“The allusion is forced and the connection specious. You get this a lot when students try too hard. [But] that’s the point here. This isn’t so much literary criticism as flirtation.”
— Matthew Hart, an English lit professor at Columbia University, when asked by New York magazine to analyze the high-flown T.S. Eliot critique that future President Barack Obama worked into an early ’80s love letter (“Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time”) divulged in Vanity Fair’s excerpt of our colleague David Maraniss’s new Obama bio.
Read earlier: Obama’s ex-girlfriends from his New York years share stories, letters in new biography, 5/2/12