This essay argues that Eliot's notion of the 'point of intersection' represents his most extended attempt to conceptualise his own poetics. To attend to the 'point of intersection' is to discover Eliot's primary account of how the language of his verse takes us beyond the usual limits of knowledge. But the 'point of intersection' has a wider resonance. By demonstrating the ways in which Eliot's notion of the 'point of intersection' emerges from his reading of Karl Barth and Matthew Arnold, this essay shows how Eliot's account of his own poetics is invested in a series of broader questions about what it is possible to know: is it ever possible to know that which transcends the realm of human life or do we extend our knowledge only to find that we are bound forever to inhabit the closed world of secular modernity?


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pp. 343-359
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