With rarely granted permission of the T. S. Eliot Estate, John Farrell committed to memory the 886 lines of Four Quartets and now tours internationally with his recitation of Eliot’s epic poem. An unquestioned masterpiece of 20th-century literature, Four Quartets is a complex, deeply moving meditation on time, memory, and human striving toward the divine.
Eliot completed Four Quartets in 1941, as Britain slid into the abyss of World War II, and he feared that civilization itself might perish in the coming years. Writing at the height of his artistic powers, Eliot packed into Four Quartets a summation of his views on poetry and art, on mystical experience, and on humankind's relationship to history and time.
John's recitation of Four Quartets affords audiences an opportunity to immerse themselves in these gorgeous lines of poetry, spoken from memory, and renew their understanding of one of the 20th century's most exceptional poets.
Recited from memory by
John Farrell, Artistic Director
of Figures of Speech Theatre
T. S. Eliot's
John Farrell's performance of Four Quartets is not only technically flawless, but also deeply moving, as he transforms himself into an instrument through which Eliot's poetry can pour and embody itself, a cry from one human life to another.
Annie Finch, Poet and Former Director
Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing