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Four Quartets

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  9,062 ratings  ·  367 reviews
The Four Quartets is a series of four poems by T.S. Eliot, published individually from 1936 to 1942, and in book form in 1943; it was considered by Eliot himself to be his finest work. Each of the quartets has five "movements" and each is titled by a place name -- BURNT NORTON (1936), EAST COKER (1940), THE DRY SALVAGES (1941), and LITTLE GIDDING (1942). Eliot's insights i ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published 1959 by Faber & Faber (first published 1943)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
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Community Reviews

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Anthony Vacca
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets are as apocalyptically-sound as his more well-known The Waste Land (at least in terms of bored freshman who, in the fullness of time, will most likely only dimly remember sludging their way through the poem in some requisite English Lit courses), but whereas the latter keeps its cosmic lens rolling on the ecological, religious and human desolation brought to the early 20th century by the wonders of Imperialism and Industrialization, the FQ, on the other hand, carpet bo ...more
howl of minerva
I remember being at my first anatomy dissection as a demonstrator took this slim volume out of his pocket and said to me, in a room full of cadavers, "In my end is my beginning. Isn't that wonderful? TS Eliot. Do you know it? You must read it." If I'd read the scene in a novel I would have thought it contrived and overly theatrical. But I swear it actually happened.
This is something that I've been reading and returning to for more than 40 years. Few works are so intimately connected with my own life changes. Truly, all poems are read afresh with each reading: as oneself changes, the poems change. In the case of Four Quartets, I used to go o it for melancholy comfort, a vague spiritual longing too balmed with its reverberations of paradox and eastern thoughts while rooted in the soil of an East Anglian mysticism. I also found its original influence (along w ...more
This is the first record of my reading that I have not posted on this website in 6 and a half years.

You can find my full review of the amazing experience of this book at booklikes:

And at soapboxing:

* * *
ORIGINAL: Well. I just... I... what I mean to say is... I think I...

Holy fuck.

Yeah, gimme a minute on this one, guys.
Peycho Kanev
The Four Quartets by TS Eliot is a classic. The Four Quartets are regarded by many to be the greatest philosophical poem of this century. The titles of the four sections which make up the Quartets are place names, each corresponding to a phase of spiritual development. What particularly satisfies about the Four Quartets is that they complete Eliot's broad spiritual landscape begun with "Prufrock," "Gerontion," and The Wasteland, poems about failure in a bankrupt universe, but with the words from ...more
Apparently I haven't put this into Goodreads and thought I did. Ah well.

This is really good poetry. Don't trust me. Go read it. It's not very long, and you can probably find it in 30 seconds on Google. Please go read it.

That being said, it is rather astonishing. Eliot has this rhythm, which survives even in Prufock, and shines here. Themes from religion and nature and history. Heraclius and Marcus Aurelius and St. John and aphorism and myth, Pentacostal fire and the chanting advance of the Bhaga

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of comple
T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets is a masterpiece. I don't know how I missed it before this year. How can you not love a poem that says things like:

There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been....
Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their
Question 1 (5 points)

Contrast the treatment of denotation and reference in the following works:

- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
- T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
- Marcel Proust, A L'Ombre Des Jeunes Filles En Fleurs

Well, that's what I think's wrong with formal examinations.


(Gratuitous cross-promotion)

Question 2 (3 points)

Order the following by the extent to which they glorify substance abuse:

- Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fea
Apr 30, 2007 Felicity rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers, writers, dreamers, mystics
Four Quartets is one of the most astounding pieces of writing I've ever encountered. It may start off strange and esoteric, but it becomes more and more familiar through the reading, until you feel almost as if you are experiencing Eliot's journeys and musings instead of reading a poetic result of them. It builds upon itself in the most transparent yet masterful ways. An incredible experience for me as a writer and a thinker.
Quattro quartetti è la penultima raccolta di poesie del caro Eliot. Un Eliot diverso, però, meno personale, si rivolge non più a sé, ma al tempo. E' un'intera dedica al Tempo, alle sue sfacettature, alle case in cui dimora (le rughe di un uomo, le stagioni, le case, la Terra).
In seguito comporrà solo due o tre poesie, si dedicherà completamente al saggio.
Posso dire che mi è mancato un sacco l'Eliot di The Hollow Men, The Waste Land, Ash-Wednesday?
Non sono neanche sicura di essere abbastanza m
Beautiful, mesmerising poetry. There is so much to contemplate in these four poems about time, faith and spiritual belief, whether the reader is a practising Christian, or a humanist, or a follower of a philosophy such as Buddhism. It is a meditation on the human condition. It end with this famous passage:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of e
Ken Moten
" The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
" - Section 4 of "Little Gidding"

Now over the whole perio
I think that "Four Quartets" is Eliot's masterpiece and one of the great poetic works of the twentieth century. Of the four, my favourites are the first and the last, but all four have moments of Epiphany such as this section in "East Coker":

"Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty de
This quartet of longer poems is Eliot's very best and most provoking poetry. He has become a sort of Modernist monster over the years, but forget Prufrock and read this. His allusion to Beethoven's Four Quartets is apt. Eliot did not publish anymore poetry after this text, and Beethoven's quartet with four movements was his last finished work. Listen to the Beethoven quartet. Read Taking the Quantum Leap. Read about Sanskrit and Hinduism as well, appreciate this intricately layered poem even mor ...more
Amy Edwards
I am not worthy of this poem. As I read, I felt its beauty and profoundness, but I also felt I was only grasping a tiny bit of Eliot's message. I happened, by coincidence, to read this poem on the eve of my aunt's funeral. It seemed to be the perfect poem for a funeral-eve. Some lines I want to remember from "East Coker":

In my beginning is my end. In succession
houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pa
sun surfer
A spiritual mediation on existence contemplated in shades of light and gloam, Four Quartets is beautiful, concurrently haunting and illuminating.

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God.”
Caution : this is a 5 stars rating ,( obviously like everybody here on Goodreads ) the rest of the stars are coming along when I understand what does this poetry mean , or when my mind evolve to understand such a poetry :)
Billy O'Callaghan
I've been coming back to this book over and over again since my teens, and I never fail to find some new wonder within its lines, just as I sense I'll never fully grasp the astonishing wholeness of it. Stunning phrases abound, so it needs a slow read and encourages meditation. Eliot's almost musical air-earth-water-fire musings have given me a fascination with Time's cyclical nature and the notions of all past and future:

Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one
If you read this to yourself out loud and slowly, it will echo in your head the rest of your life. I think it will last forever.
Jan 18, 2014 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Jeremy Irons reads Four Quartets by T.S.Eliot.

Four Quartets is the culminating achievement of T.S. Eliot's career as a poet. While containing some of the most musical and unforgettable passages in twentieth-century poetry, its four parts, 'Burnt Norton', 'East Coker', 'The Dry Salvages' and 'Little Gidding', present a rigorous meditation on the spiritual, philosophical and personal themes which preoccupied the author. It was the way in which a private voice was
Martin Rowe
My first experience of Eliot's interlinked poems was through an old vinyl recording of Alec Guinness reading them. Although I was all of seventeen, and understood little of what was being said, the impact upon me was huge. I knew that some of the poems were written during the Second World War and that they were steeped in Christian mysticism, and so set out to learn more about them.

