Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership
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Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership

Edited by Peter Iver Kaufman and Kristin M.S. Bezio

Contributions to this book probe the contexts–both social and spiritual–from which select iconic figures emerge and discover how to present themselves as innovators and cultural leaders as well as draw material into forms that subsequent generations consider innovative or emblematic. The overall import of the book is to locate producers of culture such as authors, poets, singers, and artists as leaders both in their respective genres and of culture and society more broadly through the influence exerted by their works.
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Chapter 7: Cultural leadership and T.S. Eliot: from cultural icon to cultural leader—or not?

Cyrena N. Pondrom


In the seventh chapter, Cyrena N. Pondrom addresses what she calls T.S. Eliot’s attempt “to engage in right action” through the writing of poetry. Like both Shelley and Dickinson, Eliot’s writings struggle to reconcile his desire to promote new forms of culture and social responsibility with his sense of personal unworthiness, a duality which caused him to reject his own role as iconic poet in favor of the more proactive role of dramatic cultural leader.

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