In the work of each poet or musician, several stages of his creativity are distinguished. The most interesting is the transition to professional creativity. The first professional works may differ considerably from his previous activities, but may be his first significant step.
The work “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is known as “Prufrock”, being created from February 1910 to August 1911. However, it was not until 1915 that the work was published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. The publication in the July issue of the magazine was facilitated by Ezra Pound, who served as the poet’s editor.
According to Pound, the work was a new and unique phenomenon in modern literature. The author was presented as a creator who had self-taught and changed himself, which led to “The Love Song.” Whereas many of his contemporaries lack the simultaneity of these processes.
It is worth mentioning here that the publication of “The Love Song” was considered an outlandish work for his time. However, our contemporaries refer it already to the precursors of paradigmaticism, which in turn may be of interest to study.
In the same year, 1915, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was included in the Catholic Anthology 1914-1915. From this point on, the public’s familiarity with the author’s work began.
It should be noted that “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is filled with numerous symbolic references to various works. And many of them we can now understand only after a significant deepening into the era. Only significant references to biblical works, as well as to the most famous works of his contemporaries, allow us to grasp, even if not completely, all the multifaceted meanings laid down by the author.
The first lines of the poem create a complicated world that is centered in suffering. The author makes direct and unambiguous associations with Dante’s Inferno. The epigraph of the poem is subordinated to reflections on the nature of human existence and the death that follows. Let us stipulate that “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a dramatic work. In its own words, J. Alfred Prufrock expresses his fear of his existence and possible death. Using various images and thoughts, often disjointed and fragmented, J. Alfred Prufrock moves through his psyche. In the process, he reflects on his own shortcomings and his inability to communicate with others. The process of traveling is carried out in a fictional city that represents a symbol of his life journey.
The general tone of the protagonist is characterized by indecision, as the city-“life journey” looks half-deserted, and some streets are called tedious. Using imagery, the author shows us an aging Prufrock who is deteriorating, getting weaker and sad because of this. His life is already measured in coffee spoons.
A significant part of the work is occupied, according to some critics, the hero’s desire to tell about his feelings to the woman he is in love with. Others, however, point out that one can see here the disappointment in society, the desire to express it, but also the fear of rejection.
Prufrock indulges in reflections on the missed opportunities in his life. In general, the narrative of the protagonist is fragmented, which is a reflection of his alienation.
It can be noted that in what this character is similar to Raskolnikov, who says “I have the right or I am a trembling creature”. Prufrock asks himself whether he needs to disturb the universe by taking his fate into his own hands.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is an original piece of writing that shows the indecisive man’s metamorphosis and his tossing. By using his image, the author ironically expresses his attitude towards him but also shows the tragedy of his existence. Unrequited love and his own powerlessness can be found in many works by a wide variety of writers from many different times.
The complexity of this work is unusual to fully comprehend, yet as a work that appeared on the cusp of time, it will be of interest to readers. We may not understand much, but, even omitting the various references, we will get to what the author wanted to say. The helplessness and frustration of a man of that time will be useful for familiarization.