A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’

Interesting Literature

A summary of Eliot’s classic poem

‘Burnt Norton’ is the first poem in T. S. Eliot’s last great cycle of poems, Four Quartets. It was published in 1935 as a standalone poem; it would only be five years later, when Eliot wrote ‘East Coker’, that he came up with the idea of writing four poems loosely based around significant places for Eliot. How we should analyse and interpret ‘Burnt Norton’ remains open to question. Is it a fine example of Eliot’s later devotional poetry, or does it show Eliot moving into abstraction and vagueness? You can read ‘Burnt Norton’ here.

Burnt Norton is a manor house in Gloucestershire, England, which Eliot visited with an old friend, Emily Hale, whom he had known as a youth in the United States. Following his separation from his first wife, Vivienne, in the early 1930s, Eliot rekindled his old friendship with Hale…

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