Mysticism and Incarnation

  • Paul Murray


Shortly before the third and most controversial Quartet was published, Eliot sent a draft-copy of the work to a few of his friends and invited them to read and to study it. One of these friends, Geoffrey Faber, after he had read carefully through the poem, asked Eliot what precise meaning was intended in the poem’s final section by the use of the theological term ‘Incarnation’. The word occurs at the climax of a paragraph also noteworthy for the fine evocation by the poet of certain small experiences of illumination.


Manifest Surface Wild Strawberry Sensory Illumination Wild Thyme Mystical State 
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  1. 2.
    Graham Hough, ‘Vision and Doctrine in Four Quartets’, Critical Quarterly, 15 (1973) p. 113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 9.
    Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism (London, 1911) p. 169.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Graham Hough, ‘Vision and Doctrine in Four Quartets’,Critical Quarterly, 15 (1973) p. 109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 19.
    See, for example, R. W. Flint, ‘Four Quartets Reconsidered’, in B. Bergonzi (ed.), T. S. Eliot, ‘Four Quartets’: A Selection of Critical Essays (London, 1969 ) p. 116Google Scholar
  5. F. O. Matthiessen, ‘Eliot’s Quartets’, Kenyan Review, v(1943) p. 171Google Scholar
  6. Elizabeth Drew, T. S. Eliot: The Design of his Poetry (New York, 1949) p. 187.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Murray 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Dominican Studium, Tallaght, and Angelicum UniversityRomeItaly

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