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Experience and feeling in T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway

D�az, Gorka

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Gorka D�az


This thesis identifies and interrogates commonalities and divergences in the works of T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway in relation to their focus on how to make sense of the world of experience in the early twentieth century, and the complex mediations in which feeling and consciousness are involved. Chapter One considers Eliot’s and Hemingway’s common concern in their early works with the experience and representation of a fragmented self, and the extent to which this feature led them to involve their characters in a flow of sensations that liberates consciousness from the chains of rational constructs. Chapter Two examines Eliot’s and Hemingway’s later ambivalent consideration of this glorification of the sensual beyond any intellectual categorization of reality. The chapter shows how their shared mistrust of this primitive state of mind guided them to pay attention to collective modes of experience intrinsic to ritual patterns. The focus of Chapter Three is on Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926). This chapter analyzes the rituals to which they paid attention and how these shaped their distinctive consideration of a common unifying sense of feeling to revitalize society. Chapter Four investigates Eliot’s interest in religious feeling and Hemingway’s concern with moral feeling as modes of reinforcing the interrelation between the individual and society. The aim in the final chapter is to consider Eliot’s Four Quartets (1943) and Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea (1952) within the framework of the American Jeremiad to analyze the outcomes of the final quest of these two authors to attain a unity of experience that moves beyond the frontier of the contradictions of the material world.
Critics have commented on the relationship between Eliot and Hemingway in different terms. My overall argument, however, is that the similarities and differences between these two authors result from Eliot and Hemingway occupying two poles of a dissociated experience of reality, and that they attempted in comparable yet contrasting ways to transcend the disorder of experience.


Díaz, G. Experience and feeling in T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Keywords experience, feeling, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway
Public URL
Award Date May 6, 2015


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