Sunday, June 2, 2013

What is 'historical sense' according to T.S. Eliot?

The historical sense is the sense of the timeless and the temporal, as well as combination of both. This sense makes a writer traditional. One, who has the historical sense, feels the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer down to his own day. It includes the literature of one’s own country which forms one continuous literary tradition.

In this regard he says, “Tradition is not anything fixed and static. It is constantly changing and becoming different from what it is.” The function of tradition is, the work of a poet in the present is to be compared and contrasted with work of the past and judged by the standard of the past. Because the past helps us to understand the present and the present throws light on past. Thus we can shift tradition from the individual elements in a given work of art.