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Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets (Sapientia Classics) [Paperback]

By Thomas Howard (Author)
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Item description for Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets (Sapientia Classics) by Thomas Howard...

"Burnt Norton," "East Coker," "The Dry Salvages," and "Little Gidding" represent the high point in Eliot's religious poetry. Howard, who has taught these passages for years, has written this delightful "reading" commentary on the language and its meaning, the poet and his views on Christianity. 148 pages, softcover. Ignatius.

Publishers Description
T.S. Eliot is widely considered the most important and most influential poet of the 20th century. Many consider Four Quartets to be the finest of his poems and his greatest achievement. In this masterful journey into the beauties and depths of Eliot's masterpiece, the bestselling author, professor and critic Thomas Howard unravels the complexities of the sublime poem with such adept adroitness that even its most difficult passages spring to life. During his long years as a professor teaching English and Literature, Howard taught this poem often, and developed what he calls "a reading" approach to the concepts of this masterpiee to render its meaning more lucid for the reader. Therefore, this is not a "scholarly" work, but rather the brilliant insights of a master teacher and writer whose understanding of this profound poem and his deep love for the writing of Eliot are shared here for the great benefit of the reader.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets (Sapientia Classics) by Thomas Howard has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Books & Culture - 01/01/2009 page 41

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   148
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.98" Width: 5.86" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2006
Publisher   Ignatius Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  1586170406  
ISBN13  9781586170400  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thomas Howard

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Thomas Howard was a Professor of English and Literature for over 30 years. He is the author of numerous popular books including Chance or the Dance, Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, On Being Catholic, Lead Kindly Light and Evangelical is Not Enough.

Thomas Howard currently resides in Boston, in the state of Massachusetts. Thomas Howard was born in 1934.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( E ) > Eliot, T.S.
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets (Sapientia Classics)?

The Negative Way  Apr 13, 2006
This is the first book I've found in the "Sapientia Classics" imprint from Ignatius Press (sapientia means wisdom), although at least one other title, Shakespeare the Papist is also out. T.S. Eliot, widely regarded as a (perhaps "the") modernist poet, was an anglo-Catholic. The anglo part has gotten much commentary; here the Catholic side comes into play.

Thomas Howard has essentially written a companion for Eliot's poetry cycle, "The Four Quartets," designed to be read alongside the poem(s)so one needs a copy of the poem to read along with this book. But many readers also find Howard daunting because of his large vocabulary (see On Being Catholic or Chance or the Dance), so one may also want a dictionary handy. Neither Howard's book nor Eliot's poem(s) are as hard to understand as George William Rutler's introduction, however, which is filled with brilliant insights and bon mots but--wink wink--assumes we have a lot of inside information on all things modernist and Eliotelian.

Thankfully Howard doesn't do that; rather he draws us in by drawing out the poem(s), which he finds is (are) about what Charles Williams called the via negativa or the negative way. You can find it in The Cloud of Unknowing or St. John of the Cross' dark night of the soul (an experience post-modernists readily relate to), but Howard finds it most of all in C.S. Lewis' friend and fellow Inkling, Charles Williams.

That's rather natural since Eliot and Williams were friends and Eliot wrote an introduction to Williams' novel, All Hallows Eve. Howard, who refers to Williams here and there throughout this book also authored The Novels of Charles Williams and took the book's title from Williams' The Descent of the Dove: A History of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Not that you need to read CW to understand Eliot or Howard, both of whom do a good job explaining and invoking the way of negation. But Williams also wrote of another way, the way of affirmation. Howard proves a faithful guide to both writers so that readers interested in both ways, having closed Dove Descending may move seamlessly to The Novels of Charles Williams.
Nothing anybody might say will prepare you for this book, a pilgrimage in itself--and most excellent Lenten reading. Eliot hated footnotes, so that's all I have to say.
Robert Bove

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