Journal Article

T. S. Eliot's ‘Ash‐Wednesday’ and <i>Four Quartets</i>: Poetic Confession as Psychotherapy

Dennis Brown

in Literature and Theology

Volume 17, issue 1, pages 1-16
Published in print March 2003 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
T. S. Eliot's ‘Ash‐Wednesday’ and Four Quartets: Poetic Confession as Psychotherapy

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The article considers T.S. Eliot's ‘Ash‐Wednesday’ and Four Quartets as confessional poetry in a double sense—as interpersonal communication before God, and to the reader. It is thus akin to the relationship between therapist and client in a counselling situation. ‘Ash‐Wednesday’ constitutes a Lenten preparation in which understanding is sought by means of an articulation of failure, loss and repentance. Four Quartets uses a similar confessional technique, evoking ‘peak’ moments (both primal scene and the site of mourning) out of which religious philosophising emerges as proposed ‘interpretation’. It is suggested that the poems resemble a confidential ‘talking cure’.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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