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Is it always my fault?

Denis Donoghue: T.S. Eliot

25 January 2007
T.S.​ Eliot 
by Craig Raine.
Oxford, 202 pp., £12.99, January 2007, 978 0 19 530993 5
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... In 1929, in his essay on Dante, T.S.Eliot wrote: But the question of what Dante ‘believed’ is always relevant. It would not matter, if the world were divided between those persons who are capable of taking poetry simply for what it is ...
24 November 1988
T.S. Eliot​ and Prejudice 
by Christopher Ricks.
Faber, 290 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 571 15254 6
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... T.S.Eliot and Prejudice. Keats and Embarrassment. The parallel between the title of Christopher Ricks’s new book and that of his earlier study of Keats is not accidental. In each case he takes a state of ...

The Braver Thing

Christopher Ricks

1 November 1984
T.S.​ Eliot 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 241 11349 0
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Recollections Mainly of Artists and Writers 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Chatto, 195 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 7011 2791 0
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... Peter Ackroyd has written a benign life of T.S.Eliot. Given the malignity visited on Eliot, this is a good deal. Fair-minded, broad-minded and assiduous, here is a thoroughly decent book. It has none of the sleazy sanctimony of Robert Sencourt’s biography, or the vanity of T.S. Matthews ...

The Devilish God

David Wheatley: T.S. Eliot

1 November 2001
Words Alone: The Poet T.S.​ Eliot 
by Denis Donoghue.
Yale, 326 pp., £17.95, January 2001, 0 300 08329 7
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Adam’s Curse: Reflections on Religion and Literature 
by Denis Donoghue.
Notre Dame, 178 pp., £21.50, May 2001, 0 268 02009 4
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... Few presences were more imposing in postwar poetry than that of T.S.Eliot, but from his eminence as the Pope of Russell Square, Eliot has now shrunk to something more like a holy ghost. Pound’s right-wing unpleasantness, because so deranged, seems somehow more forgivable, to the huddled ranks of Poundians at least. Critics ...

What was left out

Lawrence Rainey: Eliot’s Missing Letters

3 December 2009
The Letters of T.S. EliotVol. I: 1898-1922 
edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton.
Faber, 871 pp., £35, November 2009, 978 0 571 23509 4
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... The final letter in the first edition of the first volume of T.S.Eliot’s letters, edited by Valerie Eliot, the poet’s second wife, and published in 1988, appeared on page 618; the same letter in the new edition concludes on page 816. Yet those figures may understate the extent of the transformation ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Not a Little Kafkaesque

20 March 2014
... hotels. The advance would have to cover that. Plus I have no brothers.’ ‘We might be able to swing enough to pay for the hotels, but the brother thing is probably a deal-breaker. What about T.S.Eliot?’ ‘I used to know The Waste Land by heart because I had a tape of it I would listen to on my Walkman as a teenager.’ ‘A T.S.Eliot mixtape! It humanises you and taps the nostalgia boom. That ...
5 May 1988
... When the prospect of this evening’s honours was first mooted I was aware that T.S.Eliot had praised W.B. Yeats for not allowing himself to become a mere coathanger upon which the world draped its honours, but could assuage myself by thinking that Eliot had never witnessed the Merton ...

I gotta use words

Mark Ford: Eliot​ speaks in tongues

10 August 2016
The Poems of T.S. EliotVolume I: Collected & Uncollected Poems 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 1311 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23870 5
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The Poems of T.S. EliotVolume II: Practical Cats & Further Verses 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 667 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23371 7
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... The first person​ to annotate a poem by T.S.Eliot was T.S.Eliot. His notes on The Waste Land (1922) were composed partly so that his 433-line poem could be issued by his American publishers Boni & Liveright as a book, and partly, as he recalled in ‘The ...
29 September 1988
Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S.​ Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot​ and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot​ and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S.​ Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. EliotThe Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... The idea that Eliot’s poetry was rooted in private aspects of his life has now been accepted,’ says Lyndall Gordon in the Foreword to her second volume of biographical rooting among these aspects. This acceptance ...
24 January 1980
Looking for Laforgue 
by David Arkell.
Carcanet, 248 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 85635 285 3
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A Night of Serious Drinking 
by René Daumal, translated by David Coward.
Routledge, 150 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7100 0325 0
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... to see an official biography adding more than superfluous detail. He brings us close to the living temper of a poet who is still fairly unknown to English-speakers but who, through his impact on T.S.Eliot, could claim to be the inventor of modern poetry. Laforgue’s short life was full of dramatic changes. Born in 1860 in Montevideo, he was brought to France at the age of six. (The 75-day voyage ...
22 May 1980
Trying to Explain 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 85635 343 4
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... Since Byron and Landor, no Englishman appears to have profited much from living abroad.’ So said an American who rightly believed himself to be profiting from living abroad, T.S.Eliot in England in 1918, honouring the American who had likewise profited and who had then become – as Eliot would – an Englishman: Henry James. ‘The fact of being everywhere a foreigner was ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot​ a Swell?

18 April 2019
The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... This edition​ of T.S.Eliot’s correspondence has so far reached only 1938 (he died in 1965), but there are already more than seven thousand pages of his letters in print, with hundreds more available on tseliot.com, and many ...

A Lot of Travail

Michael Wood: T.S. Eliot’s Letters

3 December 2009
The Letters of T.S. EliotVol. II: 1923-25 
edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton.
Faber, 878 pp., £35, November 2009, 978 0 571 14081 7
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... I think,’ T.S.Eliot wrote in February 1923, ‘it will take me a year or two to throw off The Waste Land and settle down and get at something better which is tormenting me by its elusiveness in my brain.’ The ...

Diary

Victor Sage: On Lorna Sage

7 June 2001
... When I was fifteen and a half I received a letter from my new friend Lorna Stockton which announced that she was reading T.S.Eliot, ‘in a tree’. I stared at these words in alarm: who was this T.S.Eliot? Trees, for me, were climbing frames full of cunningly shaped, preferably fatal, challenges to ascent and had no relation ...

Eliot’s End

Graham Hough

6 March 1980
Thomas Stearns Eliot, Poet 
by A.D. Moddy.
Cambridge, 365 pp., £12.50, March 1979, 0 521 22065 3
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Theory and Personality: the Significance of T.S. Eliot’s Criticism 
by Brian Lee.
Athlone, 148 pp., £9.95, November 1979, 0 485 11185 3
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... For the last 45 years – ever since Matthiessen’s book in 1935 – the steady flow of critical lucubration on T.S.Eliot has gone on unabated. Not particularly contentious – at any rate since the early days, not particularly progressive – it does not seem to be getting anywhere, it has settled down into a ...

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