Synopses & Reviews
In the period covered by this richly detailed collection, T. S. Eliot was to set a new course for his life and work. The demands of his professional life as writer and editor became more complex and exacting. The celebrated but financially pressed periodical he had been editing since 1922and#8212;The Criterion: A Literary Review
and#8212;switched between being a quarterly and a monthly; in addition to writing numerous essays and editorials, lectures, reviews, introductions and prefaces, his letters show Eliot involving himself wholeheartedly in the business of his new career as a publisher.
This correspondence with friends and mentors vividly documents all the stages of Eliotand#8217;s personal and artistic transformation during these crucial years, the continuing anxieties of his private life, and the forging of his public reputation.
"Spanning only two years, this volume of Eliot's correspondence is prodigious in all things, not least intellect, beauty, personality, and size. Only four years after the publication of The Wasteland, the increasingly more famous Eliot is pulled in several directions by his poetry, the articles and reviews with which he made a living, and time-consuming editorial duties for the journal The Criterion. This was an emotionally intense time, as Eliot became a British citizen and converted to Anglicanism, a decision whose theological basis he explores in his letters. Complicating matters further was Eliot's marital life, as his wife Vivien's psychological instability required frequent hospitalization and treatment. But Eliot found some solace in writing to his brother, Henry, as well as to his mother, to whom he sent all of his work before publication and with whom he felt freer to discuss his emotional state. The biggest draw, of course, is the poet's extensive correspondence with intellectuals of the time, including Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, Marianne Moore, Virginia Woolf, Robert Graves, Bertrand Russell, and Jean Cocteau. Helpfully, the editors have done a fine job in providing extensive footnotes that elucidate each letter with vital background information and context. However, the nonspecialist may want to wait for the abridged version. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Valerie Eliot (1926-2012), nand#233;e Esmand#233; Valerie Fletcher, was the second wife of T. S. Eliot. As his widow she co-edited three previous volumes of his letters and sponsored the annual T. S. Eliot Prize. John Haffenden is emeritus professor of English literature at the University of Sheffield, senior research fellow of the Institute of English Studies, University of London, and a fellow of the British Academy.