Eliot, Corridors and T.E.Hulme

A while back I wrote a paper which (among other things) suggested that T.S.Eliot’s poem “In silent corridors of death” was about the trenches of the Great War. I think I’ve now found a little more evidence towards proving the case.

Corridors is not a common word in poetry, but it is to be found in the last two lines of T.E Hulme’s poem Trenches:St Eloi:

My mind is a corridor. The minds about me are corridors.
Nothing suggests itself. There is nothing to do but keep on.

I read this poem as saying that the soldiers’ minds have narrowed to the dimensions of a trench. This fits Eliot’s poem too, I think.

He certainly knew the poem, since it was partly the work of his friend Ezra Pound, who wrote down the remarks of the wounded Hulme in hospital, and maybe made the poem a bit more imagist than it might otherwise have been. It was published in the Catholic Anthology of 1915, which also published Eliot’s work.

2 Comments

  1. tora
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I have submitted my dissertation on T.E. Hulme. Please contact. I would like to know more about him and his contemporaries. I too have interpreted ‘corridors’ as the trenches in my study.

    • Christos H
      Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      This is belated, very belated. I only just discovered the blog. I also work on T.E. Hulme, currently trying to finish my thesis. What’s your take on the ‘corridors’? I don’t talk about his poetry much, just his (dodgy) politics🙂


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