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Old Challenges and New Horizons in English and American Studies


Anna Walczuk and Wladyslaw Witalisz

The volume is a collection of essays representative of the wide focus of research encouraged and coordinated by the Polish Association for the Study of English (member of ESSE). Articles selected for the volume deal with works of poetry, drama and prose written in English and invite the reader to view them in the context of intercultural and intertextual discourse. Authors discussed in the articles include: John Redford, William Shakespeare, John Dryden, James Macpherson, John Clare, Anna Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, George Gordon Byron, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, T.F. Powys, Patrick White, Brian Friel, Brendan Behan, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Chaim Potok, Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, and Sarah Kane. In many of the essays the reader will notice a meta-discursive argument on the interplay between tradition and innovation in English studies.
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Modernist Conflict or Fulfilment? The Poetry of T.S. Eliot


Anna Walczuk

Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków

Peter Ackroyd in his thoroughly researched biography of T.S. Eliot makes an interesting observation which at first sight seems rather shocking, but at a second glance reveals a thought-provoking breadth of perception and critical insight. Ackroyd states that Eliot “helped to create the idea of a modern movement with his own ‘difficult’ poetry, and then assisted at its burial” (Ackroyd 1984: 239). With such a provocative statement Peter Ackroyd, maybe unintentionally, encourages a reconsideration of T.S. Eliot’s poetic impact in a totally different perspective from that which has been generally adopted by critical and scholarly practice. Ackroyd’s claim is an invitation to view not only T.S. Eliot’s literary and cultural criticism, but also, or even primarily, the whole corpus of his poetry in the twofold function of its contribution to the construction of the major body of modernist writing and at the same time to the deconstruction of the main tenets of modernism. Consequently, the overall bearing of T.S. Eliot’s poetry may be seen in terms of a subversive force operating through the creative factor and gradually working towards the dismantling of the guiding principles of the modern movement.

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