A Philosophical Study of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

Author: Warner, Martin


"This is a subtle and penetrating study of the Four Quartets by a philosopher with a rare talent for literary analysis. The book has all the hallmarks for which Martin Warner's work is deservedly acclaimed: seamless integration of the philosophical and the literary, insight informed by sound scholarship lightly worn, breadth of intellectual and cultural reference, thoroughness of analysis, and always agreeable lucidity of expression. The book begins with a helpful, informative account of the context, intellectual and personal, for Eliot's mature work, not merely enumerating the influences. . . but explaining precisely how they shaped the poet's mind. . . . the core of the book is an immensely detailed philosophical reading of the Four Quartets. This is a tour de force. Here Warner's well-grounded knowledge of the philosophical and religious tradition makes him ideally placed to unpick from the inside the often opaque allusiveness of Eliot's' magnum opus. . . . This is a self-confident and bravura performance."-–Peter Lamarque

". . . a lucid exposition of a large subject. The idea of philosophical poetry is explored in terms of the new possibilities and limitations of the genre in the aftermath of French symbolisme and as already practiced by Paul Valéry, while Eliot's own success in combining poetry and philosophical thought is carefully weighed. The study, written by a philosopher. . . . stresses the relation of philosophy and of poetry to the actualities and the choices of living, and gives a firm sense of the total urgency of Eliot's life's work. As well as offering timely and very useful guidance through the complexities of philosophers as diverse as Plato and F. H. Bradley, the book is also cannily aware of Eliot's use of philosophers, of his drawing from conflicting systems of thought only the notions of which he has need." – M. Edwards

"... if you read the poems, then read Warner's book, and then repeat the procedure, you will be amply rewarded." -- Prof. Ole Martin Skilleas, University of Bergen

"This a very clever, well-researched and useful book." - Rupert Mead

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

1.PREPARATION: Introduction; The Poet, Philosophical aspirations; Past and present

2.VISION: ‘Burnt Norton': The Augustinian pattern; The test of experience

3.PILGRIMAGE: From ‘East Coker' to ‘Little Gidding'; ‘The detail of the pattern is movement'; ‘East Coker'; ‘The Dry Salvages'; ‘Little Gidding'

4.UNDERSTANDING: Poetry and belief; Significance

References, Index