Ralph Fiennes in Four Quartets
So begins (and ends) ‘East Coker’, the second of the four poems which make up T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which now receives a major solo rendition in the West End, self-directed by Ralph Fiennes. Widely considered Eliot’s last great poetic work, it is a text deeply concerned with time, beyond the limitations of human perception – influenced by traditions and texts ranging from the Pre-Socratics in Ancient Greece to Hinduism, Julian of Norwich and his own ‘anglo-catholic’ beliefs (as he self-described, without the customary capitalisation, in 1929).
Eliot writes with an after-dinner wit and a focused philosophical seriousness all at once, which is dryly conveyed by Fiennes’ manner, fluctuating between offhand and earnestly supplicatory at a moment’s notice. Lines such as ‘You…
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