Burnt and Blossoming: Material Mysticism in Trilogy and Four Quartets

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This paper brings two WWII poems into dialogue: H.D.’s Trilogy and Eliot’s Four Quartets. Both poems express a creative response to the destruction of war. My reading of Trilogy suggests a material mysticism in which vision and renewal are situated within the natural world, rituals and bodily experience. Bringing this understanding of mysticism to bear on Four Quartets reveals tension between transcendence and materiality. For Eliot, redemption comes through time and location, while for H.D., redemption lies within material particularity. Four Quartets oscillates between an apophatic discourse that seeks to transcend desire and history and an emphasis on material particularities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-142
Number of pages22
JournalChristianity & Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • H.D., T. S. Eliot, mysticism, negative theology, Apophatic mysticsm, Trilogy, Four Quartets, feminist theology


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