Re the comparison of the T. S. Eliot of TWL with the
post-conversion TSE of 4Q, I think CR and Nancy are "right on," to
borrow a phrase from my youth. The post-conversion concept of "the death of the
Self" seems to me to represent the death of the "Ego," a necessary
happening before spiritual rebirth, as per TSE -- a movement away from
the "We live as if by our own wisdom" of Heraclitus toward the common Logos.
Another example in literature of the "the death of the Self, or Ego" is the
soliloquy of KING Lear to the storm:
To Eliot, the death of the Self is ancillary
to spiritual rebirth.
One has first to arrive at the stage of what Saint John of the Cross
called The Dark Night of the Soul. Here's how 'Burnt Norton'
describes it :
Descend lower, descend only
Into the world of perpetual
World not world, but that which is not world,
And destitution of all property,
Desiccation of the world of
Evacuation of the world of fancy,
Inoperancy of the world of
This is the one way, and the other
Is the same, not in
But abstention from movement; while the world moves
on its metalled ways
Of time past and time future.
One could say that the "self" has been eaten by the leopards in AW
therefore is dead though some voice is remaining, but the negative
of St. John of the Cross does call for the death of self--in the
of becoming nothing through the removing of sense in the dark night
the senses and of any self in the dark night of the soul, so that
can enter. It is in any case present in 4Q, however you read it
relation to the rest.
On the other hand, Eliot admired mystics; he
never claimed to be on, so