"No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of ęsthetic, not merely historical, criticism." (Section 1 Paragraph 4).
Tradition is a value that seems to be very important in literature, but not nearly as important as the modifications (or complete turnarounds) that are made to break away from that tradition. Think about the table of British Writers: How completely different was the Romantic Period from the Restoration Period? How about the Middle Ages to the Renaissance? The reason why we think that literature is so fantastic is because of the comparison we make to the other periods of literature that had their own concepts, their own language to an extent. The reason why many enjoy tradition, is because they do not like their predecessors literature. Whether it is because of what it stood for, or whether the imagery was stronger, some enjoy the Romanticism Age because it was something completely different from Restoration Age that the literary readers were not as fond with. The reason why Eliot provides this as an Aesthetic Criticism is because if we looked at tradition as a historical critic, we would look at the Greeks, or someone before that. But as an Aesthetic critic, it is somewhat understood that every age had its own tradition, and those who didn't follow that tradition, subconsciously created their own tradition. Talk about irony.Posted by The Gentle Giant at January 29, 2007 8:36 PM