Theresa of Avila is 16th century, but John of the Cross is much earlier--
14th century.  _The Cloud of Unknowing_ was written about 1370.

Eliot claims in the Clark Lectures that the 17th C English Metaphysical
poets are one of the moments of "metaphysical poetry" but it is much
earlier--Dante--that there was what he saw as a "unified sensibility."   This
was already breaking down by the time of Donne.  Presumably John of the
Cross could have been part of that.


Date sent:              Mon, 17 Mar 2003 21:54:51 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: 'Ash Wednesday' : A clarification requested
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From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
I find that Eliot's poetry could be attributed to his intelligence
in absorbing the literary sensibility of the Elizabethans rather
than any other poetic sources of inspiration; probably, a difference
to note, between him and Lawrence.
I would think a strong difference on the intellectual level,
but ironically, Lawrence's rural roots may have provided him
with an inheritance of Elizabethan culture to some extent.

I'm convinced that Eliot's devouring of the Elizabethans
was part of his need to find his roots (as in East Coker).
Elizabethan English was a significant connection to the
medieval mystics of England (Ferrar et al. [good old al.]).
He noted a general loss of connection with that Eliz.
sensibility after Donne.

I believe the Indic trad. tome will inform you of the
degree of closenes with which Eliot came to converting
to an Indian religion.

I would not rule out the mystic dimension of AW, given
the influence of John of thre cross/Theresa of Avila.
They were, to some degree, contmeporaries of the
Elizabethans, although I can't check the dates precisely
right now.


Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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