Buddhist Conceptual Rhyming and T.S.Eliot's Crisis of Connection in TheWaste Land and ‘Burnt Norton’ (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  23 ,  4  ;  365-378  ;  2013

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In this essay, I elaborate a reading of the Buddhist allusions throughout T.S. Eliot's poetry as being not confessions of Buddhist faith or merely syncretic experiments, but rather ‘conceptual rhymes’ with the crisis of personal connection that preoccupies Eliot across multiple texts. In the Buddhist concepts of pratītya-samutpāda, śūnyatā, saṃsāra, and the pretas, Eliot finds thematic resonances with his own emotional and psychological concerns and so alludes to these concepts in ‘The Fire Sermon’ section of The Waste Land and ‘Burnt Norton’ of Four Quartets as part of his characteristic poetic collage. By examining the connection between Eliot's personal poetic practice and the cross-cultural traditions upon which he drew, my argument intervenes in a long-standing debate regarding the meaning of Asian religio-philosophical influences in the poet's key texts. Moreover, by close reading the third movement of ‘Burnt Norton’ for Buddhist allusions, I attempt to refocus scrutiny of Buddhism in Eliot from the oft-discussed ‘Fire Sermon’ section of The Waste Land to Eliot's later Four Quartets, which remains under-examined for its Buddhist influences by scholars who instead attend to the latter text's more pronounced Vedic references.

Table of contents – Volume 23, Issue 4

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305
Buddhist Impact on Chinese Culture
Guang, Xing | 2013
323
Mettābhāvanā in Traditional and Popular Buddhist Contexts
Patel, Deven M. | 2013
341
Fields of Merit, Harvests of Health: Some Notes on the Role of Medical Karma in the Popularization of Buddhism in Early Medieval China
Salguero, C. Pierce | 2013
350
Re-Creation of Rituals in Humanistic Buddhism: A Case Study of FoGuangShan
Yu, Xue | 2013
365
Buddhist Conceptual Rhyming and T.S.Eliot's Crisis of Connection in TheWaste Land and ‘Burnt Norton’
Bruno, Tim | 2013
ebi
Editorial Board
| 2013
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