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Born in Ukraine(under Russian domination) by Polish parents, he also lived in France and England joining at
first the French Merchant Navy, then the English one, sailing all over the world. He became an British
subject in 1886, then in 1894 he left the sea to retire in England and devoted himself to writing.
Features and Themes
Love for the sea and Adventures in exotic countries, not romantic but ordeals: the character grapples
with hostile external forces and inner nature.
Search of the real truth of mans existence
Symbolism(natural elements are symbols of thoughts and emotions=clouds are subconscious and
ambiguity; light is consciousness; thunderstorms are crisis and a final self-confrontation.
Use of a narrator as a speaking and reflecting medium, mentally and emotionally involved but who lives
and thinks according to a range of normal values.
Manipulation of the time sequences
A DOUBLE CHARACTER, a real man but symbol of the worst side of the main character: he is the
unconscious part of the hero, what he might become in particular circumstances.
Style: Rhetorical, with Long sentences, sometimes there are obscure passages and the language is rich in
HEART OF DARKNESS The narrator is Marlow who describes his journey along the Congo as his
spiritual journey. He wants to rescue Kurtz, an ivory trader: before leaving he was a man rich in ideals,
believing in civilization and progress. In Africa, he has been defeated by the power of wilderness and
darkness: becoming a cruel oppressor, he has enslaved the natives, he has committed crimes driven by
ambition and thirst of power. Only at the moment of his death he discovers his emptiness and his moral
degeneration. Analysis The title refers to Africa, the dark continent, and to the darkness of the human
heart.The work is a denunciation of European colonialism: Kurtz is the image of the colonist who wants to
bring civilization, instruction and improvement to primitive people. Facing and confronting with reality, his
idealism has been turned into greed for power. The work is a journey into the unconscious, in the savagery
not repressed by social and moral constriction. Kurtz is tormented by 2 contrasting feelings, diabolic
thoughts and unearthly hate. The narrator doesnt reveal his deeds, but he only refers to the monstrous
passions and to his secrets and unspeakable rites. The critics have interpreted all that in two ways: his
cannibalism or the human sacrifices given by the natives to him. Conrad is an innovator in Heart of Darkness
because he set the novel in the wilderness and isolation, far from the civilized world: he isnt interested in the
relations between man and society, but in the man himself, his interiority and contradictions which are easier
to investigate in solitary places. Then Conrad abandoned the omniscient narrator: the story is told by one of
the protagonists, Marlow, in first-person, with lots of flash-backs, without following the chronological order
of the events. Conrad also uses the oblique technique to present the main character: we dont meet him
almost until the end, but we know him from the words of other characters and then from his house. Conrads
language is complex and symbolic, full of sophisticated rhetorical devices: he thought that English words are
full of meaning and capable to give emotions, so he devoted a particular attention to language and style.
These innovations are mainly due to the task of the writer, different from before: he has to communicate with
the reader in a situation of crisis and lack of communication . The African landscape is the mirror of mans
psyche. And the wilderness is seen as a force always present through personification and figurative language,
too which gives to the reader the narrators feelings towards this force. CHAPTER 1 THE COMPANY
STATION He criticises the cruelty of English colonisers who think only to enrich themselves and make black
people in terrible conditions. This idea is evident in the passage in which Marlow reaches the Company
station when he is searching for Kurtz. Darkness has another meaning that retains deep resonancea color
of skin. Much of this chapter describes Marlow's first encounters with and observations of the natives of the
African Congo. The darkness of their skin is always mentioned. At first glance, Marlow describes them as
"mostly black and naked, moving about like ants." While in the shade, "dark things" seem to stir feebly.
