- Oct 2015
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Vienna London 375 Unreal
Jerusalem, Athens and Alexandria were all major cultural and economic centres of fallen ancient civilisations which no longer have any agency in world politics. Their empires have broken down and seize to have major input in modern civilisation. Moreover, Vienna was the capital of the Austria-Hungary empire which fell apart after their defeat in World War 1 and had to pay severe reparations to the Allies. All of these empires have cracked and reformed and broken down again, or even “burst”. Consequently, citizens of these cities have been exiled from everything that they understand of their home, their nationality. In a society which looks upon ones nationality to dictate ones identity, who do you become when your home falls apart?
Perhaps Eliot is suggesting that London, a significant centre of Europe as well as the British Empire is “falling”, and all that will be left will be the memory of a distant empire, it will be transformed into something “unreal” as it will no longer exist. By listing these empires, Eliot implies London’s eventual fall is inevitable, leaving civilisation as we know it, isolated.