Saturday, February 2, 2013

T.S. Eliot: The present and the past

T.S. Eliot says, "the difference between the present and the past is that the conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way (407)..." Out of everything Eliot said in "Tradition and the Individual Talent," this phrase stood out the most to me. Though I am not much of a poet myself, and the majority of what he discusses surrounds the nature of poetry, I felt a connection to what he said. "The conscious present is an awareness of the past." That very statement, in my opinion, can be compared to all writing around the globe. Writing in the present is reflective of the past because that is what we have to draw from. Although we may not realize it in the moment, everything we write holds some sort of memory, an event, something we read, past relationships, etc. This is why scholars say that there is truth in fiction, whether we choose to label it as such.

The present is always and will always be aware of the past, whether it be our personal past or works written by the great authors of history. It is in that awareness where tradition is born.

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