Abstract

In this essay I will suggest intersections between scientific and religious apocalypse as depicted in T.S. Eliot's poetic cosmology and astronomy. The primary focus of my paper will be a close-reading of The Hollow Men (1925), as I argue that the poem is awkwardly placed between the "whimper" of astronomical entropy and the "bang" of a longed-for divine apocalypse. Beyond this, I will suggest that the cosmic agony of The Hollow Men extends beyond Eliot's conversion, setting up a dilemma that it takes him until Four Quartets, with its ultimate melding of art, faith and science, to fully resolve. Ultimately, I will suggest that the greater openness toward religion displayed by contemporary science, particularly the more comforting, Christian visions of the end of the universe depicted by the Quaker scientist Arthur Eddington were as much a part of this eventual poetic resolution as Eliot's conversion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 139-157
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-18
Open Access
No
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