The Post-T.S. Eliot Decline

After T.S. Eliot carried poetry and criticism to unbelievable popularity, literary culture itself seems to be slowly but decisively shutting down, says Joseph Epstein.

"No one writing in the English language is likely to establish a reigning authority over poetry and criticism and literature in general as T.S. Eliot did between the early 1930s and his death in 1965 at the age of 77. Understatedly spectacular is the way Eliot’s career strikes one today, at time when, it is fair to say, poetry, even to bookish people, is of negligible interest and literary criticism chiefly a means to pursue academic tenure. Literary culture itself, if the sad truth be known, seems to be slowly but decisively shutting down. The fame Eliot achieved in his lifetime is unfathomable for a poet, or indeed any American or English writer, in our day."

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(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
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Scott Barbour/Getty Images
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