T. S. Eliot, Anthropologist and Primitive



T. S. Eliot (1888–1965), a poet of genius, closely followed developments in the social sciences. From the viewpoint of early modern anthropology, important features of his poems resemble the qualities of the “primitive mentality” conjectured by Lévy-Bruhl, whose work (along with Tylor's, Frazer's, Wundt's, Durkheim's, and Rivers‘) Eliot carefully and critically studied. To recover fundamental cultural unities, Eliot became, in effect, a philosophical anthropologist and, in poetry, a quasi-primitive as well. [anthropology and literature, history of anthropology, T. S. Eliot, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl]