Emily O's Reviews > Four Quartets

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
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Jul 05, 11

bookshelves: poetry-and-plays, american-lit, recommended-by-friends
Recommended to Emily by: Nick
Read in July, 2011

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 phrases kept returning and changing across the work, adding meanings and taking on new connotations with each repetition. I feel like that varied repetition gave the poem a very organic feel, like Eliot was thinking through things and trying to figure out the very things he was explaining. That conversational, stream-of-consciousness style really keeps The Four Quartets from feeling too pedantic or weighed down with Anglican symbolism, and preserves a sense of integrity throughout.

I'm not going to pretend like I understood even half of this work on the first read-through, but I was certainly impressed enough to want to read it again in the future. I only hope that next time I'll read an edition with notes so I can understand the poem more thoroughly. The Four Quartets moved me with their beauty and honesty, and that is, in the end, what I value most in a work of art.
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message 1: by Bondama (new)

Bondama Emily, it's Eliot's use of the English language as a treasure trove that first brought him the attention he so richly deserved. Anyone who can write lines that people still quote, even people who NEVER read Eliot, is a writer/poet that deserves the recognition one would give a true classic.


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