Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)


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T. S. Eliot

Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Though the letters themselves are a delicious success, I find particularly enticing his early predilection for green face powder and mascara; and I offer my thanks to Ivan C. Lett understands as few do the imperiled state of serious book reviewing in this country as how those who pursue the thankless task with integrity are increasingly being forced online or onto such venues as the NBCC-Goodreads. If so, why did he quote it? What will we do once the epistolary age has vanished?

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Bishop and Lowell at the 92nd St. Y, in that famous appearance just before his death. So argue with Smith. View 1 comment. Reading the letters of T. Eliot, or anyone's letters provided they are not an utterly boring person, famous or not, is fascinating. It's rather like being a Peeping Tom.

Or should I say a "Peeping T. Terrible joke.

The Letters of T S Eliot Volume 1 by Eliot Valerie Ed - AbeBooks

On to the review. On the front of this book, there is a blurb by the Boston Globe that reads, "A joy to read In fact, there wasn't really anything about Eliot as a person I didn't like.

T. S. Elliot - The Waste Land, 1 of 4

In these letters, everyone of them from boyhood to , when The Wasteland was published, Eliot comes off as an eminently sympathetic, eminently likable guy. He is a concerned, caring, sensitive person who is constantly worried about the comfort level and quality of life of everyone surrounding him.


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I mean, he's not a selfless martyr. He does a fair amount of complaining about his own hardships, and strained emotional states, but none of it is done with even a hint of bitterness. Bitterness for whom, you may ask? Reading these letters, it's hard to say exactly where the circle of symbiotic neurosis starts and stops vis a vis Eliot and the woman he married after only a few months of courtship, Vivien but that's the way they did it back then, right?

Whether it was her incessant worrying and "neuralgia" that fed his nervous energy or vice versa is something of a Gordian knot. They both seem to susceptible to excessive strain from the travails of life, though, I do have to say she rubbed me the wrong way more than once during the course of reading these letters. For one, she doesn't have a job but instead stays all day laid up in bed with some version of a head ache, while he worked full-time at a bank during the day and dedicated his nights to writing both poetry but mostly criticism because it was, seemingly, easier for Eliot to write.

She also seems to really relish the gossipy side of the literary quarrels that Eliot found himself in which he didn't have the fortitude to enjoy. Incidentially, one wonders what their love life was like and how this contributed to their respective neuroses. For me, Eliot's correspondence letters with Ezra Pound are probably the most fascinating of the letters in the book.

The contrast in their respective personalties is stark. Where Pound is didactic and aggressive, Eliot is measured. Where Pound never tires of polemics and ranting in American colloquialisms no doubt ironically, though I'm sure he also felt comfortable in that style , Eliot's thoughts are lucid and his prose elegant. One wonders what their face-to-face conversations were like. While they were both American, born and bred, it's not hard to understand why Pound ended up settling in Italy and Eliot staying in England. Their respective temperaments fit those climes exactly.

If there is anything critical one can say about Eliot, it's that he is perhaps a little too refined, too effete for anything but the most well-educated and well-mannered in society. The sometimes sycophantic devotion he expresses to his mother often crosses the line past being "healthy". The epithet "mama's boy" comes to mind.


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Taken together, however, I see this more as the downside of being an incredibly intelligent, well-educated and sensitive man, which is something I see no reason to deride. Yet after 20 years of scholarship devoted to explicating the poem's various references to Jacobean drama, folklore, quest legend, comparative religion and Greek myth, it was an essay by Randall Jarrell, not only the student of one of the New Criticism's best practitioners.

John Crowe Ransom, but also trained in psychology, which began to teach us truly how to read our century's most famous poem. Surely you must have seen that be was one of the most subjective and daemonic poets who ever lived, the victim and heIpless beneficiary of his own inexorable compulsions? About two hundred missives have been added to this newest edition, and the annotation is more helpful and extensive. The other early letters of interest here are those to and from his mother, and the relationship between Charlotte Eliot and her son seems to have been warm, close, solicitous, and loving on both sides.

