Repeated due to popular demand.


No poet of the 20th century has generated as much critical exposition as T. S. Eliot, and yet the mysterious power of his poetry continues to elude us.


The How To Academy’s second Eliot reading day will focus exclusively on the four long poems comprising Four Quartets – ‘Burnt Norton’, ‘East Coker’, ‘The Dry Salvages’, ‘Little Gidding’ – which Eliot considered his finest achievement and the pinnacle of his career.


Begun over a decade after The Waste Land first brought him attention and even notoriety, Four Quartets appeared individually between 1935 and 1942. More overtly philosophical than his earlier work, they uniquely blend poetic language and speculative suggestion about man’s relation to time, experience and eternity – through all of which a private voice is heard to speak for a generation caught in the midst of war and doubt (much of the poem was written during the air-raids on London), compelling us to listen: ‘My words echo thus, in your mind…’


Recommended reading: Collected Poems 1909-62 (Faber & Faber)


The Telegraph/How To Academy seminars, in association with Waterstones and Penguin Classics, celebrate the art of reading and the craft of criticism. In this unique series, we ask authors to stand before a page rather than a podium, to share a private passion rather than give a public performance – and we ask readers to roll up their sleeves and participate. In the course of a day, or a weekend, you will be guided in small groups through the historical and biographical context of the work and shown how to unlock its meanings, release its power, and absorb the quality of its strangeness. These intimate events will take place in a private room in the congenial surroundings of Waterstone’s Piccadilly, in central London.