What was left out

Lawrence Rainey

  • The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Vol. I: 1898-1922 edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton
    Faber, 871 pp, £35.00, November 2009, ISBN 978 0 571 23509 4

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. The earlier edition contained 509 letters by T.S. Eliot, 37 by his first wife, Vivien, and 40 by various others. The new edition adds 195 more letters by Eliot, another 27 by Vivien and 33 others. In total, then, it prints 255 new letters.

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Volume III is discussed by Michael Wood in this issue.