The Refining Fire
The Refining Fire
Herakles and Other Heroes in T.S. Eliot's Works

This book is a study of the patterns of meaning by which T.S. Eliot attempted to create culturally significant characters (Greek heroes and modern saints) who find some transcendent meaning that liberates the isolated self and refuses to accept chaos as the answer to the modernists' loss of faith. Eliot's poetry is deeply influenced by the Greek concept of arete - those human excellences of character and body (physical courage, endurance, and energy) related to the aristocratic agathoi of ancient Greece, especially in the Herakles myth - that continues to be a powerful influence on postmodern culture.

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excerpt The poet’s main purpose is apparently to find the solution to the problem of living. What constitutes the identity in time of a human being or civilization? Has life any aim or purpose in time or outside it? Can past omissions and failures be atoned for and obliterated? All these questions add up to one: “Is time redeemable?” on 5/25/2019, 1:47:58 PM