The Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot: Read by Alec Guinness

LD:  This is one of the 20th century’s greatest long poems. To appreciate it, it needs to be read and listened to several times. A single reading will not do. The video is best listened to without looking at the screen, preferably in a darkened room with one’s eyes shut.

The four interlinked poems, all deeply religious, were written in a time of national crisis. The first was completed in the mid-1930s when Hitler was widely seen as a looming threat. The other three poems in the quartet were written in quick succession in the middle of World War Two. This was also a period of personal crisis and poor health for Eliot when he was coming to terms with his own mortality and wondering what the future held in store for mankind.

It should be noted that Eliot, though a devout anglo-Catholic Christian, drew heavily on Eastern philosophy with special emphasis on Buddhism and Vedanta. His religious outlook is in fact a syncretic amalgam of the philosophia perennis, combining Christian mysticism with Oriental mysticism. Here the New Testament meets and combines beautifully with the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads. 

VIDEO  :  54 mins

10 thoughts to “The Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot: Read by Alec Guinness”

  1. Thank you, a most gracious egg in today’s basket! Having lost a lot of golf balls, I confess to the influence ESPECIALLY of TSE on my own writing — betwixt and between prose and poetry — having already had my confession with Ezra Pound. My penance: Pay far more attention NOW to the fundamentals of poetry, which should be close to music. See The ABC of Reading for more.

    1. Having located and downloaded accurate text of The Four Quartets, and read and perused them for an hour or so, I can attest to the benefit of having Alec G. read them. I shall endeavor to do so! Perhaps we can also persuade Patrick Willis (Snordster) to render same. He does a great job on Les Visible, one of the more visible, spiritually inclined souls manifest on the web today for me. MInd you, I have yet to access the other 99.9999%, so, what do I know??

  2. Rarest of gems, the Western Brahman
    Teller of secrets awash with the Light
    Mystic, servant, poet, Shaman
    Teller of wishes dreamt in the Night
    “Religion without Philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while Philosophy without Religion is mental speculation.” (Srila Prabhupada)

  3. Please forgive yet another post! Background, briefly: Know that I have read and studied for the past year or so the work of Ezra Pound. One year ago, almost exactly, my wife gave me as a birthday present, a full pass to the entire weekend of a Poetry Festival in Grass Valley. The then putative poet laureate of Kalifornication opened the event. I lasted about 15 minutes before I had to depart the auditorium. SJW, LGBTQPXYZ, and white-bashing interfered with my digestion of well water I brought from home.

    Looking for escape, I visited the book sellers and other displays. I found a table of one of seven or so book sellers that cooperatively operate a great book store in GV. I picked up an original paperback of Pound’s “The ABC of Reading”. I had learned of Pound in reading of the JQ and JP, including how Pound was incarcerated in a psychiatric prison for years. Of interest, note, and relevance, TS Eliiot helped spring him! A man came up to the table, noticed what I had selected to buy, and said, “I too know Pound, I hated him for his views before WW2, That is now past, so I can read him.” Words to that effect.

    Dig deeper! TS Eliot and Ezra Pound had a profound relationship poetically! I assert my own piddling efforts have been influenced very strongly by both! TS Eliot set the tone, but Ezra supplied the metre! A gross simplification, of course.

    References (a ton more, even weighed by electrons):

    1. @ Alan Donelson

      Thank you for your excellent comment on Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. As you probably know, Eliot referred to Pound modestly as il miglior fabbro (the greater craftsman). Pound was a brilliant editor and he edited Eliot’s best poems, mostly making judicious cuts. You may find this article about Pound’s relationship with Eustace Mullins of interest. It was published on the Darkmoon site about six years ago:

      1. Sis –

        Mullins told me personally, many times, how proud he was to visit Pound in the prison over the years. Pound was his mentor. He had hundreds of anecdotal stories. Sadly, neither will ever come around again. I miss speaking with Mullins on world affairs. He rarely missed.

  4. PAT
    I heard the story of the SWAT THUGS raiding Mullins’ house… they got him at gunpoint inside, told him to “produce whatever weapons you have”…
    He declined, realizing they would shoot him as soon as he did…
    Eustace Mullins, Anthony Sutton and Zechariah Sitchin, famous alternative historians (truthers) all died one right after the other a few years back… it reminded me of how a couple of the Chicago 7 survivors died suddenly, and violently, not too long after the big post 9-11 shift into the deep security state killymo. Wasn’t that how it happened with Abbe Hoffman and Huey Newton?
    The conspiracy theory realist is wondering now, since he was hangjng out with the likes of Ezra
    Pound – how did TS Elliot die?

    1. Get too close to revealing the truth about ANYTHING to enough people who will listen and the price you’ll pay is all too steep, and Sitchin being a jew shouldn’t discredit him in that regard.
      “Ancient aliens” are real, and their (((descendants))) are among us 👽

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