From Redeeming Time: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets by Kenneth Paul Kramer.
[This] book’s thesis is both provocative and practical. Four Quartets contemplates, through idea and word, how timeless moments— of redeeming reciprocity, of graced consciousness— shine through physical landscapes and release the poet from temporal enchainments. In meditating on these landscapes, the poet discovers that spiritual substance cannot be found fully in himself or in the totality of his experiences. Rather, it emerges from unsought, unforeseen moments of redeeming reciprocity (divine-human mutual contact) that interrupt time briefly in places entered by chance, and that are then retrieved and appropriated through an interplay of detached memory and disciplined imagination. In Four Quartets, therefore, a continual back and forth movement occurs between ordinary time— a field of relentless distractions, struggle, and toil— and redeeming time— a graced elevation of ordinary consciousness arising from a genuinely mutual, giving-and-receiving engagement between poet and world that generates “inner freedom from the practical desire” and “release from action and suffering”
Another early reminder that we’ll be reading and discussing T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in our February and March sessions. On February 23 we will focus on “Burnt Norton” and “East Coker.” Please bring your own favourite excerpts, interpretations and comments for discussion about these challenging poems.