Gerontion” is a poem by T. Eliot that was first published in 1920. The work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man, through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th century.
Eliot was working on the poem after the end of World War One when Europe was undergoing changes as old systems of government and international relations were being replaced. During that time, Eliot was working at Lloyds Bank, editing The Egoist, and trying to publish poetry. Two earlier versions of the poem can be found, the original typescript of the poem as well as that version with comments by Ezra Pound.
In the typescript, the name of the poem is “Gerousia”, referring to the name of the Council of the Elders at Sparta. Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both. The poem itself is a dramatic monologue by an elderly character that critics believe to be an older version of “J.
Tenants of the house Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season. Many of the themes within “Gerontion” are present throughout Eliot’s later works, especially within The Waste Land.