mysticism-in-t-s-eliots-four-quartetsIn Four Quartets, the poet had used symbols with which one has to have some familiarity in order to understand and appreciate the poem. The “primitive terror and primitive Gods have been recognised in the modern world as something more than symbols. And Emerson, Bradley, Bergson, Patanjali and St.John of the Cross are incorporated in an all embracing, if rather diffuse, Christianity.”[34] Compared to Murder in the Cathedral, there is greater depth, greater intensity, and greater beauty in Four Quartets. There is longing for non-existence, non-human reality.
Each Quartet has five parts and the subject of each quartet can be defined in various ways. By adopting the method of commentators on The Divine Comedy, Helen Gardner distinguishes a literal, moral and a mystical meaning. Literally ‘Burnt Norton’ is simply the Poet’s experience, a moment of release. Morally, it is “a submission to the truth of experience, an acceptance of what is, that involves the acceptance of ignorance.
Read the complete essay: mysticism-in-t-s-eliots-four-quartets
Another 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.


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