‘What is the wind doing?’: Winds and Their Functions in Eliot’s Poetry

  • Marianne Thormählen


Discussions of symbolic imagery in the work of T. S. Eliot have usually concentrated on one, or a few, of a small group of concepts and phenomena: for example, fire, the wheel or the garden setting. Following a certain image, or motif, or ‘basic scene’ (Kristian Smidt’s term) from one poem to another, noting similarities and differences and charting a line of development in the process, is the normal approach of the symbol student working his/her way through Eliot’s texts. It has often been done, and will surely be done again, by critics intrigued by that limited number of recurring-but-not-repeated symbolic components. They have all had, and will have, something new to tell their fellow Eliot students about those notions and objects we thought so familiar, forcing us to open our minds to matters we had not contemplated before and reminding us that, more than half a century after Eliot’s poetry became an acceptable academic subject, the richness of its texture remains unexhausted.


Cold Wind Symbolic Image Symbolic Component Unmoved Mover Wind Image 
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  1. 4.
    See Elizabeth Drew, T. S. Eliot: The Design of His Poetry (New York: 1949) 53, and David Ward, T. S. Eliot Between Two Worlds: A Reading of T. S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays (London and Boston: 1973) 62.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    See Rudolf Germer, ‘T. S. Eliots Anfänge als Lyriker (1909–1915)’, Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien, Beiheft 17 (Heidelberg: 1966 ) 125.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

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  • Marianne Thormählen

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