This paper aims to investigate T.S. Eliot’s interest in poetic musicality with a major focus on the long-debated issue of Beethovenian influence on his Four Quartets. The investigation into possible intermedial relations will be carried out through: a cultural contextualization of Beethoven’s reception in literary Modernism; an aesthetic contextualization of Eliot’s modernist poetics, with specific references to his critical reflections on the musical potentialities of poetry, on music and on Beethoven; a textual analysis of the poem. The reading of the Quartets’ musicality will be grounded on an interpretation of Eliot’s idea of “intersection” which is at once conceptual, thematic, and formal. It will be argued that in Eliot’s poem this notion works as a formal and figuratively musical device which unites music and the religious Incarnation in a fusion of words, the Word and music. Eliot’s achievement of signifying a transcendence which is formally mimicked by the very poetic words also uncovers his Beethovenian clue since he finally manages “To get beyond poetry, as Beethoven, in his later works, strove to get beyond music”.
Stevanato, S. (2021). “Quale musica per T.S. Eliot? Suggestioni beethoveniane”. RIVISTA DI LETTERATURE MODERNE E COMPARATE, LXXIV(3), 317-338.