Original Research

Daring to disturb the universe: Heidegger’s authenticity and The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock

D. Griffiths
Literator | Vol 30, No 2 | a81 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v30i2.81 | © 2009 D. Griffiths | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 July 2009 | Published: 16 July 2009

About the author(s)

D. Griffiths, Department of Philosophy, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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In Heidegger’s “Being and time” certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of “Dasein”. This article demonstrates the interesting way in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s “The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the “they”, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in “Being and time”.


Authenticity; Das Man; T S Eliot; Martin Heidegger; Prufrock


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