The Existential Angst Behind Eliot's Spiritual Quest 

"[M]an struggles pitifully, matching his puny strength against the huge impersonal forces of this cosmic process, age after age, aeon after aeon over measures of time beyond thought, swept along by currents of passion in a void that he peoples with the phantoms of desire". -- 'Dimensions of Buddhist Thought' by Francis Story 

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                           What will the spider do,          
Suspend its operations, will the weevil
Delay? De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled
Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear
In fractured atoms. Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,          
White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims ...
 
              ('Gerontion') 

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       Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage ... 

      There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.
               ('The Dry Salvages') 

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The torment of existential void is apparently behind Eliot's spiritual quest.  

CR



Do I dare    
Disturb the universe?

-- Prufrock



The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

-- 'Preludes'




“Some one frames upon the keys
 That exquisite nocturne, with which we explain
 The night and moonshine; music which we seize
 To body forth our own vacuity.” 

  -- 'Conversation Galante' 



"I should have been a pair of ragged claws
 Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

An angst that has never ceased to haunt us ??? 

CR

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"Looking into the heart of light, the silence." 

Memento Mori: Existentialism, The Waste Land and Rosencrantz 


CR



T S Eliot: Prufrock and Other Observations 
MALCOLM HEBRON 

Very insightful.
CR