The Waste Land

Dante's Influences on T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot is considered one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and his poetry was greatly influenced by Dante Alighieri. Eliot's introduction to Dante was in his college years at Harvard, where he studied philosophy. Eliot read Dante's works extensively in college and may have meant to "apprentice" himself to learn everything he could from the master (Sloane).

Dante's influences on Eliot include appearances by way of direct quotations, similar images, and thematic elements. The direct quotations are simple to find because they are written in Italian, but there are also lines from Dante's works that have been translated and slightly adapted to fit into Eliot's poetry. Dante's images are also prevalent among Eliot's works. Eliot's view of the world as a cold and desolate place was greatly influenced by Dante and his visions of Hell. Similar themes are also apparent; Eliot often uses themes such as isolation from Dante's works to express his own inner feelings. At least one of these three elements can be seen in most of Eliot's works, so it is obvious that Dante influenced Eliot.

The influences from Dante in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" include...

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