Two early pointers

Lyndall Gordon: 'Eliot's Early Years', p. 15 & pp.34-35

"In June 1910 [Eliot] wrote a poem...called 'Silence', his first and perhaps most lucid description of the timeless moment... At the age of twenty-one Eliot had one of those experiences which, he said, many have had once or twice in their lives and been unable to put into words.* [*The Listener (19 Dec. 1946), p. 895] 'You may call it communion with the Divine or you may call it temporary crystallization of the mind', he said on another occasion.* [*Selected Essays. London: Faber, 1932, p. 358] 

"Eliot once said that his mind was naturally inclined to the metaphysical, and any mystical experience which put him in touch with another kind of existence would be treasured and made much of.* [*The Listener (19 Dec. 1946), p. 895] 'Silence' was the forerunner of later beatific moments in Eliot's work". 

"Through his mother, in particular, Eliot was steeped in Emersonian thinking which gave final authority to the individual's private light (there is nothing else beside, Eliot wrote in 'Silence').  


Peter Ackroyd: 'T.S. Eliot: A Life' (p.27)

"One childhood incident, which [Eliot] recalled in a radio talk many years later* [*Eliot speaking in 'Personal Choice', 30 December 1957. BBC sound archives], suggests the direction in which he was propelled. While he was a boy, he went to the dentist once a week or so to have his teeth straightened. In the waiting room there, he found a complete collection of the works of Edgar Allen Poe which he proceeded to read through. When he turned to Poe's story, 'The Assignation', he saw its epigraph taken from a poem by Henry King:

Stay for me there, I will not fail 
To meet thee in that hollow vale . . .

Eliot described how the lines so affected him that he could not rest until he had read the poem entire."



From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God?

It was in Peter Ackroyd's biography, perhaps, that I read Eliot responding to a query about the proof of God's existence -- he said one needed to look for that within one's own experience. That's not an answer to your question, though, I'm afraid, John.


From: John Angell Grant <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God?
Sent: Tue, May 29, 2012 5:19:03 PM

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.