Raine's sterile thunder

For a good many decades, thick fumes of incense have been wafting from the English literary establishment in the general direction of TS Eliot. The latest offering by the acolytes to the high priest is this study by Craig Raine, which admits that some of Eliot’s drama isn’t up to much but otherwise won’t hear a cross word about the great man. —Terry Eagleton reviews Craig Raine’s TS EliotRaine’s sterile thunder (Prospect)

Eliot himself wrote, “It is not in his personal emotions, the emotions provoked by particular events in his life, that the poet is in any way remarkable or interesting.” In truth, some poets are extremely interesting because of the events in their lives, and others are good poets despite them.