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This article is about a poem by T. S. Eliot. For other uses, see Ash Wednesday (disambiguation).

Ash Wednesday (sometimes Ash-Wednesday) is the first long poem written by T. S. Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism. Published in 1930 (see 1930 in poetry), this poem deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to move towards God.

Sometimes referred to as Eliot's "conversion poem", Ash-Wednesday, with a base of Dante's Purgatorio, is richly but ambiguously allusive and deals with the move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation. The style is different from his poetry which predates his conversion. "Ash-Wednesday" and the poems that followed had a more casual, melodic, and contemplative method.

Many critics were "particularly enthusiastic concerning 'Ash-Wednesday'", while in other quarters it was not well received. Among many of the more secular literati its groundwork of orthodox Christianity was discomfiting. Edwin Muir maintained that "'Ash-Wednesday' is one of the most moving poems he [Eliot] has written, and perhaps the most perfect."


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