Louis Menand on Eliot's "Prufrock"

From “Practical Cat: How Eliot became Eliot”, published in The New Yorker’s September 19, 2011 issue:

It’s an exercise in syncopation, like a Cubist portrait. It perpetually wrong-foots you. Eliot thought that Stravinsky, in “The Rite of Spring,” had transformed “the rhythm of the steppes into the scream of the motor horn, the rattle of machinery, the grind of wheels, the beating of iron and steel, the roar of the underground railway, and the other barbaric cries of modern life.” He had taken something primitive and recast it in a contemporary idiom — the way Picasso used African masks for the portrait of the prostitues in “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon,” or Joyce put the whole of the Odyssey underneath “Ulysses.” What was important for Pound and Eliot was that the bones of the old are legible (or visible or audible) under the contemporary skin. That’s what produces the modernist dissonance. Behind the wan and squeamish flâneur is the defiant shade of Guido da Montefeltro, burning in the eight circle of Hell.