Eliot Prufrock

‘The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ #

T.S. Eliot - Biography

Eliot’s poetry, written in the early 20^(th) C. reflects a sombre, bleak, tired, world-weary view of the urban world of an effete, decadent, exhausted society. Eliot is profoundly influenced by the realistic novels of Dostoevsky; Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov and French and German Novels and Poetry.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri to a respectable and distinguished family, when he arrived at Harvard at the age of 18, Eliot viewed Boston and modern cities like Paris and London with a critical disdain for their grimy industrial impersonality. *You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. *

He became influenced by the French Poet Baudelaire, who attempted to find beauty in the ordinary, but found the rise of urbanisism unnatural, grubby and alienating. Ayn Rand wrote about the NY skyline as “the will of man made visible”.

From 1910 – 11, Eliot studied French Literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne, Paris before returning to Harvard in 1912 and going to Munich in 1914. Eliot dedicated Prufrock and Other Observations to the memory of his Parisian boarding-house companion Jean Verdenal, who died serving as a medical officer during the First World War in Gallipoli.

The threat of war brought Eliot to England in October where he taught in a Grammar school for two years before joining Lloyd’s Bank until 1925. His early poetry was written in Boston and Paris and published in 1915. He lived in England until his death in 1965. Eliot commented that teaching was twice as hard as working longer hours in a bank.

Eliot’s letters, released in January, 2020, reveal a conflicted, socially insecure, buttoned-up private life, surrounded by highly mannered, but gossipy snobby hostesses.

He was unlucky in love. His first unrequited love was meeting Emily Hale at a Harvard Tea Party in 1912. He writes: “I was very immature for my age, timid, inexperienced with gnawing doubt. A proposal appears to have been rebuffed.

Eliot left America for Germany and then London where he suddenly married Vivienne Haigh-Wood. They shared an apartment with Bertrand Russell, who was renown as a confident ladies man. (it’s possible he and Vivienne enjoyed a brief fling). One account suggests Eliot came home one night to find them in bed together. Shortly later Vivienne is confined to a mental hospital and Eliot too, has a breakdown, spending 6 months in hospital in Lucerne Switzerland where he completes The Waste Land. * When he returns to London, he continues to care for Vivienne, despite their mutual misery. She spends most of her time in mental hospitals until her death in 1947.

Meanwhile, during a year teaching in Harvard in 1934, he and Emily Hale re-ignite their love for each other and write passion letters for the next 13 years. He destroyed her letters, while she donated his to Princeton University, not to be opened for fifty years after the death of both. Eliot responded with an illuminating three page covering letter, justifying his decisions, revealing a pettiness, unworthy of a great poet. With the death of his wife, he decides not to continue the relationship with Emily because she would have killed the poet in him. His explains his surprising marriage to Vivienne: “All I wanted of Vivienne was flirtation or a mild affair. I was too shy and inexperienced. I was a divided man, as I had been from 1911 - 1915.

In 1957, Eliot married his secretary, Valerie Fisher, and lived happily ever after; or at least, until his death in 1965. She wrote of him: : “There was a little boy in him that had never been released. Cats may have released it”.

Most early poetry reflects a world at the beginning of the 20^(th) C with a sense of disillusionment as a result of a collapse of public and private values due to the decline of values and the later butchery and aftermath of WWI. Both Boston and Paris had degenerated from their former glory wearied and stifled by propriety and cultural decadence. New times marked a dislocation from rural life to the unreal muttering of the city; a fragmented impersonal world. City life was sterile, wearied, exhausted, enervated, effete, sapless, stuffy, over cultured, pretentious, buried, smothered ….. they had lost their heroic sense of revolution and dynamism. Entropy refers to cosmic decline.

The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Inscription from: Dante’s Inferno XXXVII 61 – 66 – loosely translated from the words of Guido De Montrefeltro“If I thought my answer were to someone who might ever go back to the world, this flame would shake no more, but since, if I did hear truth, none did ever return alive from this depth, I answer you without fear of infamy”.

Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . . 10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 40
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!"]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? 60
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . . 120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Listen: Jeremy Irons - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_F51DUMDOM&list=RDlEok6la74XA&index=2

Like Dante for *Beatrice Portinari, * and Petrarch for Laura, Prufrock’s love is unattainable.

By 1911, Eliot had written one of his iconic poems, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” He was only 23, yet he managed to tap into the consciousness of a middle-aged man, whose low self-esteem ultimately inhibits him from singing the love song he had hoped might win the heart of a woman he hopes to seduce, if not marry. The poem was not officially published until 1917. It was largely lampooned for the next ten+ years.

Context in T.S. Eliot #

The Edwardian period 1901 – 1910, was a “Gilded Age,” both in England and America. Social relationships were strictly defined, and interactions among and between the classes were governed by a series of complex and rigid rules—what we would call “manners”. The etiquette of the Edwardian era was second nature to the people who lived during this period, but to us it’s the fascinating behavior of a unique cultural moment, best portrayed in Downton Abbey.

Crumbling of our society

Eliot bemoaned the transition from agrarian occupations with its harmony with nature to increased rootlessness of the modern metropolis due to industrialisation. He was born in the Midwest, like Scott Fitzgerald, and found the city impersonal, sordid, polluted, dull, dirty, stagnant, full of urban squalor. Eliot claimed to have read The Great Gatsby three times.

T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock” (l909 – 11, but published in 1917) may be said to have inaugurated modern poetry, G.M. Hopkins (d. 1889) electrified many of the younger writers, Wilfred Owen “Poems” (l920) (Killed Dec 1918) uses more prosaic effects, D.H. Lawrence (1885—1930) loathed scientific intellect and all his Works sought saturation in the reality of animal energy and sex. Thomas Hardy was prosaic while Yeats converted or modernised the romantic, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Aldous Huxley and the Sitwells also introduced new paradigms.

Gertrude Stein considered Eliot one of the Sitwell’s “Lost Generation”, including Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound, who left for Europe to be recognised and published.

Three works, prose and verse — make the year 1922, a landmark in modern literature: Ulysses, The Wasteland, The Second Coming, though not all received with general understanding and acclamation.

Hostility to the romantic tradition was a conspicuous strain in the new movement. Romantics were displaced and replaced by Donne and his school of the metaphysicals.

Poetic Technique in Prufrock #

Much of it is open to multiple plausible interpretations. Like Donne, Shakespeare, Browning… it is a dramatic monologue addressed to a “You”. This could include us the reader, a silent companion, his alter ego, or the ying yang of our existence. Yeats claimed that we write poetry to argue with ourselves; here it could be one half of Prufrock…is heroic; the other is timid and self-deflating. Prufrock could be talking to his “timid” self, the realist versus the romantic. Eliot admits he was a divided man at times in his life. The “you”, creates an inclusive, intimate sharing of his stream of conscious secret fears, insecurities and aspirations in an enclosed fugue atmosphere, surrounded by smoke and fog.

This is an extensively allusive poem, a pastiche appropriated from Classical Literature: Dante, Hamlet, Donne, Marvell, Dostoevsky and from French poetry.

Succinct allusion(s), marginally relevant but of sound aesthetic provenance, lightly inserted but suggesting vast allusive reserves, certainly enhances the texture of Eliot’s prose, presents rich layers and layers of meaning and contributes in useful ways to sustaining a learned and authoritative tone. As a professed Classist, Eliot digs up the past.

V.H. Blain, in ‘Dizzy and Dangerous Leaps’, Expressive Form in Eliot’s Early Poetry, quotes Virginia Woolf “As I sun myself upon the intense and ravishing beauty of one of his lines, and reflect that I must make a dizzy and dangerous leap to the next, and so on from line to line, like an acrobat flying precariously form bar to bar, I cry out for for the old decorums….”.

