Philosophical Details

THE IMAGE AND THE OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE

One of the most influential aspects of Eliot's, Hulme's and Pound's poetry was their reinterpretation of the symbolists' use of the poetic symbol to form new building blocks for modernist poetry. Hulme and Pound referred to their versions of the symbol as the 'image' or 'Image', and in 1912 Pound founded 'imagism', a movement Eliot later called 'the starting-point of modern poetry' (1978: 58). Although Eliot was not in London during the development of imagism, his education in the United States and France introduced him to some of the philosophical ideas that informed it. So it is not entirely surprising that his own version of the symbolists' symbol, which he named 'the objective correlative', has much in common with the Hulmean and Poundian Image. This chapter examines the philosophical ideas behind the Image and the objective correlative, focussing in particular on the influence of the philosophers Henri Bergson and F.H. Bradley.

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