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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 achieved by the new edition ...
Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-17 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Christopher Ricks.
Faber, 428 pp., £30, September 1996, 0 571 17895 2
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... and by manuscript drafts such as the 1971 facsimile of the manuscript of The Waste Land, edited by Valerie Eliot. Though some of Eliot’s verses not included in the 1963 Collected Poems were published in 1967 under the title Poems of Early Youth, it has long been known that a notebook containing other early ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 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, which she evidently approves, has undoubtedly occurred, as a root through the enormous heap of books about the poet, now augmented by the centenary of his birth, will quickly demonstrate ...

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 2019, 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 thousands yet to come. Edited for the most part by John Haffenden, the edition builds on the collection made by the late Valerie Eliot and on many archives (especially those of Faber ...

Subjective Correlative

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 11 August 2016

... typist. In March I started work at Faber, as the advertising manager’s secretary. Faber was T.S. Eliot’s firm: my father was very impressed. I shared an office with two other secretaries, one of them Eliot’s. She was called Angela, not Valerie: ...

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 something better was probably the never finished ‘Sweeney Agonistes’, since ‘The Hollow Men’, the only other poem he worked on between 1923 and 1925, must surely have been less elusive ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... As it is I drive back to London not with second thoughts but chastened certainly.11 November. T.S. Eliot I only saw once, sometime in 1964. It was on the old Central Station in Leeds, long since demolished, which was the terminus for the London trains. I was with Timothy Binyon, with whom I had been at college and who in 1964 was a lecturer in Russian at Leeds ...

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 ...

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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... At the end of June 1915, T.S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood, both 27 years old, were married in a London register office. They had been introduced less than three months earlier by mutual friends in Oxford, where Eliot had been spending the year reading in the Bodleian and working on his Harvard doctoral dissertation in philosophy ...

I can’t, I can’t

Anne Diebel: Edel v. the Rest, 21 November 2013

Monopolising the Master: Henry James and the Politics of Modern Literary Scholarship 
by Michael Anesko.
Stanford, 280 pp., £30.50, March 2012, 978 0 8047 6932 7
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... and The Golden Bowl. After his death in 1916 his reputation rose steadily, buoyed by T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound in the 1920s and later by R.P. Blackmur and Lionel Trilling among other critics, who brought about the ‘James Revival’ which began in the 1940s and is still going strong. James did much in his lifetime to build up a name a developer could ...

Buffed-Up Scholar

Stefan Collini: Eliot and the Dons, 30 August 2012

Letters of T.S. EliotVol. III: 1926-27 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 954 pp., £40, July 2012, 978 0 571 14085 5
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... Writing in his best haughty-provocative manner, T.S. Eliot described Coleridge as ‘one of those unhappy persons … of whom one might say that if they had not been poets, they might have made something of their lives, might even have had a career’. Although the syntax allows a little ambiguity about whether the unhappiness is independent of, or consequent on, being a poet, the obvious reading suggests a somewhat laboured sarcasm about the way the propensity for writing poetry can blight the exercise of other talents, talents that might have led to success in more orthodox careers ...

I gotta use words

Mark Ford: Eliot speaks in tongues, 11 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 Frontiers of Criticism’ (1956), ‘with a view to spiking the guns of critics of my earlier poems who had accused me of plagiarism ...

Why didn’t he commit suicide?

Frank Kermode: Reviewing T.S. Eliot, 4 November 2004

T.S. EliotThe Contemporary Reviews 
by Jewel Spears Brooker.
Cambridge, 644 pp., £80, May 2004, 0 521 38277 7
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... the editor describes as ‘the most comprehensive collection of contemporary reviews of T.S. Eliot’s work as it appeared’. There are other such collections, but this one will be enough for most people. The editor is American, and she is contributing to a series which gives the same treatment to Emerson, Edith Wharton, Ellen ...

A Year upon the Sofa

Dinah Birch, 8 May 1997

Eve’s Renegades: Victorian Anti-Feminist Women Novelists 
by Valerie Sanders.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £42.50, September 1996, 0 333 59563 7
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... Historians of Victorian women’s writing have found this a particularly unappealing task. George Eliot’s steady opposition to women’s suffrage is an embarrassment, and it is not encouraging to find Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell united in their distaste for the robust feminist arguments of John Stuart Mill. ‘In short, J.S. Mill’s head is, I ...

Frock Consciousness

Rosemary Hill: Fashion and frocks, 20 January 2000

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Fashion Writing 
edited by Judith Watt.
Viking, 360 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 670 88215 1
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Twentieth-Century Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £8.95, November 1999, 0 500 20321 0
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A Century of Fashion 
by François Baudot.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £19.95, November 1999, 0 500 28178 5
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The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914 
by Christopher Breward.
Manchester, 278 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 7190 4799 4
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Black in Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 144 pp., £35, October 1999, 1 85177 278 2
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... next century. It is hard to find instances that she has missed. She could have had Betjeman and Eliot – Prufrock after all exists largely through his clothes. But I doubt many men born since 1918 could equal the precision of ‘my collar mounting firmly to the chin,/My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin’. As for descriptions of ...

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