There is absolutely no differentiation between dark animals and dark people. Even the rags worn by the
native people are described as tails. "Black shapes" crouch on the ground, and "creatures" walk on all fours
to get a drink from the river. They are called shadows: reflections of humans, not substantial enough to be
real. Marlow observes the piece of white string on a young man, and he is taken aback by how much the
whiteness stands out against the darkness, thinking about the string's probable European origin. He cannot
seem to conceive of mixing black and white. Conrad portrays Marlows experience of otherness to such an
extreme, and with such literary care, that it is hard to see Conrad simply expressing his own experience
through Marlow, although Conrad likely was well aware of his own and others impressions of such places
and did have a choice in how to present them. Writing through Marlows experience is a choice that leads us
to look through Marlows eyes at the darkness he sees. It is not accidental that Marlow is the only person on
the Thames boat who is named. He is a complex character while, even in England, the others are presented
not so much as individuals as with titles that name their occupations. Marlow is distinct from them as well;
he belongs to no category. He is a man "who does not represent his class" because he crosses boundaries. His
reaction to the African natives may not be sensitive by modern standards, but he is more engaged than the
other officers at the stations. The Chief Accountant dismisses the cries of a dying black man as merely
irritating. Marlow's gesture of offering a biscuit to the young boy with the white string appears to be
somewhat considerate. But it also seems condescending, which seems to be more of a character trait than a
racist tendency. Marlow can think of nothing else to do as he looks into the boy's vacant eyes. Marlow means
well, and despite his individual character he is partly a product of his society. Immediately following the
encounter with the young boy, he meets the Chief Accountant, who is perfectly attired with collar, cuffs,
jacket, and all the rest. He refers to him as "amazing" and a "miracle." We observe at this moment the
distinctions between savagery and civilization as perceived by Marlow. The diction demonstrates a type of
hero worship for this man. His starched collars and cuffs are achievements of character, and Marlow respects
him on this basis. It is far too early for readers to think we understand what Marlow is all about. Beyond
Marlows distinction of savagery and civilization, we have a window into Conrads distinction when we
consider his presentation of colonialism through Marlow and the colonists. The bitter irony here is that those
who look the most civilized are actually the most savage. Indeed, the institution of colonialism is referred to
as a "flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil." Everything it touches turns sour: the station is an administrative
nightmare, and decaying machinery lies everywhere. Marlow takes this situation, however, as indicative of a
poor work ethic, which he despises. For this reason he is drawn to the blustering accountant, who is a hard
worker if nothing else. Marlow, in his own bumbling way, does occasionally try to relate to the natives. The
sense of time throughout the chapter is highly controlled. Conrad purposely glides over certain events while
he examines others in minute detail. He does this in order to build suspicion about the place to which
Marlow has committed himself. Notice that he painstakingly describes precursor events such as the doctor's
visit and all conversations that involve the unseen character Kurtz. Thus begins Marlow's consuming
obsession with this man.


Irish son of a painter, he studied painting, he was a friend of the Pre-Raphaelite brothers, and was interested
in symbolism and use of imagery, spiritualism, occultism, magic and theosophy.
Influenced by French symbolist movement and aesthetic ideas of Mallarm, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and
Blakes mysticism. He falls in love with an actress who marries another man; so, he, who was devoted to her,
is destroyed by this marriage, and his style becomes hard, bitter. Even in his dramas and topics he talks about
politics, metaphysics and arts. He founds the Irish dramatic movement in the Abbey Theatre. His style is
precise and conversational. He marries a woman expert in automatic writing, and begins to be interested in it,
and this interest is mirrored in his works. Sometimes, his use of imagery and symbols is so unusual and
personal that these images become obscure.
A VISION (PROSE WORK): divided in 5 sections and in it he describes theories which were revealed to
him by supernatural beings through his wifes extra-sensory faculties, as he said. There are 2 versions one in
1925 and the other in 1937. He exposes here the Theory of the Great Wheel of Lunar Phases, to explain
Human personality, Human history and all the transformations of the soul. MAN is seen as determined by 4
faculties: WILL (power determination), MASK(the image of what you want to become); CREATIVE MIND
(intellect)and BODY OF FATE(physical and mental environment). If one of them prevails, the personality is
different, the moments of life are different, and the ages of civilization are different. These types are in a
circle corresponding to the orbit of the moon, with two poles: THE DARK MOON, THE PRIMARY
SECTION IN WHICH THE MOON IS CLOSEST TO THE SUN= here the sun prevails and there is the
complete objectivity, reason and outer world; AND THE FULL MOON, THE ANTHITETICAL SECTION,
there is the complete subjectivity, imagination and inner world here. The theory can be applied to world and
history. HISTORY mirrors, in its sequence of events, the life of men from childhood to youth, to old age and
to death. It can be divided in opposite cycles(influence of Vicos corsi and ricorsi).Each one lasts 200 years,
and each age is opposite to the previous one: if in the previous there is chaos, in the next there is order. Each
cycle has a circular development like a climbing spiral or a gyre, with an ascending movement reaching a
climax and then descending to destruction, which corresponds to the beginning of the following cycle. THE
EACH ONE TOUCHING THE BASE OF THE OTHER ONE. The gyre combines a rotating movement to a
forward one, and mirrors life from the beginning to the end-starting of another cycle, and it is valid for
mankind and history.
