Meditating on Four Quartets Paperback – 12 Dec 1988
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Booty's work is relatively short, more essay than book. It is divided into four sections, each on one of the Quartets. He goes through each portion of the poem summarizing it, and I find that too often he attempts to explain to the reader something he already understands. The book's real failing is that while Booty intended to over a truly religious reading of the poem. his analysis does not differ much from secular criticism of the poem.
One of the few redeeming qualities of Booty's work is that it does attempt to place "Four Quartets" in the context of Anglican poetry in general, and quotations from John Donne and Henry Vaughan among others shows how Eliot's work compares. Still, I don't think that is enough. I would not recommend MEDITATING ON FOUR QUARTETS, though I would recommend "Four Quartets", and a very attentive reading of it, over nearly any other work of literature. Stick to the original poem and perhaps some more substantial critical works.
Booty does not attempt to offer a "comprehensive analysis" of every minor detail, but aims at explaining the poems' themes and progression. Where appropriate, he uses biographical narrative or explains Eliot's literary sources.
You need to keep an actual copy of Four Quartets alongside, and I recommend that you read Four Quartets all in one sitting a time or two before beginning Booty's book, so that you can follow the conversation.
If you only read one book about Eliot's Four Quartets, this should be it.
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