Print

Print


Thanks, John.  That does sound like the long and winding mother route, to
me.  One of Eliot's trials along the way:  I am struck by young Eliot's
elaborately articulated reason-based rejection of the "immediate
experience" idea of god in his thesis on Bentley; followed by Eliot's years
of trying to connect to that immediate experience.

Best,

j.

On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM, John Morgenstern <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> John,
>
> While I don't necessarily share your view as to how Eliot portrayed his
> faith in later life, it's clear (to my mind) that he struggled with it from
> as early as 1910 (see, for instance "Silence" in *IMH*). Again only as
> far as I can tell, God was part of his earliest religious inquiries. As for
> his penchant for mysticism, it would be useful to consider his study of
> Eastern and Western philosophy at Harvard and in Paris. In the critical
> biographies I mentioned (and in Lyndall Gordon's biographies), you'll find
> nuanced accounts of both of these this complex issues, from Eliot's
> Unitarian background to his study of philosophy to his religious conversion
> and beyond. Any attempt to summarize his protracted path to the Church
> would, I'm afraid, be reductive to the point of error. Although it would be
> nice if there were an easy answer, no?
>
> Best of luck,
> John
>
>
> On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 3:33 PM, John Angell Grant <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Thanks, John, for the pointers.  That is very helpful.  Eliot made such
>> a to-do about his faith, especially in the latter part of his life.  His
>> arrogance and judgmentalness, however, contradict what some would say are
>> basic teachings of his faith; so perhaps those behaviors are channeled
>> through Puritan New England roots.  But where did the god connection
>> come from, and the mysticism come from?  I can see that the mysticism
>> may have come from the poets (Dante, Baudelaire), but where did the god
>> connection come from?  His mother?
>>
>>
>> Best,
>>
>>
>> j.
>>
>> On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM, John Morgenstern <
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> John,
>>>
>>> Your query assumes nothing (implicitly or otherwise) other than that
>>> you're interested in thinking more about Eliot's faith (or, as some might
>>> say, "struggle with faith"). You're right to remark that Pound's early
>>> reactions to Eliot's Catholicism were hardly positive and a host of critics
>>> have since responded rather dismissively to it (William Skaff, Adam Kirsch,
>>> and the Catholic writer Joseph Bottum to name a few). Your question is a
>>> serious one, which should not be dismissed so easily, and certainly not
>>> with closed-mindedness.
>>>
>>> There's a substantial body of scholarship on Eliot and religion. You
>>> might begin with a few critical biographies, which deal with the subject
>>> rather aptly and accessibly: Denis Donoghue's *Words Alone* (2000),
>>> Helen Gardner's *The Art of T. S. Eliot* (1949), or Russell Kirk's *Eliot
>>> and His Age* (revised edition 2008), all of which are still relevant.
>>> More recently, Barry Spurr  published a monograph on Eliot's
>>> Anglo-Catholicism, *Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T. S. Eliot and
>>> Christianity*, a condensed version of which appeared in *T. S. Eliot in
>>> Context*, edited by Jason Harding. Later this year, the journal *Religion
>>> and Literature* will publish a special issue on Eliot's religion
>>> (edited by Craig Woelfel and Dominic Manganiello) and Benjamin Lockerd is
>>> editing a case study on the subject for Farleigh Dickinson University
>>> Press.
>>>
>>> I hope this list helps. No doubt other modernists would suggest
>>> alternative points of departure, but this list should at least give you a
>>> place to break in.
>>>
>>> Kindest wishes,
>>> John
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hallo
>>>>
>>>> The reasoning implicit in your query appears to be that 'belief in God'
>>>> wasn't / isn't the rational or proper personal faith of someone of Eliot's
>>>> intellectual calibre.
>>>>
>>>> That, I'd suggest, unjustifiably belittles the intellectual capacities
>>>> of both Eliot and a veritiable host of others.
>>>>
>>>> On 29 May 2012 18:19, John Angell Grant <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Why did T.S. Eliot believe in god?
>>>>>
>>>>> Pound and others found Eliot's belief in god incomprehensible.
>>>>>
>>>>> Can anyone steer me to the scholarship on this issue, the issue of why
>>>>> Eliot believed in god?
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks in advance for any ideas.
>>>>>
>>>>> John
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>