Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
–From ‘Burnt Norton’
T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ is often described as the best long poem of the 20th century. Eliot’s vast final work attempted to order and understand the movement of time, the dissatisfaction of worldly experience, the nature of purgation and the struggle towards artistic wholeness and spiritual health (modified from C.K. Stead). In the poem, Eliot weaves belief systems and diverse influences including Dante, The Bhagavad Gita, The Eightfold Path of Buddhism, the New Testament, medieval mystics, Greek myths and the Grail Legend: so our study will also involve comparing wisdom traditions.
I will provide each participant with pages of annotations and reference reading (gratefully donated by Mike McGarry, fellow educator and philosopher)—but as always with the Salon work, the focus is on the text itself. In previous Salons, we have found our way to thoughtful considerations of various belief systems in a respectful atmosphere; this study will open up space for such considerations using the poem as a spring board. What we believe—as individuals, as cultures—addresses how we live and how we try to invest our lives with meaning. Eliot is taking on these elemental questions through his Anglo-Catholic faith but drawing into this perspective wisdom across time and beliefs.
- Facilitated by Toby Brothers
- Tuesday evenings 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Four meetings over five weeks (no meeting November 12th)
- Meetings in Kentish Town
- T.S. Eliot’s Collected Poems 1909-62 (Faber & Faber; ISBN-13: 978-0571105489).
- £95 for the four sessions
TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button below to pay £95. Opening notes will be sent shortly after registration. The study is limited to 11 participants. Please contact us if you have any questions.