1ST PRE-RAPHAELITE, dreamy idealism, simplicity, mysticism of Blake and sentimental vision of life.
2ND REALISTIC, bitter consideration of reality
3RD PHILOSOPHY, speculation of the occult
4TH SIMPLICITY, desolation of reality seen with a detached serenity
He is considered a great writer for his mastery of style, his bitter vision of human destiny, his pessimism
on an empty modern world, his love for life, and his belief in eternity and in the beauty of Art.
From Blake he takes his use of symbol and the conviction that the outer world is only a projection, a
shadow of the ideal, subjective reality. Man cannot know the truth, he can only try to get it through
o Gyre = process of life and dissolution
o Stone= eternity and sterility
o Tree= fertility, life
o Birds=(swans)the soul of man, youth, life
o Sea= the unknown, the value of art
o Bysanthium= the world of art, eternity and artistic creation
o Rose=beauty, the union of real and ideal, spiritual love, Ireland, Rose of Rusincrucians, Mystic
rose of Dante, harmony, Maud Gonnes face(the face of the actress he loved)
The poet imagines to be in Innisfree, he remembers it, through his memory he says he would like to have
peace there. He declares he will arise and go because he misses it. The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is written
mostly in hexameter, with six stresses in each line, in a loosely iambic pattern. The last line of each four-line
stanza shortens the line to tetrameter, with only four stresses: "And live alone in the bee-loud glade."
Each of the three stanzas has the same ABAB rhyme scheme. Formally, this poem is somewhat unusual for
Yeats: he rarely worked with hexameter, and every rhyme in the poem is a full rhyme; there is no sign of the
half-rhymes Yeats often prefers in his later work. The contrast between where the poet is (London)and
where the poet wants to be(Ireland) gives a bitter pessimism and a vision of destiny. Published in Yeats'
second book of poems, 1893's The Rose, this is one of his first great poems, and one of his most enduring.
The calm, hypnotic hexameters recreate the rhythmic pulse of the tide. The simple imagery of the quiet life
the speaker longs to lead, as he enumerates each of its qualities,until the penultimate line jolts the speaker--
and the reader--back into the reality of his urban existence. The final line--"I hear it in the deep heart's
core"--is a crucial statement for Yeats, not only in this poem but also in his career as a whole. The
implication that the truths of the "deep heart's core" are essential to life is one that would worry Yeats for the
rest of his career as a poet; the struggle to remain true to the deep heart's core may be thought of as Yeats 's
primary undertaking as a poet.
WHEN YOU ARE OLD Yeats exhorts his beloved: when you are old and falling asleep by your fire, take
down this book, and dream of how you used to be as you read it. Dream of how many people loved you
when you were younger. Only one man loved you as you grew older. Like so many of the poems in this
collection, "When You Are Old" was written for Maud Gonne. It is based on Ronsard's "Quand Vous Serez
Bien Vieille," Sonnets Pour Helene (1578), which maintains the Maud Gonne/Helen of Troy parallel that
Yeats so often draws. The idea of love in age is an ancient one, meant to express the fact that love inheres not
merely in youth, but in something deeper and more lasting. Yeats capitalizes "Love," thus personifying the
concept, which is a nod to the poem's 16th century roots. Although monotheism had taken over Europe,
Greek and Roman gods were very much a part of 16th century consciousness. Yeats "Love" is a
modernization of the ancient figure, Eros. When you are old...,' by William Butler Yeats, is rich with
mythical imagery. The ambiguity of certain images is found within its transitions. For instance, as the first
line turns into the second a general meaning is transformed into something more particular; the sleep of
impending death becomes the weariness of one "nodding by the fire."

