Homage To T.S. Eliot

Nineteen eighty-eight is the centennial year of T.S. Eliot's birth, and there is sure to be a flood of tributes to a writer that has changed the course of poetry and criticism and whose reactionary pronouncements on politics and religion have been an inspiration to conservatives of every description. Instead of offering to Mr. Eliot a series of analytical essays exploring his contribution, we are presenting a set of essays—some of them, indeed, on Eliot himself—he might have enjoyed. The two feature essays are the Ingersoll Prize addresses of Octavio Paz and Josef Pieper, both of whom pay tribute to the poet, critic, and philosopher whose works continue to challenge the spirit of the age. This month's perspective was delivered as an address on the occasion of the 1987 Ingersoll Prizes Banquet at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on 5 November.

A Victorian gentleman who happened upon our age by accident would be delighted, in many respects, by what he found here. All the conveniences of life on which men were wont to speculate 100 years ago, we have in superabundance—air ships, undersea boats, devices that send pictures and voices across the globe, and expeditions mounted to explore the solar system. Our proper Victorian would no doubt smile into his beard—delighted that his trust in science had been justified after all.

Indeed, science has transformed the world, but the transformation is...

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