Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965) was a poet, dramatist and literary critic, whose works, such as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, "The Hollow Men", and Four Quartets, are ... more
We must believe that emotion recollected in tranquillity is an inexact formula. For it is neither emotion, nor recollection, nor without distortion of meaning, tranquillity. It is a concentration, and a new thing resulting from the concentration of a very great number of experiences which to the practical and active person would not seem to be experiences at all; it is a concentration which does not happen consciously or of deliberation. These experiences are not recollected and they finally unite in an atmosphere which is tranquil only in that it is a passive attending upon the event.
Think not forever of yourselves, O Chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.
Moving between the legs of tables and of chairs, rising or falling, grasping at kisses and toys, advancing boldly, sudden to take alarm, retreating to the corner of arm and knee, eager to be reassured, taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree.
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those we have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these things.
We are not here to triumph by fighting, by strata gem, or by resistance, not to fight with beasts as men. We have fought the beast and have conquered. We have only to conquer now, by suffering. This is the easier victory.
When we read of human beings behaving in certain ways, with the approval of the author, who gives his benediction to this behavior by his attitude towards the result of the behavior arranged by himself, we can be influenced towards behaving in the same way.