Blain finds the following connections rather dizzying: a balding bachelor and an undersea crustacean, daring to eat a peach and squeezing the universe into a ball, serving tea and cakes and ices with a decapitation, between Hamlet and mermaids singing.

Allusions are made to Dante’s Inferno – Hell, Lazarus, returning from the dead, John the Baptist, beheaded at the request of Salome, for rejecting the advances of her step-mother, Hamlet’s tortured dilemmas and delayed action, Polonius’s slavish verbosity, Chaucer’s Clerk – “Full ofhigh sentence”, Hesiod’s Works and Days, Donne’s *“Teach me to hear the mermaids sing”, ** Marvell’s Coy Mistress - ´ To have squeezed the universe into a ball”.

Like Dante and Petrarch, Prufrock finds the object of his love, unattainable.

Most people have rejected Eliot’s puerile criticism of Hamlet “*that here Shakespeare had tackled a problem which proved too much for him” Eliot disapproved of Shakespeare for not taking a maturely dim view of human nature. Obviously, he was not too familiar with King Lear’sGloucester who claims: “We have seen the best of our time:/ machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all/ ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves”

In Eliot’s early poetry, the night is portrayed as catalytic agent of freedom, in which characters can fantasise, as is specifically done in ‘The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ as a man takes an escapist, stream-of-conscious journey of the mind, as he walks through a seedy neighbourhood at dusk destined for a soiree hosted by a group of mannered leisured elderly women. The poem begins with a number of concrete images; sky like a man etherised on a table, sawdust restaurants with oyster shells, a fog that envelops the house and them smothering their outlook or reflecting his mind. A sea of doubt is man’s natural element, and hints and guesses at the truth are not designed to end it but to save it from despair.

Etherised suggests an unnatural sleep introducing a lethargic drowsy tone through time and space of seedy, tedious streets to a high class soiree in a stuffy drawing room in a more respectable part of the city of older leisured people without much purpose in life. It can also refer to our numbness or lack of feeling or even a sense of helplessness.

The sawdust restaurants seem seedy with the cheap one-night hotels suggesting brothels. Oyster shells imply aphrodisiacs, but they are empty. Crabs are one of the lowest forms of life, yet like Prufrock, are protected by a defensive shell.

The recurring question too, is elusive; personal, social or metaphysical? Is it a mere pedestrian proposition? A proposal? Is it the $64 M question of providence – What is man? Why are we here?

What is the meaning of our existence? How long will we live? ….

There is plenty of evidence of the more serious question about the fecklessness of their leisured, mannered life style, comprised of pretentious soirees or high teas filled with sophisticated but inane chatter. His jaded questioning of their lifestyle, could see him ghosted from the enclosed circle.

Some suggest it might be an upper-class Art Appreciation group, while some have raised the possibility of it being a high-class brothel. Who knows?

These are followed by a series of rhetorical questions later – “Do I dare disturb the universe? would it have been worthwhile? So how should I presume?” … Later even more insubstantial questions like, “Will I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?”

Ellipsis marks further hopeless thoughts that he has self-edited from his song. His life will be wasted as a result of being unable to enter into a satisfying union with another or to find meaningful purpose in his life.

A process of dying takes place in all of the characters in Eliot’s poetry, spiritually, mentally and physically. Death and decay pervade Eliot’s poetry. He seems ashamed of his aging. Prufrock begins to “grow old”, showing physical decay and “we” drown him at the end, suggesting spiritual and mental decay.

Eliot de-personalises the character of people to portray the mechanical nature or semi-consciousness of individuals. Eliot usually de-humanizes characters through synecdoche – describing fragmented bodily members such as feet, hands, eyes and fingers.

