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In the Hyacinth Garden

Richard Poirier: ‘But oh – Vivienne!’

3 April 2003
Painted Shadow: A Life of Vivienne Eliot 
by Carole Seymour-Jones.
Constable, 702 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 84119 636 3
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... to have buried his face in his hands and cried out: ‘Oh God, oh God.’ The accounts of the Eliots’ married life found in Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Eliot or Lyndall Gordon’s or, now, in CaroleSeymour-Jones’s book may disagree about the primary cause of the failure of the marriage or the degree of Tom and Vivienne’s responsibility for it, but all of them repeat the same litanies of ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot

21 September 2006
T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... for Jean Verdenal is to make it a much less interesting poem than it is. It’s worth also pointing out that Eliot married not once but twice, and that despite all the research of such as Miller and CaroleSeymour-Jones (whose biography of Vivien Eliot, Painted Shadow, figured Eliot as indubitably and actively gay), no smoking gun has been found. In his 1984 biography, Peter Ackroyd concluded that ...

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