Yet it was from Charlotte that the young Eliot received his first ideas--and ideals--about women, and the image of a mother who, affectionate. The tremulous sexuality, the stated dependance on women--which always, for the independently minded of either gender, carries with it a certain amount of hatred, for who wants to be reminded of our ur-helplessness, the infantile state?

I should be better off, I sometimes think, if I had disposed of my virginity and shyness several years ago: and indeed I still think sometimes that it would be well to do so before marriage. Yet what a partnership--or co-conspiracy--this was! Accounts of Vivienne's poor health, both physical and emotional, have appeared in other studies; and as we have ceased to read Eliot as the poet completely anonymous, who can ignore her?

Yet is anything as telling as Eliot's remark after two years of marriage that "Vivienne had a severe migraine today in consequence" of her making blackberry jam the day before? Or that "Vivienne has been doing all And Vivienne's mental state seems to have been fairly stable at the time Eliot wrote these reports to his mother--the worst was yet to come.

It's no wonder that Eliot began increasingly to stand for a distancing from feeling, in theory, at least; he writes to a childhood friend of a short story she had sent him that she "had got thoroughly inside the feeling, but hadn't quite got out again. Thus the inclusion of letters from Vivienne to various recipients, such as Eliot's childhood friend Mary Hutchinson, are invaluable, limning a nightmarish amalgam of emotional extremity, financial worries, physical ailments, growing estrangement, and, sadly and most paradoxically of all, great mutual respect and devotion.

Feb 22, Kathryn rated it really liked it. Having done extensive study of Eliot's work, thirty years ago, I have felt like I should go back at some point and meet the man himself. Reading these letters has been a very interesting way to return to TSE, and connect with him a little more intimately, free from the inevitable heavy hand of the biographer. His letters pre-Vivien show a puckish humor almost entirely absent while they were together. No one who has read the letters and journals of the time will be shocked; Sylvia Plath was making remarks only slightly milder 30 years later.

If Volume I of these letters is a Jacobean revenge play, the hero suspecting even his friends of betrayal, Volume II is a Restoration comedy, with a harried, overworked husband and a fretful wife ever abed. The volumes close with Eliot and his wife temporarily living apart, Vivien having entered the downward spiral that some years later led to her confinement in a mental hospital.

ISBN 13: 9780571136216

Eliot has not yet emerged from the underworld of marriage Vivien is all too like Eurydice, and pays a terrible price , where he remains a modest man with a streak of vanity. What would have happened had Eliot died of the jaw infection he suffered in , before leaving the bank? His poetic reputation, and to a large extent the critical reputation, might not have been much diminished, though like Keats he would have seemed one of the great might-have-beens of English poetry.

The letters remind us what an old man the young Eliot was, exhausted by Lloyds, where he worked in cramped quarters beneath the sidewalk, frayed by a marriage unhappily contracted, nervous to the ends of his fingers. Louis, literature for a long while could not support him. Emotionally, it is a shockingly cold poem. The first volume of this edition appeared almost a quarter-century ago.

After a Rip Van Winkle sleep, the enterprise has been revived, the earlier volume now reissued with new letters and packets of fresh annotation, with a second volume bringing the correspondence to Find out more about our upcoming events with Simon Armitage, Hanif Kureishi, Lavinia Greenlaw and other leading literary voices. Free to join. The perks. Sign up. Already a Member? Sign in here.

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Eliot Volume 1: The Letters of T. Read more. Eliot Visit the official T. Eliot site here. Edited By: Valerie Eliot. Edited By: Hugh Haughton. You May Also Like. Eliot Volume 4: Valerie Eliot.

T. S. Eliot

Eliot Volume 3: T. The Waste Land Facsimile T. Eliot Volume 2: T. Related Articles. Books by this Author Macavity's Not There! Eliot Volume 6: — T. The Poems of T. Eliot Volume I T.

Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)
Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition) Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 1: 1898-1922 (Revised Edition)

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