Description: In his 1916 dissertation, Eliot asserted that individuals were locked into finite centers and that all knowledge was epistemologically relative, but he also believed that finite centers could be transcended through language. In the essay "Lancelot Andrewes,'" Eliot identified Andrewes's "relevant intensity," a method very close to nonsensical verse. Eliot used Andrewes's Word and the impersonality of nonsense verse in Ash Wednesday. The Word, God's logos, embodied the Virgin Mary as its source, and allowed Eliot to transcend the finite center through language. Ultimately, Eliot philosophically empowered the feminine as the source of the Word. Though failing to fully empower the earthly Lady in part II of Ash Wednesday, Eliot did present a philosophical plan for transcending the finite center through language.
Date: August 1992
Creator: Adams, Stephen D. (Stephen Duane)