T.S. Eliot’s deep interest in Indian philosophical systems has long been acknowledged, but surprisingly little exploration of their influence on his poetry and drama has been undertaken. In T.S. Eliot, Vedanta, and Buddhism, Sri juxtaposes the essential perceptions of Indian thought with Eliot’s work to illuminate his vision of the human condition.
Years after his Harvard studies in Sanskrit and philosophy and his decision not to embrace the subject in the conventional academic sense, Eliot explained that his ‘only hope of penetrating to the heart of the mystery would lie in forgetting how to think and feel as an American or a European.’ But, though he was committed to Christian doctrine and an ‘occidental personality,’ Eliot realized that his poetry showed the influence of Indian thought and sensibility.
Sri notes all the direct references to the Hindu and Buddhist texts from The Waste Land and Four Quartets through The Cocktail Party, but his main concern is to show Eliot’s implicit fusion of Indian philosophical themes and symbols with the Western worldview in an organic whole. This work highlights another dimension of his search for a unifying principle in the universe.
About the Author
P.S. Sri is an associate professor in the Department of Literature and Philosophy at Royal Roads Military College.
Table of Contents
1. Impermanence and Suffering
2. The Wheel
3. Craving and Maya
4. The Still Point
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Royal Military College of Canada