Vol. 38 No. 1 (1990)
Research Article

The Weakness of T. S. Eliot's J. Alfred: More of Verdenal in “Prufrock”

Published 1990-06-01



Recently published letters from Jean Verdenal to T. S. Eliot corroborate my earlier suggestion that Prufrock may be modelled on Verdenal. Prufrock's weakness in normal sexual identification reflects the poet's close friendship with Verdenal, who has also been suggested as the “Floret” of another poem. Onomastically, the connection may go beyond the secretive J. of the first name to the name Alfred itself, which is almost an anagram of Verdenal.


  1. Childs, Donald J. “Stetson in The Waste Land.” Essays in Criticism 38 (1988): 131–48.
  2. D’Ambrosio, Vinnie-Marie. Eliot Possessed: T. S. Eliot and FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat. New York: New York UP: 1988.
  3. Dorn, Alfred. Rev. of Ascending the Prufrockian Stair, by R. F. Fleissner. CLA Journal 33 (1989): 94–100.
  4. Eliot, T. S. After Strange Gods. New York: Harcourt, 1934.
  5. Eliot, T. S. The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909–1950. New York: Harcourt, 1950.
  6. Eliot, T. S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot: VolumeiI,i1898–1922. Ed. Valerie Eliot. New York: Harcourt, 1988.
  7. Fleissner, Robert F. “Anent J. Alfred Prufrock.” Names 25 (1977): 206–12. Rpt. (revised) in Harder, 223–29.
  8. Fleissner, Robert F. Ascending the Prufrockian Stair: Studies in a Dissociated Sensibility. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.
  9. Fleissner, Robert F. “The Germanic Insect Image in Prufrock.” Germanic Notes 20 (1989): 2–3.
  10. Harder, Kelsie B., comp. Names and Their Varieties: A Collection of Essays in Onomastics. Lanham, MD: UP of America,1986.
  11. Koestenbaum, Wayne. “The Waste Land: T. S. Eliot’s and Ezra Pound’s Collaboration on Hysteria.” Twentieth Century Literature 34 (1988): 113–39.
  12. Mayer, John T. T. S. Eliot’s Silent Voices. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989.
  13. Southam, B. C. A Student’s Guide to the Selected Poems of T. S. Eliot. Rev. ed. London: Faber, 1987.
  14. Watson, George. “Quest for a Frenchman.” The Sewanee Review 84 (1976): 465–75.