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Friday, November 1, 2013

T.S. Eliot's "The Naming of Cats"

"The naming of cats is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games
You must think I am mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES"

The poem goes on, telling the reader of humorous rules that an owner of a cat should follow when naming their fuzzy feline. T.S. Eliot says that they should give their cat three different names.
The first one, a normal name the family refers him to like Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James.

The second name will be a more fancy one, like Plato, Admetus, Electra or Demeter. When I read this part of the poem, I thought of Greek or Roman god names because of Demeter.

But the final name states the importance, the personality of the cat. T.S. Eliot gave examples like he had for the other rules. Such as Munkastrap, Quaxo or Coricopot. He also described the thought of the cat when he "meditates" and thinks of his name.

As an owner of two cats, I think I will give my cats more than one name. I give nicknames, but not quite names that T.S. Eliot does. If you'd like to read the entire poem yourselves, them you can click this link and check it out. Here is an audio file of T.S. Eliot reading a portion of the poem.

T.S. Eliot released his poems with illustrations by the sketchy art of Edward Gorey, who published his own books and drawings like the Gashleycrumb Tinies.



Thomas Sterns Eliot was born in  St. Louis, Missouri in 1888. He settled in England and for a time was a schoolmaster, a band clerk and a literary editor. T.S. Eliot later became the most daring poet and was famous for being that. He published Prufrock and the Four Quartets, and had done some theatre such as the Murder in the Cathedral and the Family Reunion. Eliot unfortunately died in 1965, but his poetry and dramas did not go with him.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post, Natasha. I especially like the extra information you gave about Eliot's life.

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