Should we really be using the "hundred-year rule" to guide our determination of which books are Great? 

I was recently talking with a new friend of mine about art and tradition and the role of the poet—like I do—and he recommended to me an essay that had influenced his understanding of all of those things, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1921) by TS Eliot.

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Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) remains a timeless voice of wisdom in the midst of the self-destruction of post-Great War modernity. Fusing the disciplined anti-romanticism of his teacher Irving Babbitt with the provocative Imagist power of his mentor and friend Ezra Pound, Eliot forged a poetic oeuvre that reflected the complexities of the modern age with jarring allusiveness and keen irony, gifts which continue to haunt us in the crackling eeriness of his own sound recording of The Waste Land and in Colonel Kurtz’ recitation of “The Hollow Men” in Apocalypse Now

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