Throughout the poem these kinds of transitions of meaning continue, lending a sort of hypnotic quality to the
imagery that entrances the reader. The notion of the sleep of death packed into a certain moment wherein one
is nodding by the fire is a hook promising deeper levels of meaning. Once brought into the movement of the
poem, its content also appeals to me emotionally; the journey from youth to old age is briefly traced in a few
tightly-packed phrases, suggesting the reality of sorrow and wasted time and the regret of forsaking the
opportunity for Love. The images are stark but flowing. The first two lines suggest comfort in old age.
Death is not a violent end but something one "falls into" as easily as sleep. There is ambiguity here -- to sleep
next to a cozy fire may be an attractive proposition, yet given the age and the connotation of the sleep from
which one does not awaken in this world, she who is "nodding by the fire" may also be "dying by the fire,"
expiring as a fire is also extinguished. On the other hand, the broad notion of nearness to death and the
subversive fears and sadness it connotes is quickly brought into focus with a contrasting concrete image: an
elderly somebody nodding by a fire. She who is "old and grey and full of sleep" begins to read. The phrase
"full of sleep" both carries the broad connotation of death, and describes the sleeping that leads to dreaming.
Reading, then, these words, she begins to dream about the past and her own youth in a self-reflective way.
The second stanza is descriptive of her dream of the past. As a transition from the first stanza into the second,
she remembers her own "soft look," her eyes and "their shadows deep." From this image of her youthful gaze
we are brought back to a more general view again; she is reminded of those who loved her "moments of glad
grace" and her "beauty with love false or true." Both "grace" and "beauty" are vague and nondescript, yet
these lines work to contrast those who loved these general aspects of her with the "one man" who loved her
pilgrim soul. This seems to suggest a love willing to journey into age as a companion with her, still loving
the "sorrows" of her "changing face" as she shifts through the years. The deep shadows of her eyes, the
vague "soft look" becomes more concrete as one imagines her "changing face" and the sorrows that come
through experience. Yet, the one man who forsees in her pilgrim soul the inevitability of growing old, and is
still willing to love her, is apparently rejected by her, possibly in favor of those who temporarily love her
"grace" and "beauty." From this is implied regret, the sadness of missed opportunity in years that have
slipped away. The dream continues as she bends "down beside the glowing bars" of the fire, perhaps seeking
warmth or comfort -- suggesting the desire and need for the fiery love she once rejected. She murmurs, as
those who are alone might instead of speaking aloud, testifying to her isolation, "a little sadly." From this
concrete image the dream again expands, and we see Love, capitalized as an absolute, fleeing, effortlessly
into mountainous distances. His face hid "amid a crowd of stars," an abstract image issuing from a more
concrete description of loneliness and regret, speaks to that which is beyond her reach; it is a love that has
become perfect and absolute in itself, which makes her feeling of sad regret all the more stark. The poem
begins "When you are old...," rather than "Now that you are old...," which suggests that it is a warning, or a
judgment upon an unrequited subject of love.


Born in St Louis and studied at Harvard, at Sorbonne and Oxford University. During the 1 st world war he
worked in England as a bank clerk and a publisher. At first he was in search of a religious truth, then he
devoted to the Anglican Church, and from American citizenship he passed to the English one. He belongs to
Modernism: to justify it he said that civilization has got variety and complexity, and the poet must become
more and more comprehensive, allusive, indirect and to go far from language. Sometimes, the reader doesnt
agree, because this kind of poetry can be considered obscure, incomprehensible and for lites.






