Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


There is a crucial gap in Eliot studies: although he contributed considerably to Shakespearean criticism, Eliot's ideas on the place of Shakespeare in the tradition of English literature and his uniqueness, have been neglected. Among other reasons, the scattered nature of much of Eliot's commentary on Shakespeare is responsible for this gap. Eliot wrote about Shakespeare throughout his career, in various contexts, usefully and illuminatingly. This study presents, in the first chapter, those parts of Eliot's literary criticism which concern Shakespeare. Special substantial appendices provide valuable information in this respect which has been brought together for the first time, and is expected to facilitate further study of Eliot's commentary on Shakespeare.;Two important perspectives on Eliot's criticism arise from this examination. It is known that Eliot's critical method used comparison as its chief procedure. A considerable proportion of Eliot's comparative criticism is based on his assessment of Shakespeare, and on his use of Shakespeare as a standard of judgment. This use reveals interesting aspects of Shakespeare's work, of the work of other authors, and simultaneously those of Eliot's own work. The backbone of Eliot's evaluation of Shakespeare is his perception of the "long and continuous" and "miraculous" development of Shakespeare's art. A chapter is devoted, therefore, to an examination of many of Eliot's comparative judgments on literary figures and works, while another chapter presents Eliot's impressions of Shakespeare's development.;Much of Eliot's valuable but obscure criticism has been brought together for this study. Most importantly, however, this study presents some virtually new evidence: some lectures, which remain unpublished, that Eliot gave concerning Shakespeare's development in realistic, natural and colloquial dramatic verse. In the process, the following things are revealed: the crucial role of Shakespeare in Eliot's critical writing, the consistency of Eliot's approach to literature, and possibilities of further study both of Shakespeare and of Eliot's contribution to the critical tradition.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.