The University of Toronto at Scarborough

ENGB02Y: English Literature: Historical Survey (Spring Term)

Instructor: Melba Cuddy-Keane

T.S. Eliot's "Prufrock"

Think about this poem in light of the characteristics of modernism; also think about Prufrock as the "would-be" artist, the "would-be" lover.

Praed in Mrs. Warren's Profession and Oscar Wilde are versions of the fin-de-siècle aesthete; how does Prufrock fall into this tradition--but yet show too its decline and deterioration?

And what has happened to the figure of the male hero--the romantic lover (Porphyro) or the intrepid quester (Ulysses)? How does Prufrock compare even with such uncertain and conflicted questers as the Ancient Mariner and Childe Roland? Looking back to Wordsworth's "Michael," what would you say has happened to the male myth over the span of one hundred years?

How does Eliot represent the process of Prufrock's thinking? How does his thinking differ from a rational, logical, expository style?

Is Prufrock haunted by the past? Is the poem haunted by the past?

A dramatic monologue has not only a speaker but also a listener. Is this poem a soliloquy or a dramatic monologue?

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