one hand a tower, a ‘monument to meticulous erudition’196 whose bibliography had become ever more imposing with the passage of time; underneath the cumulative weight of the enterprise, however, it remained a secret chamber, an attempt to preserve the enigmatic intensity of that first encounter with the painting at Genoa. In seeking to reproduce the effect of the ‘Breughel’ picture in a literary work, Flaubert imagined himself in Anthony’s place, turning his back on the brute throng and clutching the religious artefact by which his salvation might be secured – the ‘gros livre’,197 which in Flaubert’s initial scene-setting is the focal point of Anthony’s domestic arrangement.

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