T. S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

(1150 words)
  • Marianne Thormahlen (Lund University )

“[T]he best poem I have yet had or seen from an American”. When a prescient Ezra Pound greeted “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” with such enthusiasm in a letter written in 1914, the poem’s author had just turned 26 and was living in England. He had written it in 1910-1911, during an earlier stay in Europe. In the course of that year, young T. S. Eliot encountered a Europe in which the languid amusements of the belle époque were increasingly mixed with the expressions of a new, nervous seriousness about life and art which formed part of what would become known as modernity.

When that unsettling cultural mixture hit the buttoned-up and hyper-intellectual Harvard graduate from a distinguished American …

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Thormahlen, Marianne. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=292, accessed 01 October 2016.]