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Four Quartets

(Four Quartets #1-4)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  14,974 ratings  ·  787 reviews
The last major verse written by Nobel laureate T. S. Eliot, considered by Eliot himself to be his finest work
Four Quartets is a rich composition that expands the spiritual vision introduced in “The Waste Land.” Here, in four linked poems (“Burnt Norton,” “East Coker,” “The Dry Salvages,” and “Little Gidding”), spiritual, philosophical, and personal themes emerge through sy
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Paperback, 64 pages
Published March 20th 1968 by Mariner Books (first published 1943)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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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. ...more
Anthony Vacca
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Manuel Antão
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1981
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.




Profound Place: "Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot




(Original Review, 1981-05-12)


I’m always impressed by the influence of mediaeval mystical texts on 'Four Quartets'. This was the subject of a chapter in my thesis. These days, I would probably want to change some of the argument of that chapter, but I would not change the overall conviction that a primary concern of the poems was the maintenance of an almost intolerable tension between the w
...more
Pooja
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-novels
This type of poetry fills me with bewilderment of where was I till now and how it took me this much time to encounter something as brilliant as this!



Seriously, where was I ?
...more
Kelly
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 soapboxing: http://soapboxing.net/2013/10/four-qu...

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

Holy fuck.

Yeah, gimme a minute on this one, guys.
...more
Antonomasia
[4.5] Through my years on Goodreads, I've seen reviews of T.S. Eliot's poetry, especially The Wasteland, and it always sounds like something I'd love. But also a lot of work, because he makes allusions mostly to stuff I haven't read yet. I've read quite a lot more classics now, yet still not the ones he references the most.

To whittle down outstanding categories in a reading challenge, I was looking for something very short that was a poetry *collection* yet didn't have too many separate poems,
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Ruxandra (4fără15)
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you s
...more
Luís
Nothing beats a glimpse, to approach this attempt to write a few words about Eliot's "Four Quartets".
This long poem, a meditation on life, time, poetry or quite merely on words, earned its author the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948.
Four poems (called according to places in England and the United States "Burnt Norton", "East Coker", "The Dry Salvages" and "Little Gidding") were first written separately, only to reappear together in 1943 as then "Four Quartets".
T. S. Eliot (who belonged with Jo
...more
Ade Bailey
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
Peycho Kanev
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
rahul
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites

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
...more
Manny
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
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André
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”

T S Eliot, in a six-year period, published a set of four poems: Burnt Norton (1936), East Coker (1940), The Dry Salvages (1941), Little Gidding (1942). These poems have 5 sections each.
This collection of connected poems addresses multiple thematics about Time and Humanity. Perceived and presented in an existential method, Eliot's poems present complex philosophical points; In a period of chaos and destruction (World War II), the author relies his poetry
...more
Steven Godin

'I do not know much about the gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognized as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable,
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By wors
...more
Jonfaith
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetshere
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.


Eliot appears to be brooding on the elusive nature of time. This meditation doesn't shirk the inviolability of biological time but rather impales itself as an aesthetic act in the ouroboros of our conscious entanglement.
...more
Laurel Hicks
Just beautiful! Eliot’s multifaceted set of poems deserves many readings.
João Fernandes
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We can only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire."
...more
ladydusk
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've listened and read (Paul Scofield's reading is masterful), listened only, and now read only. I read one poem per day - or a couple of days 2.

I understand a tiny bit more every reading and love it more each time.
...more
Tim
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Atri
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
...
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which you once took for exercise of virtue.

...

History may be servitude.
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them,
to become renewed, transfigured, in another pa
...more
B. P. Rinehart
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
" 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
...more
Arlette
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cindy Rollins
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 2019, bookclub
Too much depth for me to give it 5 stars like I got it all. Lovely lines and metaphors but hard to grasp.
Felicity
Apr 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Elham
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice to finish this year's poetry readings with Eliot. 2020 bye bye ...more
Manny
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the finest poetry in English of the 20th century. I never grow tired of it.
Richard
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mohammed Hmood
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I need to read this beauty again ❤️
Khalil
Oct 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, literature
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 :)
Matthew Mousseau
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Listen to T.S. Eliot read "Four Quartets" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga8tQrG4ZSw


Burnt Norton

I

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we
...more
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TS Eliot links & resources 1 11 Jun 26, 2012 04:42AM  
T.S. Eliot International Summer School, 10-17 July 2010, London 1 11 May 26, 2010 04:42AM  

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4,139 followers
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

Other books in the series

Four Quartets (4 books)
  • Burnt Norton
  • East Coker
  • The Dry Salvages
  • Little Gidding

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