“Dogwood and Chestnut, Flowering Judas”: The Role of Tree Images in T.S. Eliot’s Poetry

Julia Wilde

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to examine the role of the tree depictions in T.S. Eliot’s poetry and to demonstrate the way they enrich interpretations of particular poems. In every culture the tree symbolizes similar notions such as life or rebirth. Yet, different tree species have been believed to possess certain properties and sometimes even personalities – this knowledge is passed on through cultural transmission and thus may linger on the edges of one’s consciousness. This seems also true for T.S. Eliot and the symbolism of the trees appearing in his poetry. Despite the fact that they tend to be presented either as a background or the scenery for the lyrical situation, one should not assume that they were chosen accidentally – especially given the purposefulness and rich symbolism of Eliot’s writings. For this reason, the analysis of tree depictions in Eliot’s selected poems reveals new aspects of interpretations, drawing attention to the connection between the author and the culture he was rooted in.


Keywords


T.S. Eliot; poetry; trees; literature; modernism; culture; symbol

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/nh.2019.4.52-66
Data publikacji: 2019-09-13 22:32:41
Data złożenia artykułu: 2019-01-14 16:23:14

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