The time motif is central to the poem. In contrast to Marvell, Eliot claims there is plenty of time to sort out life’s quandaries. There is a time for everything, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Sound effects in Prufrock #

Eliot struggled to create new verse rhythms based on the rhythms of contemporary speech. He sought a poetic diction that might be spoken by an educated person, being “neither pedantic nor vulgar.

A poet’s mission is to make words do more work than they normally do, to make them work on more than one level. For instance, a poet makes words work sonically – as sounds, as music”. Decoded by Jay-Z

Verbal music includes: rhyme, rhythm, assonance, melody, pitch, and slow, fast, light, heavy, alliteration, onomatopoeia, blending of words, repetition patterns, tone, voice, mood, and atmosphere. Polyphonic music consisting of many voices or sounds, each with an independent melody, but all harmonizing; contrapuntal (opposed to homophonic), can have some subliminal effect upon the listener, an almost hypnotic or haunting counterpart.

We can be caught or mesmerized by the spell woven by the lulling descriptions, the direct colloquial narrative, the lilting rhythms, regular ‘rimes’, rich tapestry of images, symbols and the searing feelings of the narrator. Incantatory repetitions and use of onomatopoeia can have a hypnotic, haunting effect on us.

Repetitive sounds such as “lingered, malingered - fog rubbed, smoke rubbed, smoke rubbing its back, eyes and I….

Themes in Eliot’s Prufrock #

Eliot portrays the meaningless, hopelessness, emptiness, and irrationality of the universe that humans inhabit. Eliot is concerned with the struggle of man’s attempt to rationalise a meaningless and empty universe. The plight of the women who casually trivialise one of the world’s greatest artists, Michelangelo by chattering about him as they “come and go”. Their lives appear purposeless. The contrast between the artist and his admirers could not be starker.

His characters feel inadequate, listless, futile and feckless. They drift through life or exist on a treadmill of insignificant trivial routine rituals of “tea and cake and ices” infused with rigid mannered protocols.

Sterility and deadness – ennui Lacking imagination, creativity, or vitality.

Fragmentation –

  1. the disintegration of social norms governing behaviour and thought and social relationships due to urbanisation.
  2. separating something into fine particles
  3. Existential Alienation from the world – relationships – self.

Communicational scepticism

Poetry demonstrates the ineffability of the human condition; language’s inability to bridge the chasm between our individual existences, revealing the inescapable fact of our aloneness. Eliot maintains, “Emotions are sometimes too complex for simple rational language and the thoughts too deep for intellectual articulation. For this reason, Poets resort to metaphor, images, rhythm, style and myth”.

Characters in Prufrock

By 1911, Eliot had written one of his iconic poems, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. He was only 23, yet he managed to tap into the consciousness of a middle-aged man, whose low self-esteem ultimately inhibits him from singing the love song he had hoped might win the heart of a woman he hopes to seduce, if not marry. Some have suggested he has appropriated his father’s persona.

He appears an affluent, cultured and well-dressed man suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem and insecurity. He feels he is unattractive to women, feeling they mock or ridicule him behind his back. His self-denigration includes consciousness of his balding, his thin arms and legs. He compares himself to an insect pinned and wriggling on a wall or the lowly crab - pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. (Synecdoche)

Prufrock is not heroic; more a dandy - a functionary or bureaucrat, based on a fusion of Chaucer’s Clerk and Polonius.

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

Polonius’ advice Laertes;

“This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man”

These allusions illustrate Shakespeare’s command of irony. Polonius is never true to anybody, especially himself; he spies on his son, Laertes, his daughter Ophelia, on Hamlet and Ophelia, on Hamlet and finally on the Queen Gertrude and Hamlet, where his attempted intrusive meddling gets him a rapier through his chest. He was consistently false to everyone.

The fact that Polonius is long winded, advised to use less art may reference Chaucer’s Clerk of Oxenford:

And short and quick, and full of high sentence.
Sounding in moral virtue was his speech,

Eliot de-personalises the character of people to portray the mechanical nature or semi-consciousness of individuals. Eliot usually de-humanizes women by describing bodily features through metonymy such as feet, hands, eyes and fingers, while inanimate objects are brought to life through pathetic fallacy.

