• Christoph Imscher deposited “Listening to Eliot’s Thrush” in the group Group logo of American LiteratureAmerican Literature on Humanities Commons 1 year, 12 months ago

    The essay takes a fresh look at Eliot’s ‘water-dripping song’ in The Waste Land. It seems impossible for the ornithologically minded Eliot not to have known that the hermit thrush’s song does not sound like dripping water. In fact, nowhere in ornithological writing — and certainly not in his source, Chapman’s Handbook of North American Birds — is it described in these terms. Emphasizing the humorous potential of Eliot’s display of ‘bogus scholarship,’ the essay argues that Eliot’s ludic bird masks not only the darker presence of its poetic predecessor in Whitman’s ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d’ but also the poet’s own longing for the fluid pleasures of his lost North American childhood.