Dear CR: This part of the excerpt you posted strikes me as pertinent to the 4 Qts passage that asserts that only in time is time conquered: "A new inflexion/emphasises Incarnation... "

Perhaps "to be conscious in not to be in time" is the state of the unincarnated soul or spirit. The rest of the passage could be read as expressing Eliot's realization of the spiritual value of the Incarnation. Seen in this light, the very provocative passage from Wordsworth that Vishvesh posted would seem to be saying something quite different, describing a vision of the incarnation of spirit into flesh as "a death and a forgetting."

Many thanks CR -- I begin to see the meaning of the smoky church at nightfall and the rose-garden a bit more clearly! Diana

From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Four Quartets -- a reading
Date:  Sun, 17 Dec 2006 19:15:43 -0800

Dear Listers,
The following abstract from Literature and Theology (Oxford University
Press, 2001) should induce readers to explore the scriptural dimensions
of Four Quartets. 
Incidentally, the Christian motifs of baptism, purgatory and Pentecost 
here remind me of two fascinating images -- one of Christ's baptism,
another of the Purgatory -- in Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service :
A painter of the Umbrian school
Designed upon a gesso ground
The nimbus of the Baptized God.
The wilderness is cracked and browned
But through the water pale and thin
Still shine the unoffending feet
And there above the painter set
The Father and the Paraclete.
     .    .     .     .     .
Under the penitential gates
Sustained by staring Seraphim
Where the souls of the devout
Burn invisible and dim.*
[These are the aspiring souls of the devout who struggle
 upward to conquer time through time -- by grappling with time present,
 time past and time future -- to reach a state of consciousness that
 belongs to "the still point".]
~ CR
Literature and Theology 2001 15(1):85-101; doi:10.1093/litthe/15.1.85
© 2001 by Oxford University Press
Cornelia Cook
Queen Mary and Westfield College London   
The predominant scriptural model for T S. Eliot's early works was
apocalyptic. In Four Quartets the poet's embrace of the medieval tradition
which informed his chosen anglo-catholicism
produces a new language
which finds its scriptural affinities elsewhere, notably in the rhetorical
strategies and significant motifs of gospel writing Meditation on moments
of epiphany produces an awareness of pentecostal presence which requires
and values language and associates itself with tradition. A new inflexion
emphasises Incarnation, opposing the teleologies of progressivism or
apo-calyptic with an equivalence of ‘now’ and ‘always’ The associated motifs
of baptism, purgatory and Pentecost are interwoven in Four Quartets to form
an argument which revalues the world, language and history.

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