Published March 26, 2024 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Hegel's Wasteland: Situating T.S. Eliot's Representations of History in Conversation with Hegel



In this paper, I argue that T.S. Eliot’s whirlpool motif and characterization of the prophet Tiresias in his poem “The Waste Land” engage with and problematize Hegel’s teleological conception of human history. As I suggest, Tiresias, through his sexual plasticity and historical moveability, undermines both prongs of Hegel’s dialectic, Spirit and Nature, while the whirlpool motif subverts the idea that history’s temporal progression can be subordinated to a dialectical logic. Since Hegel’s teleological doctrine situates Europe at the apex of humanity’s rational development, I ultimately conclude that Eliot’s whirlpool and Tiresias reveal Europe’s post-war anxiety about its exceptionalist self-image


01 Hegel Situating T.S. Eliot’s Representations of History in Conversation with Hegel.pdf