Love and indifference.
I love this book, first published in 1936, because it is one of the last things my grandad gave to me before he died.
My understanding of the desire to write poetry is that it stems from a desire to communicate. Eliot seems so uninterested in whether this writing communicates with anyone outside a very small group of people, that it seems to be begging to be called something other than poetry.
Aside from being rooted in a deeply upper-middle class English outlook – diminishing talk of “the servants“, “the people who cared for them” or simply the “them” he sees out of his window going to work – this book requires of the reader a working knowledge of French, Latin, Greek, and The Classics, all of which are admirable things in themselves but they are luxury – an obstacle – when required in order to read a book of poetry:
“They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens…“
“I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids”
In summary: a semi-tumescent old man, dry-wanking himself in an attic room while flinging Latin phrases out of the dusty windows at passers-by, in the street below.