Aspects of asceticism in the poetry of T. S. Eliot
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This thesis examines asceticism in T. S. Eliot's poetry by recapitulating his education in mysticism and theology then applying both the texts and doctrines to Eliot's poetry. Harvard's Houghton Library contains a record of approximately thirty books that he read during his graduate study, and a partial list appeared in Lyndall Gordon's 1977 biography T. S. Eliot's Early Years. Yet, these works have received little critical attention, and this is the first study to examine these works significantly. Intense reading of these neglected sources composes a large portion of the research for this thesis and offers original insight into the theme of asceticism. Eliot's poetry frequently displays broad ideals of asceticism—often in the form of discipline and purgation, but the nature of the asceticism is not consistent. In the poems before his conversion, Eliot engages significantly with his education by portraying ascetic failures and their consequences. After Eliot's conversion, the asceticism becomes more orthodox in nature, and the doctrines encountered early in life are openly espoused.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic copy restricted until 22nd August 2017
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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