A Comparative Study and Robert Lowell's Land of Unlikeness T.S. Eliot's " The Waste Land" The Quest for Salvation


Abstract: This paper tackles a comparison between T.S.Eliot' " The Waste Land" and Robert Lowell's Land of Unlikeness. The choice made in this paper of a comparison between T.S. Eliot(1888-1965) and Robert Lowell(1917-1978) is based on the fact that though some critics paired the poets' names, there has been little scholarly interest in comparing Lowell's and Eliot's poetry. Norma Procopiow identified a particular area of comparative study between the two poets which has been virtually untouched by critics: " no one has examined such corollaries as Eliot's " The Waste Land" 1922, and Lowell's Land of Unlikeness 1944,". The choice is also based on the premise that both poets underwent the same experiences: and both were thus motivated by the same causes to transcend these experiences: namely, the sense of disorientation as a result of their puritanical background and the world wars. The paper thus attempts to define the motivating causes that led Eliot and Lowell to undertake their quest for salvation. From this is generated what is considered in this study to be the incompatibility yet, through the historical process, inevitability of the attempt to wed the spiritual with the material, i.e., the poet's attempt to move from disorientation to salvation, from doubt to certainty. The paper also attempts to show how Eliot and Lowell began from the same point of departure but took divergent lines. It may be said that the cardinal difference between Eliot's and Lowell's poetry lies in that Eliot's poems manifest themselves into a philosophy of existence which crystallizes his gradual movement to Anglo-Catholicism through a mystical experience which leads to a sense of eternity. By contrast, Lowell's poetry reflects the philosophical struggle in him between doubt and certainty in relation to a religious Absolute; and so his poems manifest the state of neurosis from which he suffered.