THEORETICAL RELATION OF T.S. ELIOT AND ENGLISH MODERNISM TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU

Abstract

According to prevalent thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (T.S. Eliot, T.E. Hulme, I. Babbitt etc.), the dominance of modified Renaissance ideals resulted in the natural degradation of European society, in the loss of values, and the eventual cultural crisis. According to respective ‘crisis thinkers’, the main problematic factor for the negative development of this process could be attributed to the ideology of Enlightenment, more specifically to a seemingly unrelated figure, the 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Modernists, often with very scornful attitude, openly defied Rousseau along with his ideology, accusing him of creating dangerous nihilism and moral anarchy that had virtually destroyed the civilisation of the West. In this investigation, the paper examines the origins, grounds, and consequences of this notable controversy. It highlights the attitude towards Rousseau regarding one of the most important features of Modernism - the tendency of revaluating European cultural traditions. The paper offers intricate analysis of Ruousseau’s Enlightenment ideals, focusing on his emphasis on individualism, the state of nature, and connection between human naure and society. In this regard, the paper clearly outlines two opposing ideologies in the history of literature and culture, represented on the one hand by T.S. Eliot, other prominent Modernists and ‘crisis theorists’, and on the other hand, by the Enlightenment, in particular, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The aim of the article is not only to outline the tendency of revaluing cultural traditions, but also to analyze the conflicting significance of Rousseau's enlightenment in the theoretical principles of the formation of literary modernism. Ultimately, this paper expands our understanding of the interplay between Enlightenment thought and literary modernism by illuminating how T.S. Eliot's work provides a unique lens through which to view the ongoing legacy of Rousseau's ideas in the 20th century.


 


Keywords: Modernism, T.S. Eliot, Enlightenment, Humanism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Published
2023-12-20
How to Cite
DZAGNIDZE, Lizi. THEORETICAL RELATION OF T.S. ELIOT AND ENGLISH MODERNISM TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU. PHILOLOGICAL RESEARCHES, [S.l.], n. VII, p. 206-216, dec. 2023. ISSN 2667-9612. Available at: <http://www.sciencejournals.ge/index.php/NJ/article/view/403>. Date accessed: 14 apr. 2024.
Section
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES - LITERATURE SECTION