I have now lived for thirty years with these poems, committed whole swathes of them to memory, and studied Eliot's
Emily  O
I am consistently impressed with Eliot's use of language. My goodness, does the man know how to write a poem. While I'm not a huge fan of all the Anglican imagery, I was absolutely floored by at least one passage in each of the large sections. Eliot displays some incredible poetic craftsmanship, which was especially evident to me in The Dry Salvages, but was obviously present throughout the work. There is no doubt that Eliot is a master craftsman. I absolutely loved the way that images and phras ...more
When I heard an Eliot scholar compare Four Quartets to Chartres Cathedral, I chuckled to myself and thought the man smitten. But after reading the poems repeatedly and subjecting the edifice to a thorough inspection, I think the man was right. This is the work of a poetic architect, a craftsman who joyfully builds whispering galleries in places where martyrs come to die.

Eliot's theology seems cumbersome at times, but I think his theological position is less dogmatic than many think. There are m
"No meu começo está o meu fim. Uma após outra
As casas erguem-se e caem, desmoronam, são aumentadas,
São mudadas, destruídas, restauradas, ou onde estavam
Fica um descampado ou uma fábrica ou um desvio.
De pedra velha a edifício novo, de lenha velha a fogos novos,
De fogos velhos a cinzas e de cinzas à terra
Que é já carne, pele e fezes,
Osso de homem e bicho, haste de trigo e folha.
As casas vivem e morrem: há um tempo para edificar
E um tempo para viver e para procriar
E um tempo para o vento quebrar a
This is a lifelong (or at least adult-lifelong) favorite of mine. I return to it every year or so. One of the great poetic reveries on Christianity and on the nature of eternity, immortality, and ethical purpose. As a nonbeliever, I find these four poems convincing and intelligent as regards one particular religion. As a transient sapient being in a boundless universe, I find them breathtaking in their attempt to pierce through the here and now into the transcendant and timeless. That ability to ...more
Ashley Adams
TS Eliot’s Four Quartets is a set of four (or, indeed, twenty) poems that, like musical quartets, have separate but interconnected and complimentary themes. Written as Eliot was pointedly developing his Christian identity, Eliot used as his inspiration locations that had personal meaning for him. The Four Quartets produce a profoundly spiritual reading experience.

What intensely beautiful poetry. That is, after all, Eliot.

Oftentimes, I'll write something. Say, recently, for Blatz. And it looks nice on paper, and it sounds nice in my head - yet when he has me read it to the class, it sounds not even half so impressive. This is, I believe, a problem with many poems. Somehow, the beauty on the page and in the mind is not properly translated into voice and sound.

Eliot is not one of those poets.

The words sound more beautiful read aloud, and that, to me,
Oh T.S Eliot.

Poetry is always about establishing a relationship, embarking on a journey of self-reflection, and prepping yourself with tools for a more solidly skilled foresight.

But, wow, did Eliot ask a lot of me throughout this book.

I took so long with it to really savor the intricacy of the words, the message, the contemplation. Towards the end however, something about the overall tone left me uninterested in delving deeper.

The allusions felt more and more muddled. I felt I had to work har
**The first thing I want to have to say about The Four Quartets is that this is Not a book about music. If you are looking for a book about music, you will be very surprised and taken aback my this book. If you want a good book about music, I would read Bob Dylan's book about his career called Chronicles.**

The Four Quartet is a **poem** about trying to be a better person. We are all always trying to be better persons, striving to be just a little more perfect (if only we realized that this is an
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TS Eliot links & resources 1 8 Jun 26, 2012 04:42AM  
T.S. Eliot International Summer School, 10-17 July 2010, London 1 8 May 26, 2010 04:42AM  
  • The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
  • Selected Poems
  • The Bridge
  • Duino Elegies
  • The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
  • Death of a Naturalist
  • The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall / Tribute to the Angels / The Flowering of the Rod
  • The Cantos
  • Geography III
  • The Complete English Poems (Herbert, George)
  • Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
  • Glass, Irony and God
  • Every Riven Thing: Poems
  • The World Doesn't End
  • Paterson
  • The Metaphysical Poets (Penguin Classics)
Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
More about T.S. Eliot...
The Waste Land and Other Poems The Waste Land Collected Poems, 1909-1962 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

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“For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.”
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
More quotes…