Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson

Associate Professor of English; Senior Fellow, Berkeley Institute

Saved By Poetry: The Message of T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot’s poetry possesses exquisite music , formal experiment, and indelible images: “Let us go then, you and I, / When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table.” He is arguably the most important poet in the English language of the 20th century, and his work influenced the development of modernist literature, music, and art. But he’s no radical: American-born, he took up British citizenship and converted to Christianity later in life, declaring himself classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and catholic in religion. These choices make him “unconventional” by Modernist standards. We’re going to look at short selections from the poems concerning guilt, other people, time, and love. And we’ll talk about what Eliot’s work offers us about those topics from a Christian perspective. Is a “conservative” message within the poems actually a maverick solution to the spiritual crisis of modernity and postmodernity?

Dates: Mondays on 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29
Time: 5:30-7:00 PM

Discussion Schedule:

4/8: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
4/15: “Tradition & The Individual Talent” (section 1) and The Waste Land (sections 1 & 5)
4/22: “Tradition & The Individual Talent” (section 2) and “Ash Wednesday” (section 1)
4/29: “Tradition & The Individual Talent” (section 3) and “Little Gidding” (sections 2 & 5)

Location: 2134 Allston Way

**This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.