To write The Waste Land, he was influenced by Joyces Ulysses, Picassos Les demoiselles dAvignon,
Stravinskys The rite of Spring. There can be 2 levels of reading: a narrative one, in which the poem
develops in a single day, and a time level, in which there are the present and the past mixed in the mind. The
form is the monologue, or a dialogue between characters in the past and in the present combined. Its divided
in 5 sections: THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD (76 LINES), about the spring coming in a sterile land; A
GAME OF CHESS(96 LINES), about a present dominated by squalor and a past by an ambiguous
splendour; THE FIRE SERMON(139 LINES), about the present as a squalor and the figure of Tiresias, the
blind spectator and the most important figure of the poem; DEATH BY WATER(10 LINES), about Phlebas,
a drowned Phoenician sailor, and purification made by water; WHAT THE THUNDER SAID(112 LINES),
about the disintegration of Western civilization and the question of salvation.


Four sections:
1. The first concerns the childhood of an aristocratic woman, in which she recalls sledding and claims
that she is German, not Russian (this would be important if the woman is meant to be a member of
the recently defeated Austrian imperial family). The woman mixes a meditation on the seasons
with remarks on the barren state of her current existence.
April: Eliot probably is conscious of the parallels with the opening of Chaucer's Prologue to the
Canterbury Tales, and the beginning of the season of Easter and pilgrimage and, therefore, spiritual
optimism. There are also, of course, the traditional associations of April as the season of Spring and
Rebirth. Here, however, April is not a time for a "new start", but rather a savage re-initiation of the
cycle of life-from-death. And its cruel for dead people.
Lilacs: The first of many references to flowers throughout this section, and the poem as a whole.
Lilacs (and later on in the section, hyacinths) are associated with desire, romantic promise, and
rejuvenation. Note also how, in these opening lines, these is a mixture of imagery associated with
death and that associated with life, hope and despair. This, in turn, sets the terms for the poem as a
whole and its ultimately inconclusive promise of the possibility of regeneration and the fulfilment of
romantic promise.
Marie remembers"I am not Russian at all, I come from Lithuiania, pure German". This
insistence on not being Russian would make sense: following the 1917 Revolution the denial of
Russian origins would have been a means of distancing oneself from associations with International
Arch-dukes The reference here is heavily ironic. Not only does it confirm the speaker's aristrocratic
origins, but further provides a wry comment on the War: arch-duke Ferdinand of Austria was
assassinated in 1914, this being one of the immediate causes of the War. It is also, of course, yet
another reference to death, and the need to cope with bereavement amongst those who still survive.
I read This mini-section concludes with further reference to the landscape of winter and of death.
Clearly the speaker, once so assured in character and background, is now effectively an exile, unable
to sleep, and continually in transit. This becomes, for Eliot, a means of reinforcing the sterility and
rootlessness of the post War world, with its troubled psyche and uneasy dreams. Eliot's choice of
speaker is, however, extremely illuminating in terms of identifying his Conservative preferences: we
are left to lament the state of affairs which has condemned once self-assured European aristocrats to
cultural and social exile.

THE HOLLOW MEN The poem starts with two epigraphs. First one is" Mistah Kurtz-he dead" is the quote
from Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness. Kurtz signifies lost/ violent barbarian the prototypical
"hollow man." Second epigraph " A penny for the Old Guy" refers to the cry English children on Guy
Fawkes Day. Guy Fawkes who planned to blow up houses of Parliament was hanged and burned. On the day
of his execution (November 5) children make straw effigies of the guy and beg for pennies for fireworks.
Analysis of Part I: "We are the hollow men- We are the stuffed men" : We are seemingly stuffed but in the
depth of our souls we are empty. The hollow men are Eliot's modern, empty corrupted man. "Leaning
together/ Headpiece filled with straw": We are like Guy Fawkes effigy; our heads are filled with despair,
delusions but empty at the core. The hollow men are like walking corpses whose minds are empty and
detached from reality and life. They are alive but they are also experiencing death at the same time. The
situation of them is like "life in death". They are lifeless without direction and hope of salvation. They have
force but a paralyzed one so they can not get into action. "Those who have crossed with direct eyes, to
death's other kingdom": In those lines Eliot mentions the dead, who have faced the death with direct eyes'.
Direct' indicates the positive aspect of death. Eliot may refer to the idea of life in death for the hollow men.
