Mysticism and Myth - II: The Dantean Parallel

  • Paul Murray


Speaking about Dante in an address delivered at the Italian Institute, London, on 4 July 1950, Eliot remarked: ‘I… regard his poetry as the most persistent and deepest influence upon my own verse’.1 And again, later in the same talk, he declared:

Twenty years after writing The Waste Land, I wrote, in Little Gidding, a passage which is intended to be the nearest equivalent to a canto of the Inferno or the Purgatorio, in style as well as content, that I could achieve. The intention, of course, was the same as with my allusions to Dante in The Waste Land: to present to the mind of the reader a parallel, by means of contrast, between the Inferno and the Purgatorio, which Dante visited and a hallucinated scene after an air-raid.2


Mystical Experience Visual Imagination Human Love Human Affection Spiritual Quest 
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  1. 1.
    T. S. Eliot, ‘What Dante Means to Me’ (1950), in To Criticize the Critics and Other Writings (London, 1965 ) p. 125.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Graham Hough, ‘Vision and Doctrine in Four Quartets’, Critical Quarterly, 15 (1973) p. 109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 8.
    Denis Donoghue, ‘T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: a New Reading’, in Bernard Bergonzi (ed.), T.S. Eliot, ‘Four Quartets’: A Selection of Critical Essays (London, 1969 ) p. 212.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    T. S. Eliot, ‘George Herbert’ (‘Studies in Sanctity VIII’), Spectator (London) cxLvuL5411 (12 March 1932 ) p. 361.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    See Giorgio Petrocchi, ‘Dante and Thirteenth Century Asceticism’, in T. G. Bergin (ed.), From Time to Eternity: Essays on Dante's Divine Comedy (New Haven, 1967 ) pp. 39 – 64.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    See Bonamy Dobrée, ‘T. S. Eliot: a Personal Reminiscence’, in Allen Tate (ed.), T.S. Eliot: The Man and His Work (London, 1967 ) p. 81.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    See T. S. Eliot, ‘Shelly and Keats’ in The Uses of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (London, 1933 ) p. 95.Google Scholar
  8. 54.
    See T. S. Eliot, Elizabethan Dramatists (London, 1963 ) p. 7.Google Scholar
  9. 55.
    See T. S. Eliot, ‘Wanley and Chapman’, Times Literary Supplement (London), 1250 (31 December 1925 ) p. 907.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Murray 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Dominican Studium, Tallaght, and Angelicum UniversityRomeItaly

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