GERONTION POEM PDF

Edit Eliot was working on the poem after the end of World War One when Europe was undergoing changes as old systems of government and international relations were being replaced. During that time, Eliot was working at Lloyds Bank , editing The Egoist , and trying to publish poetry. Eliot had published in Ara Vos Prec, a limited printed work that collected his early poems including Gerontion. In the typescript, the name of the poem is "Gerousia", referring to the name of the Council of the Elders at Sparta. When Eliot considered publishing the poem as the opening part of The Waste Land , Pound discouraged him from doing so saying, "I do not advise printing Gerontion as preface. This is forgivable, since poetry is not, or should not be, answerable to pedantry.

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Jewel Spears Brooker: On "Gerontion" The psychological coherence of the first verse paragraph, instrumental in clarifying both the main structural principle of superimposed contexts and the main image of the house within the house, is abandoned as Eliot moves to his second stanza.

The tenuous psychological connections that critics have pointed to as transitions between these two stanzas are inventions, not discoveries. They are fabrications compelled by a desire for order.

The fact is that the second stanza "follows" the first only in its arrangement on the page; logically and psychologically, the second does not follow at all. It does not properly begin, and it does not end; it simply starts, and then, without a period or even a comma, in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a line, it stops.

Although the second stanza lacks the internal coherence of the first, it is unified by the fact that all these fragments are related to the Christian religion and, as will become evident, to a special relation between knowledge and unbelief. The principal tenants in this vision of the house of Israel are the Pharisees, Christ, and pulling together nineteen hundred years of history, the landlord squatting on the window sill of Europe. But these sons of David are not the only tenants of this antique house.

The rejection of Christ by his brothers in blood led to an expansion of the house of Israel. Anyone of any race whatsoever who would accept Christ in faith was adopted into what the Bible calls the new Israel, the Christian Church.

The house of Israel, like the house of Gerontion, is decayed, dry, wind-sieged. He that takes the sea "and rolls it about the swaddled bands of darkness," to come thus into clouts, Himself.

This sermon deals with the particular theme of Christmas--the Incarnation. The mystery of the Incarnation, of course, is the mystery of God being immured in a house of flesh. The ancient image of the body as a house, central in the previous stanza of this poem, has a special meaning here. In the case of Jesus of Nazareth, the tenant of the body is a god; the house, therefore, is much more than a house--it is a temple.

The Bible frequently describes the body of Christ as a temple. The book of Hebrews, for example, contains a detailed analogy between the Jewish house of God, the tabernacle, and the incarnate Christ, "a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands" Hebrews 9: And Christ referred to his own body in just these terms in a text alluded to by both Andrewes and Eliot John The temple of the Christ, then, is superimposed upon the Jewish temple which it transformed.

The body of Christ is a house apart in "Gerontion"; it also stood in a dry and windy land, but instead of decaying in the general aridity, it was arrested in full strength and destroyed. The ruin in all of the houses in in the poem is related to the destruction of this temple.

The mind of the Pharisees is this new house, and it is in certain ways analogous to the mind of Gerontion. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. Matthew This passage is crucial to understand "Gerontion," for it identifies the curse that has brought all these houses Greek, Jewish, Christian to ruin; this curse is a mentality that isolates intelligence from passion and from belief.

Separated from its context, the above passage seems to say that Christ refused to give the Pharisees a sign, demanding that they accept him by faith alone. In context, the passage says almost the opposite.

In the incident quoted above, Christ gave two signs of his divinity. First, he restored a paralyzed hand, and then he cast out a demon which was making its victim blind. The Pharisees witnessing these signs responded with their usual request, "We would see a sign!

They would soon see the supreme sign, but their unbelief, inseparable from their learning, would prevent them from recognizing it. This rejection by the Pharisees, quoted by Andrewes and by Eliot, was a turning point in the life of Christ and in history, because it led to an expansion of the house of Jacob. In his immediate response to these Pharisees, Christ oversteps the racial definition of Israel by asking "Who is my mother?

And who are my brethren? In the specific part of the sermon to which Eliot alludes in his poem, Andrewes repeatedly declares that the Incarnation is a "wonder too," a "wonder sure. Seduced by paradox, they were enthralled by the wonder of omnipotence dependent upon a young woman for diaper changes, of omnipresence locked up in infant flesh.

By transforming the Incarnation into an abstraction, by treating it as an occasion for rhetorical play, the Church had also taken the sign for a wonder. The Church, furthermore, is occupied by desiccated and dying tenants housing dull and shriveled thoughts; the churchyard is parched and, literally as well as figuratively, packed with dry bones, dry stones, dry excreta.

The third stanza, which describes a corrupt eucharist ceremony, elaborates and complicates the houses already introduced in the poem. Attention is focused on the house of the twentieth-century Church as contemporary participants in the Mass are superimposed upon the Pharisees and upon the seventeenth-century Church as accomplices in the ongoing rejection of Christ.

The motif of the body as a house is extended in this stanza. In the Church Age, i. Silvero, Hakagawa, Madame de Tornquist, and Fraulein von Kulp, then, are decayed temples, windswept, wind-sieged, wind-abandoned, wind-destroyed. Eliot and the Dialectic of Modernism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press,

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Gerontion by T.S. Eliot

Jewel Spears Brooker: On "Gerontion" The psychological coherence of the first verse paragraph, instrumental in clarifying both the main structural principle of superimposed contexts and the main image of the house within the house, is abandoned as Eliot moves to his second stanza. The tenuous psychological connections that critics have pointed to as transitions between these two stanzas are inventions, not discoveries. They are fabrications compelled by a desire for order. The fact is that the second stanza "follows" the first only in its arrangement on the page; logically and psychologically, the second does not follow at all. It does not properly begin, and it does not end; it simply starts, and then, without a period or even a comma, in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a line, it stops. Although the second stanza lacks the internal coherence of the first, it is unified by the fact that all these fragments are related to the Christian religion and, as will become evident, to a special relation between knowledge and unbelief. The principal tenants in this vision of the house of Israel are the Pharisees, Christ, and pulling together nineteen hundred years of history, the landlord squatting on the window sill of Europe.

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T. S. Eliot - Gerontion Poem

Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both. I was neither at the hot gates Nor fought in the warm rain Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass, Bitten by flies, fought. My house is a decayed house, And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner, Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp, Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London. The goat coughs at night in the field overhead; Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds. The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea, Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter. I an old man, A dull head among windy spaces.

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