Quotation by Jeffrey Hart

Different as the two poets are in many ways, and though Frost conducted a kind of private war with Eliot, it is possible to discern interesting resemblances beneath the obvious contrasts. In both men the central theme is metaphysical desolation. Both poets are profoundly at odds with the current of secular optimism flowing from the Enlightenment through the nineteenth century. Frost's New England landscape, spare, hard, and usually unyield ing, inhabited by its declining Yankee stock, can be taken as an extended metaphor expressive of that desolation. In Frost's poetry the central persona or dramatic voice speaking the poems finds ways to live with that desolation. In Eliot's poetry the central persona lives through and finally beyond the desolation.
Jeffrey Hart (b. 1930), U.S. educator, editor. "Frost and Eliot," Acts of Recovery: Essays on Culture and Politics, University Press of New England (1989).
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