Hollow men can not really die they are in between life and death. "Remember us not as lost violent souls but
as the hollow men": " Lost violent souls" may represent the two epigraphs- Mr. Kutz and Guy Fawkes they
hope to be remembered as hollow men. Eliot probably hints that it is better to be lost violent souls that being
"hollow" and "stuffed" man PART II: Eyes I dare not meet in dreams in death's dream kingdom": In those
lines the speaker fears facing the death the eyes of death even in his dreams. We, hollow men, can only
encounter with the eyes' symbols like "sunlight on a broken column" which gives broken light "a tree" and
"voices in the wind". All of these are perceived indirectly. To reach the direct eyes are more distant and more
solemn than the fading star which represents remoteness from reality, especially spiritual reality. In short, he
fears the meet with direct vision of death. "Let me be no nearer in death's dream kingdom": The speaker
doesn't want to come any closer to death kingdom in other words he doesn't want to be near to death. He
wants to be disguised among other hollow men. He wants to conceal himself and he wishes to "wear such
deliberate disguises/rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves" and behave as the wind behaves. He tries to disguise
himself among hollow men like a scarecrow with crossed staves. Crossed staves may be related to being
stuffed with delusions and hopelessness. Part III: In this part there is a representation the world hollow men
live in. The narrator defines his world as waste land like desert which symbolize emptiness where "there is
dead land, cactus land / Here the stone images" .Stone (lifeless) images of spiritual is meant here. It is a dead
land like its inhabitants. Here the representation of the spiritual world and worship of hollow men (its
inhabitants) are depicted. Dead worship and supplicate those stone images. "Under the twinkle of fading
star" gives a remoteness from reality, life, spirit and naturally spiritual. The narrator wonders whether being
death and this world is the same. "Death's other kingdom" is related with the world hollow men lives in other
words Eliot's view of world at his time. Narrator fears the afterworld will be empty as this world. He will be
awakening by lips praying to broken stones. The narrator fears also that whether death is lack of spiritual like
this world. As it is mentioned before, the hollow men are searching for the salvation. Since they are in life in
death, the speaker wonders whether salvation can be achieved by death. Analysis of Part IV: " The eyes are
not here/ There are no eyes here" In this part the narrator become progressively indifferent to the eyes of
dead in contrast to previous lines of the poem. The fading star in previous stanzas becomes "dying star". The
darkness increases as the shadow of the death in the hollow valley of death emerges. "Gathered on this beach
of the tumid river" is an allusion to Dante's Inferno, on the far side of the river there is Hell .They gather on
the banks of the river to get to "death's other kingdom". Eliot uses the word "sightless" because without any
eyes (eyes of death) they don't have any sight. However, "multifoliate rose", which is a symbol of paradise in
Dante's Divine Comedy, is their hope for salvation. "Sightless unless the eyes reappear as the perpatual star/
Multifoliate rose" They will have sight again when the eyes reappear as the perpetual star and then as the
multifoliate rose. Analysis of Part V: "Here we go round the prickly pear/ At five o'clock in the morning": It
is in fact a variation of a children's rhyme: "Here we go round the mulberry bush" substituting a prickly pear
cactus for the mulberry bush. These lines may suggest the frustration and reality of the hollow men. At
intervals the frustrating shadow of fear interferes in every effort to make potential become actual. "Shadow"
must be isolating the hollow men, making their movement and feeling impossible. "For Thine is the
Kingdom": This line is a part from the Bible is said to serve as a reminder that God will not accept any
excuses for sin. Another interpretation can be exhausted, fearful hollow men recite Bible to strive for
salvation. " This the way the world ends/ not with a bang but with a whimper:"">Life is very long This line
is relevant to Guy Fawkes' plan to blow up the parliament. It suggests that the end will be with whimpers of
fear of hollow men not with the bang of Guy Fawkes. The whimper may be caused from the longing for the
salvation of their souls. In those lines, the tone of the poem is sad and hopeless about life and spiritual
journey. The narrator thinks that the end will be not with a apocalyptic catastrophe as in the Bible but
through mankind who allow themselves slowly decay, degrade, exhaust and be empty at the core.