This essay presents T. S. Eliot not as a conservative dinosaur, but as an active and imaginative participant in England's transition from imperial center to welfare state and in the conceptual revolution whereby an anthropological concept of national culture displaced a modernist concept of international art. Reading Eliot's late prose and poetry in the context of British decline, it argues that Four Quartets, in all its formal complexity, manages to absorb the residual signs of European universalism into an emergent language of cultural particularism. This interpretation moves beyond the stalled debate between "local" and "universal" readings of the poem by describing the reciprocal constitution of the local and the universal at a specific transitional moment in the history of both modernism and imperialism.


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pp. 39-60
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Ceased Publication
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