Eliot dramatises the timeless attraction/repulsion of the opposite sexes. Prufrock is drawn to the women, yet appears to react negatively to them: “is it perfume from a dress that makes me so digress”? Many claim he could be misogynistic in his portrayal of women.

Eliot uses juxtaposition effectively to reveal character and situation.

Evening spread out against sky patient etherised upon a table

Romantic ideals and dreams harsh reality

Heroic and romantic petty, mundane, prosaic, mannered rituals

Overwhelming question social duty – make our visit - be sociable

Michelangelo (greatness) women come and go – casually (trivial) back and forth

Peacefulness of cat (feline images) enormity of the question

Bravery and candour Masks to meet the faces we meet

Visions polite conventional mundane chatter

Critics on Eliot’s Prufrock: #

Most reviews in the first decade were highly unimpressed. Review of Eliot’s Prufrock ,The Times Literary Supplement, on June 21, 1917 fortunately for the reviewer, revealing great insight - it was unsigned:

“The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr Eliot is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry.”

The twist could be that Eliot, renown for writing anonymous reviews for the Times, could have written this one as a publicity stunt.

The New Statesman thought ‘Prufrock’ was ‘unrecognisable as poetry’ but ‘decidedly amusing’, adding that ‘it is only fair to say that he does not call these pieces poems.’

Prufrock assaults the universe with unpalatable prophetic truths beneath an anxious correct façade of respectability, patiently climbing the purgatorial stair. Lyndall Gordon

Incoherence - indeterminacy - irreducible plurality of meaning -Ruth Nevo

Virginia Woolf, whose viperish tongue was more lethal than any poison of the Borgias (she found Eliot “peevish, plaintive, egotistical,” with a “sepulchral voice”). Like Donne Eliot makes outlandish connections between widely disparate objects - eating a peach/rolling the universe into a ball. We have to take daring leaps through space and time, not knowing whether we are going to land safely.

Other critics:

Some of the early reviews must have made depressing reading for a beleaguered poet. Everybody remembers that Arthur Waugh likened the work of Eliot to the Spartan custom of exhibiting a drunken slave to show young men ‘the ignominious folly’ of debauchery. (Pound replied that he would like to make an anthology of the work of drunken helots or Heliots, if he could find enough of them.)

One anonymous writer, here rescued from oblivion, divined that Eliot’s aim was ‘to pull the leg’ of the ‘sober reviewer’. From the heart of the London literary establishment Sir John Squire described The Waste Land as a poem for which ‘a grunt would serve equally well.’

Eliot’s 1925 collection, which included ‘Gerontion’, seemed to Squire ‘obscure so inconsequent . . . Why on earth he bothers to write at all is difficult to conceive; why, since he must write, he writes page after page from which no human being could derive any more meaning .. . than if they were written in Double-Dutch (which parts of them possibly are) is to me beyond conjecture.’* ‘Baudelaire without his guts,’ he concludes.

Crumbling of our society

“Poetry can communicate before it is understood”

Jerry opened his locker. He had thumbtacked a poster to the back wall of the locker on the first day of school. The poster showed a wide expanse of beach, a sweep of sky with a lone star glittering far away. A man walked on the beach, a small solitary figure in all that immensity. At the bottom of the poster, these words appeared — Do I dare disturb the universe? By Eliot, who wrote the Waste Land thing they were studying in English.

Jerry wasn’t sure of the poster’s meaning. But it had moved him mysteriously. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier (p. 96)

Among the literary figures, the most impressive was Ezra Pound, who recognised the genius behind the poetry. He encouraged the publication of Eliot’s early work and helped edit *The Waste Land. * It was Eliot’s profound influence as a critic and publisher that cemented hisreputation as one of the world’s greatest writer and poet.