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Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot, 1917-1932 Essay | Critical Essay #4

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Critical Essay #4

This same logic, writ large, informs the spiritual allegory that Eliot traces in "The Pensées of Pascal." Pascal begins in "despair," a pocket of despair so deep and dark, a clear-cut emotion that "corresponds [so] exactly to the facts" of an unillumined, spiritually sere world, that it "cannot be dismissed as mental disease." Because Pascal was "a man of strong passions," his passions threatened, terrified, tyrannized so long as no "spiritual explanation"—no intellectual explanation adequate to his felt demon— "could be found." But then, by a process of logic that fills Eliot with awe, Pascal comes to recognize that "if certain emotional states . . . are inherently and by inspection known to be good, then the satisfactory explanation of the world"—the adequate explanation— "must be an explanation which will admit the 'reality' of these values." It follows, therefore, that if the "emotional...

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This section contains 1,015 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot, 1917-1932 Study Guide
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Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot, 1917-1932 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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