T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Gets Adapted As a Comic Book


Poet­ry is as close as writ­ten lan­guage comes to the visu­al arts but, aside from nar­ra­tive poems, it is not a medi­um eas­i­ly adapt­ed to visu­al forms. Per­haps some of the least adapt­able, I would think, are the high mod­ernists, whose obses­sive focus on tech­nique ren­ders much of their work opaque to all but the most care­ful read­ers. The major poems of T.S. Eliot per­haps best rep­re­sent this ten­den­cy. And yet com­ic artist Julian Peters is up to the chal­lenge. Peters, who has pre­vi­ous­ly adapt­ed Poe, Keats, and Rim­baud, now takes on Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and you can see the first nine pages at his site.

Writ­ten in 1910 and pub­lished five years lat­er, “Prufrock” has become a stan­dard ref­er­ence for Eliot’s doc­trine of the “objec­tive cor­rel­a­tive,” a con­cept he defines in his crit­i­cal essay, “Ham­let and His Prob­lems,” as “a set of objects, a sit­u­a­tion, a chain of events which shall be the for­mu­la of that par­tic­u­lar emo­tion.” It’s a the­o­ry he elab­o­rates in “Tra­di­tion and the Indi­vid­ual Tal­ent” in his dis­cus­sion of Dante. And Dante is where “Prufrock” begins, with an epi­graph from the Infer­no. Peters’ first page illus­trates the ago­nized speak­er of Dante’s lines, Gui­do da Mon­te­fel­tro, a soul con­fined to the eighth cir­cle, whom you can see at the top of the title page shown above. Peters’ visu­al choic­es place us firm­ly in the hell­ish emo­tion­al realm of “Prufrock,” a seem­ing cat­a­logue of the mun­dane that har­bors a dark­er import. Peters gives us no hint of when we might expect new pages, but I for one am eager to see more.

via The Rum­pus

Relat­ed Con­tent:

T.S. Eliot’s Rad­i­cal Poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Read by Antho­ny Hop­kins and Eliot Him­self

T.S. Eliot Reads His Mod­ernist Mas­ter­pieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Hear Gertrude Stein Read Works Inspired by Matisse, Picas­so, and T.S. Eliot (1934)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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