№ 13 2022

УДК / UDK: 821.111.0


Author: Temur Kobakhidze
About the author:

Temur Kobakhidze (1953–2022), Doctor Hab. in Philology, Professor, Institute of American Studies, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Chavchavadze str., 1, 380028 Tbilisi, Georgia.

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The paper is dedicated to the poem by T.S. Eliot Four Quartets (1943), it examines its artistic specificity, its poetic and musical peculiarities with their complex symbolic subtext and a whole layer of meanings. The organizing principle of the Four Quartets is the synthesis of myth and melos. The poem contains features “borrowed” from music so that the “musical energy” (melos) that is not yet a melody finds a specific poetic embodiment. Built on the principles of musical poetics, Eliot's poem contains various artistic images that alternate and combine according to the principle of the development of musical themes (like Wagner's leitmotifs) and their meaning does not remain the same, but is changing. Another similarity between the poem and a musical work is its timeless character: a full perception of the musical integrity of Four Quartets is achieved after repeated reading of the text, simultaneous experience of what has already been read and what has yet to be read — and this is like listening to a symphony, the desire to perceive it in its entirety, beyond time. The myth, in contrast to the quite specific mythologems of The Waste Land, in Four Quartets and its melodiousness, does not have any subject or plot even in its infancy and is rather represented by abstract, general ideas and archetypes. The article analyzes the archetypes and elementary symbols of Four Quartets (circle, square, quaternity, intersecting lines, etc.) and reveals their significance. The paper demonstrates that the imagery of Four Quartets is also based on Eliot's personal impressions, which merge with many “intellectual” associations and, refracting in the mythopoetic structure of the poem, turn into general, universal symbols.

Keywords: T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets, myth, melos, archetypes, musical poetics, mythopoetic structure, The Waste Land.
For citation:

Kobakhidze, Temur. “Myth and Melos in Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.” Literature of the Americas, no. 13 (2022): 177 –206.  


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