How could you use Woolf’s writing about women writers and Du Bois’s writing about African American writers to respond to Eliot’s idea of objectivity in art?

Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent” :

Virginia Woolf’s “Shakespeare’s Sister” & “Androgynous Vision” from A Room of One’s Own:

W. E. B. DuBois’s “Double Consciousness” from The Souls of Black Folk & “Criteria of Negro Art”:

A Modern Written Response: Eliot, Woolf, & Du Bois
Write a response to T. S. Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” Virginia Woolf’s excerpts from A Room of One’s Own, and W. E. B. DuBois’s “Double Consciousness” & “Criteria of Negro Art.”

In a written response of 2-3 paragraphs, put these three writer’s works into conversation with each other.


We can use Eliot’s two main topics in “Tradition and the Individual Talent” to respond, tradition and art:
Think about Eliot’s depiction of literature, tradition, and the impersonality of art. How might Woolf’s and Du Bois’s writings critical connect to, align with or challenge, Eliot’s theoretical conceptions?

Look at Eliot’s use of literary tradition. Eliot’s claims that past literary works form an ideal order but that order is altered by new works that modify the tradition. How can you use Woolf’s and Du Bois’s writings in response to this idea about tradition?

How do Woolf’s and Du Bois’s theories link to Eliot’s understanding of literature, tradition, and “the mind of Europe”? Consider if Woolf and Du Bois offer modifications that could work into Eliot’s tradition or do they offer something more, an outright challenge to Eliot’s conception of tradition?

Look at Eliot’s conception of the artist and art. Eliot believes in the impersonality and objectivity of art. How could you use Woolf’s and Du Bois’s writing to respond to this idea of art?

In Eliot’s theory, the artist sacrifices the self for awareness of the past and becomes a medium of expression. Famously, for Eliot, “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.” How could you use Woolf’s writing about women writers and Du Bois’s writing about African American writers to respond to Eliot’s idea of objectivity in art?


In your written response connect the theories of our three writers. Write 2-3 paragraphs critically comparing and contrasting their ideas and theories.
In your writing, use the writer’s words and quotations from the readings.

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